The National Child Safety Council and the Beverly Police Department sponsored a visit to Beverly-Center Elementary School by Kerry Kazaam, the Magic Safety Man. Kazaam kept students entertained with his magic tricks while also stressing ways for them to be safe and stay safe.
Kazaam opened his show with a spinning black and white wheel illusion that made things seem larger and smaller than they really were, helping students see size doesn't matter when it comes to being safe. Everyone needs to be safe.
His little red "warm fuzzies" balls made an appearance in his next story. Many students thought they had his "trick" figured out - until the largest "fuzzy" of all appeared at the end, drawing gasps of disbelief from the crowd. Kazaam encouraged students to be polite and do nice things for others because the more nice things you do, the bigger they become.
A brief reminder of traffic lights and how to safely cross the street followed. Students were reminded to cross the street only when the light was red, not a yellow caution light, as Kazaam drew giggles from the audience when he reminded them "sometimes even Grandma becomes a NASCA driver" when the light turns yellow.
According to Kazaam, the number of elementary school-aged children involved in pedestrian accidents is increasing. Why? Their attention is being occupied by cellphones, media players and hand-held games when they're walking and not by the rules of safe walking. Students were urged to put all those things aside when walking and crossing streets in order to stay as safe as possible.
Third-grade students Khloe Roe and Blake Gossett helped with both a magic trick and a serious message. While performing a card trick, Kazaam used the students to remind the audience of the importance of having a "safety friend" or trusted adult they can talk to. The audience was encouraged to speak up if they ever find a gun or know someone that has a gun that shouldn't. The message was to "Tell someone!" don't keep the secret.
The importance of calling 911 was also discussed. Students were reminded of the appropriate times to call 911 - when somebody's life is in danger!
They were also reminded to stay on the line with the 911 operator and talk to them until they were told to hang up - a lesson for young and old callers alike.
Kazaam concluded his show with messages about texting, Facebook and bullying. Things texted and posted on Facebook are "out there forever," so be careful what you post. As for bullies, the best thing to do is tell someone because "when you tell, they take away the bully's power. A bully only has power when they make you feel bad so they can feel good." Walking away also takes away the bully's power.
Kazaam was accompanied to his show by Officer Kevin Sams of the Beverly Police Department.
Sue Sampson is a longtime columnist for The Parkersburg News & Sentinel.