Summer fun, but also learning experiences

Homeland Security Director Joe Ganote talks hurricane safety.

Jaiden Hydell was excited about what he had just learned to realize he’d just helped kick off St. Charles Parish’s first #BePrepared campaign.

“I heard about how to get ready for hurricane season and preparing your family with a lot of stuff they need,” said Hydell of Paradis.

This was important to him because he knew of people who stayed in a storm and could have come to this class to learn where to go, he said.

Jada Hampton of Boutte said it was a great experience.

“Now I know when a hurricane comes, I know what to do to save my life,” Hampton said at the Emergency Operations Center in Hahnville. “I’m glad I came and I know who’s keeping me safe at night. Now, I see what my parish does and how they keep us safe.”

This year, the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, along with the Public Information Office, is taking a new approach to hurricane preparedness by focusing campaign efforts on educating youth.

This isn’t just summer fun, but an educational activity that can be life saving.

The #BePrepared campaign inspired the creation of an activity book called The Adventures of Charlie and his Preparedness Pals.

Ferdneit Bailey, supervisor of summer programs with the St. Charles Parish Department of Community Services, said the program is new and exciting, showing children how to prepare for emergencies and how to pack their own bags in case they have to evacuate.

A center student making a

Children with the parish’s community centers in St. Rose and Killona, the Boutte Community Outreach and this year’s addition of the St. Rose Community Outreach Program are all participating in the BePrepared Campaign.

With an estimated 129 children at these centers this summer, Bailey said they are staying busy this summer.

“This summer our theme for the summer enrichment program is ‘Kindness Nation” emphasizing kindness, empathy, making friends and team building,” she said.

The centers focus on activities, as well as those that attract children to core subjects like science and math, Bailey said. Many of them revolve around arts and crafts, which they really enjoy. They also get a workout with the Max Workout with Mr. Mike.”

‘We’re basically getting their brains working,” Bailey said. “This year, we even brought handwriting back because I just find it hard to read what they’re saying.”

They’ve also taken field trips, including the Cool Zoo at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, as well as the Sew Pillow Project, and Pajama Day. The parish’s animal shelter visits the shelter to teach them about caring for pets and being kind to them.

This week, they’re going on a Dave and Buster’s field trip, alternating groups with the EOC’s hurricane preparation campaign. Next week, they have laser tag field trips.

“At the end of the summer program, we kick it off with a water slide picnic day,” Bailey said. “The kids look forward to it, and then all the centers celebrate all the birthdays. I’m super duper excited about this.”

Bailey also praised her staff for making so much happen for children.

“I think I have a really great staff, paying attention to the kids and redirecting them when they’re not making the right choices, and giving encouragement to those who do make good choices.”

Watermelons have been donated for the children, residents volunteering at the centers, and the fire department also helps, especially in Killona are all among community support.

“Now I know when a hurricane comes, I know what to do to save my life.” — Jada Hampton

At the St. Rose site, Bailey said children are really appreciative of the location.

“The kids at that site just love it,” she said. “What’s new this year is we have more younger kids (age 5 – 12) and I love to see that excitement on their face.”

For the St. Charles Parish libraries, the Summer Reading Program is one of the most popular times of the year.

“We try to offer a variety of activities so that everyone, no matter their age or interests, can find something that they want to attend,” said Lauren Campo Pitz. “Attendance at our events has been phenomenal, and we love seeing so many new and familiar faces.”

This year’s Summer Reading Program started May 23 with more than 100 events at six locations and the planetarium. This includes weekly story times at all of branches and four weekly planetarium shows in addition to special guests who traveled here from around the country and activities developed by the talented library team.

“And we still have over five weeks to go—with even more events,” Pitz said.

An Entergy Charitable Foundation grant greatly helps the library to continue to offer a variety and caliber of special events.

Everyone is invited to visit the St. Charles Parish Library for a variety of performances, crafts, and activities. There are events for all ages—from our youngest residents to adults—almost every day.

The library has two large events planned for July that are family-friendly and for all ages.

The library lineup

  • Second Annual Library Comic-Con – Saturday, July 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., East Regional Library, 160 W. Campus Dr. in Destrehan. Following the success of 2018’s Comic-Con, the library is hosting its second annual Library Comic-Con The event is for all ages. The local chapter of the Pokémon League will run activities for attendees, and there will be Pokémon -themed activities, including a scavenger hunt. Becca Hillburn, a Luling native who is a comic book artist and illustrator with an MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, will host a Make A MiniComic workshop at 11 a.m. There will be an Artist Alley, where local creators can show off their work. Sci-Fi author Lee Stephen along with local teen artists Alette Matthews and Ashlyn McKinney are expected to attend. Attendees are encouraged to dress as their favorite Pokémon or Pokémon trainer, and to be ready to take a picture in the green screen area.
  • Lunar Landing Anniversary – Saturday, July 20, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., West Regional Library, 105 Lakewood Dr. in Luling. The St. Charles Parish Library and Planetarium will hold a Lunar Landing Anniversary celebration for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. There will be moon and space-themed activities, crafts and refreshments for all ages. There will also be vintage giveaways, including posters that the planetarium has had for almost 50 years. The Planetarium will show regularly scheduled shows, One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure at 10 a.m. and SpacePark 360: Infinity at 2 p.m. There will be special showings of CAPCOM, GO!, where viewers will be immersed in the Apollo story throughout the event. Visit for information about the library’s summer reading program.


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