BRANSON, MO — On Saturday July 10th, a group of Cenet’s Summer Work and Travel (SWT) participants got together to do some good in their host community.
The participants joined Bloom Church for their annual “Serve Day,” with an emphasis on fire safety and prevention. The day began with the Taney County Fire Department demonstrating how to install and check smoke detectors in homes. Participants also learned what to do in case of a fire, how to create an emergency exit plan, and the importance of smoke detectors, which can decrease fire fatalities by 55% when utilized properly. Next, the group visited underserved neighborhoods to provide fire safety education.
The participants shared their newfound knowledge & skills, and vaccinated participants were able to assist with smoke detector inspections. Although relatively basic, the smoke detector checks and education could be life-saving. According to a report by FEMA, 75% of manufactured homes that experience fires do not have operating smoke detectors; what’s more, fire death rates are significantly higher (35%) in rural locations than in non-rural areas.
Along with doing a good deed, the participants also had the opportunity to see Branson through a wider lens, rather than only experiencing the prominent tourist areas. They were able to meet fellow volunteers, interact with residents and children, learn more about professional public servants, practice civic leadership, and immerse themselves in the host community in a meaningful way.
Equally, community members were curious about the SWT volunteers. They were eager to know more about their home countries, hear their native languages, and learn about the program that brought them from across the globe and into their front lawns. Many made plans to see the participants again, thus demonstrating the power of people-to-people exchanges: from faraway places we can become neighbors. Once strangers, now friends.
Many thanks to the Taney County Fire Department, Bloom Church, and our participant volunteers: Joel Nova Ramirez, Yendry Alcantara Done, Belkis De Jesus Flores, Juana Baez Ciprian, Rosa Gaston Gervacio, Flor Pena Gervacio, Angellis Pimentel Espinal, Alexandra Gonzalez Torres, and Melani Hernandez Melendez.
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