When parents in the 2-Generational Program in Windham approached EASTCONN about wanting to learn CPR and First-Aid, EASTCONN staff were delighted. They began to hunt immediately for American Red Cross (ARC) training materials in Spanish.
“Our 2-Gen parents, whose first language is Spanish, said they wanted to learn CPR and First-Aid so they could assist family and friends in emergency situations,” said Kristen Hempel, EASTCONN Adult Programs Assistant Director. “This certification would make them a very different kind of asset in their communities. We were very excited about the prospect of helping them reach their goal.”
Hempel coordinates the 2-Gen Program for parents whose children attend Head Start in Windham Public Schools. While children are in Head Start, their parents can attend free job-skills training and English-as-a-Second-Language classes through EASTCONN.
The search for Spanish CPR/training materials proved challenging, but they were finally located. Then another hitch: EASTCONN’s only certified CPR/First-Aid instructor, Don Skewes, who is also Coordinator of Security and Investigations, didn’t speak Spanish.
“Now the challenge became, could we find an interpreter who was skilled enough to translate parents’ medical questions into English for me, and then translate my answers back into Spanish,” said Skewes. “We needed someone with very unique qualifications.”
EASTCONN had just hired a new Education Specialist, Robinson Camacho, who was also a certified medical translator. The 2-Gen Program parents were thrilled. Over two blustery days, 20 highly motivated women got the training they wanted, and each earned an official Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED certificate.
Several students explained in Spanish why they wanted training.
“We want to learn and we want to make sure we’re there when our family needs help,” said one student, while another said, “We are exposed to emergency situations like this all the time. We want to know what to do at the right moment.” A third student said, “We want to be like the Good Samaritan. We want to be able to help when someone needs help.” A fourth student said she needed the ARC certification so she could get a job at a childcare center, where CPR/First-Aid credentials are required for all employees.
The 2-Gen Program is a collaborative venture of Windham Public Schools, Head Start/Early Head Start, the Windham Office of Community and Family Engagement and EASTCONN.
To learn more about the 2-Gen Program, contact Kristin Hempel at email@example.com. Or, reach her at 860-423-2591.