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Thu January 01, 2009 - Northeast Edition
The National Kids Construction Club (NKCC) is calling on kids to film their most embarrassing moment as they try to build, repair or stop an accident in the home or workplace. Then take that film and enter the NKCC “YouTube Get Ur Fix — Home Safety Campaign” at http://www.youtube.com/NKCCONLINE. Everyone who enters will receive a free one year NKCC membership. The best entries will be announced by June 2009.
The First Place winner will receive a flat screen TV courtesy of Warshauer Electric Supply Company. Founded in 1954, Warshauer Electric is one of the largest independently owned electrical wholesalers in the country. As an industry leader in “Green Lighting” and energy efficient electrical products, Warshauer Electric offers free delivery to any job site and serves the entire state of New Jersey with five convenient locations, Little Egg Harbor, Lakewood, Tinton Falls, New Brunswick and Parsippany.
“We thank Warshauer Electric and especially Jim Dunn, executive vice president of sales and marketing for all the help and support they are giving the National Kids Construction Club,” said NKCC President Vic Amoruso, vice president/director of business development at North Jersey Community Bank based in Hackensack, N.J.
“We also are so happy to be able to call attention to the national crisis our young people face since so many do not understand the benefits of learning home safety skills,” continued Amoruso. “If you have ever heard these scenarios, then you know our youth need help. And why should I care about mending the fence I broke? Mom, the toilet is overflowing with disgusting stuff; I don’t know what to do!”
Most young people are not aware of what they don’t know around the house in order to keep safe from fires, electrical problems, and plumbing disasters. Parents are supposed to know how to teach their children basic home safety. But if parents lack the skills, how will children know what to do in an emergency? Everyday practical knowledge for the home comes with education, practice and experience. Unfortunately, progress and changes in society have contributed to the demise of the time and knowledge needed to teach children the benefits of being their own handyman or handywoman.
With each new generation there is less time to pass on traditions. There are fewer opportunities to teach home repairs. And there is not as much family involvement with parents and grandparents to explore the importance of being a self-sufficient home dweller, according to NKCC.
Even if the life skills children are losing were identified, do most kids and parents think it really matters? There is no national survey for this question, but NKCC believes there should be. But one truth is known, it’s hard to care or think it matters if parents don’t see the benefit of knowing how to use a hammer or wrench.
It is up to parents to provide a balance in children’s lives between their new toys and toys that can be made with a hammer, chisel and bench saw. Finding time to teach children can be difficult. One day the children will leave home for their dorm, apartment or home. Will they be ready for the safety challenges that await them? Did their parents remember to teach them to set a timer for the lights to help prevent a burglary? Can they prevent the basement from flooding because they know to replace the old water heater? Even more importantly, can they prevent fires from happening? Will they change the filter to the furnace each year, unclog the dryer vent, and maintain a clean fireplace? According to fire statistics, each year fires kill more Americans than natural disasters with cooking fires being the leading fire maker. Not providing children with the necessary skills to keep safe in their homes hurts them and can harm others, according to the NKCC.
Parents that are associated with construction can lead by example. But for those who can’t, they can only hope that somewhere down the road their children will learn some form of home life skills, perhaps from friends and relatives or books and teachers. Hopefully, before they become homeowners, and not after a basement flood or fire in the chimney. Luckily, adults have lots of home shows on cable television to watch which can guide them through many home safety and repair issues. Unfortunately, kids of all ages do not have a home safety show to enjoy on a Saturday morning.
So what can be done? Parents can’t force children to like playing with tools, real or as toys. They can’t force children to remember every fire safety rule or every home maintenance tip, and certainly can’t convince them to make or fix things with their hands. The National Kids Construction Club suggests the following: encourage hands-on fun with shovels, blocks and other kinds of building toys for young children. Go outside and explore the world by visiting a construction site or stop and watch a sidewalk or road being made. Join school clubs that encourage creativity with hands-on learning. Consider a membership with youth organizations like the Boy or Girl Scouts.
As teens, encourage them to participate in Habitat for Humanity projects, which will help them learn about building technology. If their school offers practical arts courses, take them. Plan a visit to a hardware store with your children. Read how-to books and create a home repair project, such as installing new tile on the laundry room floor, with your son or daughter. Share stories of the old times, then explore their heritage by finding pieces of furniture made by hand.
For more information, visit www.nkcconline.org.