`Smart, not scared!'

Escape School will be Monday at Westside

"Be smart, not scared!" is the motto of Escape School, a nationally recognized child abduction prevention program that teaches children how to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous people and situations.

On Monday, April 22, Horizon Christian School invites parents and their children from Hood River and surrounding communities to attend a presentation of Escape School at the Westside School gym from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Escape School is designed for parents and their children ages five and up. It is recommended that children attend with their parents.

Escape School addresses practical prevention techniques in a manner that is not frightening or threatening. T.J. Browning, a nationally certified Escape School presenter from Portland, will be the guest speaker. Browning's presentation teaches children to listen and respond to their instincts -- what Browning calls their "uh-oh feeling" -- as well as what to do if they find themselves in dangerous situations.

Browning's presentation will teach children to identify strangers not by what they look like, but how they act. Escape School teaches that all the rules change in a dangerous situation. The entertaining and empowering one-hour program begins with a public presentation then acts as a catalyst for long-term home instruction on the subject.

"My main message is: the world is a great place and a wonderful gift," Browning says. "Only two percent of the population is a criminal element. But children do need to know how to respond when a dangerous situation occurs. We want to empower children to think, not to scare them. We want to give them the tactics they need to survive."

Escape School is provided to the community free of charge through a grant from Dignity Memorial. For more information call Horizon Christian School at 387-3200.

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