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Kindergartners meet community helpers

From a tender age, children begin to dream of “what they want to be when they grow up.” Kindergarteners at West Elementary School now have a better idea of what it takes to attain two of the most popular professions – firefighter and police officer – after learning about these and other “community helpers.”

These youngest students spent last week learning not to fear these and other community helpers and to see them in a positive light, understanding the work they do for the community. Two Russellville Police Department officers, Sgt. Joey Franks and Officer Travis Trotter, visited the school Tuesday to let the students meet a police officer “up close and personal.”

“We want them to know there is more to the job of a police officer than arresting people. We want them to see the positive side of being a police officer, how they can help,” explained kindergarten teacher Karen Mitchell.

Learning about community helpers is an annual occurrence for kindergarten students. Teacher Brittany Bradford said she stresses to her students that a police officer’s presence isn’t automatically a bad thing – the way it can often be portrayed by T.V., movies and even well-meaning adults. “I tell my kids, if you’re in a car wreck, a lot of times a police officer is going to get to you before anyone else, and they’re going to help you. They aren’t there because you’re in trouble or did something wrong.”

Other community helpers to learn about included doctors, dentists, waste management workers and teachers.