PICTURED: Donny Guerra gets first-hand experience caring for a baby during babysitting training sponsored by the county extension office. Above, participants learn to check the temperature of milk on their wrist before feeding a baby. Photo by OFELIA GARCIA HUNTER

Red Cross program offered by JWC Youth Board

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

Donny Guerra, 13, will have a baby brother in September and prepared for the newborn by attending the babysitting training Monday at the fairgrounds.

"I wanted to attend because I'm going to have a new brother," said Donny, as he held a baby mannequin. "I learned how to hold the baby and feed it and other safety things."

He said he wants to be a helpful brother to help his mother.

Donny and 14 girls, including his sister, Kassandra Guerra, participated in the American Red Cross Babysitting Training Course offered by the Jim Wells County Youth Board on Monday.

The interactive course taught the students ages 11 to 15 about first aid and safety skills to prevent and respond to emergencies.

The youth gained confidence and valuable employment skills as a babysitter to identify common safety hazards, prevent injuries, made responsible decisions, choose appropriate toys and games and prepare simple meals and snacks.

The Cops In School program with the Jim Wells Sheriff's Department and the county safety department assisted with the training.

Nora Acevedo, a certified instructor, said this is the first time the county has offered the program.

"Once you get paid for something they become a professional and I want them to do their best," said Acevedo, a family consumer science agent.

"We teach them to get to know the family and their surroundings and what to do for the children they are taking care of."

Savannah Salinas, 11, said she was surprised when she found out that her mother had signed her up for the class.

"This morning I didn't know I was coming here," she said. "I've learned how to feed a baby and warm up a bottle for a newborn."

Savannah said she wants to babysit for children in the summer.

Amber Paz said she hopes to start babysitting also.

"I'd like to care for one (child) to start off," 11-year-old Amber said. "I learned how to burp a baby and how to pick them up."

Acevedo said if the demand is there, they are willing to teach another class. For more information, contact the county extension office at 668-5705.