Tampa Kappa Alumni, Children’s Board hold Safe Baby Safe Sleep Community Workshop

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Tampa Kappa Alumni, Children’s Board hold Safe Baby Safe Sleep Community Workshop

Story by Kappa Rick Brown

  Selfies, education, cribs and diapers were all in place Saturday as the Tampa Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi teamed with the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County to present a seminar on preventing infant deaths.

The families in attendance of the Safe Baby Safe Sleep Community Education Workshop learned the ABCs of helping – children should sleep Alone, on their Backs, and in a Crib. In addition, all families who were in attendance were given free Pack and Play cribs and diapers. The event was held at the Children’s Board in Tampa.

“I think the event went really well,” said Dexter Lewis, community relations coordinator for the Children’s Board. “We had 45 families come out and get a free pack and play crib. The education is the most important thing, so I feel pretty good.”

Educating the community on this cause was very important to the fraternity. Hillsborough County had 18 infant deaths in 2017 and 75 in less than three years due to unsafe sleep habits and conditions.

Tampa Alumni and the Children’s Board hope to help end this vicious condition.

In June, Tampa Alumni Chapter celebrated 90 years of being chartered by Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. in Tampa. The chapter wanted to do a community project as part of the celebration and the Pack and Play crib giveaway was born.

“The event has turned out beyond our expectations in both participation and the alliance of the Children’s Board,” said Tampa Alumni Polemarch Robert Irvin. “Together, we have done a great job in preventing sleep-related deaths.

“The chapter wanted to support (Kappa Alpha Psi) International Headquarters’ initiative of safe sleep for infants,” Irvin said. “When talking to the Children’s Board, Hillsborough County is one of the leading counties with sleep-related infant deaths in Florida, so it seemed like a natural partnership with the Children’s Board to provide Packs, Play pens and diapers to families in Hillsborough County. It also required them to be educated in safe sleep techniques.”

In addition to providing the cribs to the families in attendance, the chapter also donated money to Reach Up Inc. and Healthy Coalition to purchase additional Packs and Play Cribs.

The importance of educating families was key to Ed Narain, who is also a board member of the Children’s Board as well as a member of Kappa Alpha Psi. The collaboration with the chapter was a natural fit.

“The children’s board, entire focus surrounds on three things: 1) that children are on track in terms of how their learning, that children are safe, and that children of course are healthy,” Narain said. “This falls in line with the children’s board initiative on being safe. And with Kappa we do a lot of things, even though we’re a social organization, to inspire service in the public interest. So, the two of these, match up very well together.

“Culturally, I think we, African Americans, have grown up in an environment where we say, ‘we’re not

going to buy a crib just yet because we can’t afford a crib. We’re taking care of other things,” he continued “The baby can sleep in the bed with us because that’s how grandma did us, that’s how mom did us.” Unfortunately, we don’t hear the stories in the mainstream media of how a parent rolls over on a child and the child suffocates to death. One death is far too many. But when you know right here in our county we’ve had 75 deaths in less than three years with a third of those being African Americans or

minorities, that hits home.”

On Saturday, Tampa Alumni hoped this was a step toward lowering those numbers.

For more information, contact Rick Brown by email or text him at (863) 393-8093.

Daryl Johnson

Daryl is a retired Plant Mgr from USPS. He has published N-TOUCH News since 1996 and is CEO of Intercultural Communications, Inc. Husband to Tampa Bay Tammy & proud father of 3 beautiful daughters and 1 son (deceased)

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