Ollie Otter Visits Belvoir Christian Academy

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Students at Belvoir Christian Academy received a visit from a very special guest on Tuesday. Ollie Otter, Tennessee's booster seat and seat belt safety mascot, visited the school to promote the use of booster seats. Ollie's program also encourages students to wear their seat belts and to raise awareness about roadway construction site safety. Ollie's slogan for the students was, "Under 4'9"- it's Booster Time!"

Ollie was joined by several volunteers working to increase booster seat and seat belt usage among Tennessee's elementary school children. Callie Bird presented the program to Belvoir Christian Academy's Pre-K, K, first, and second grade students. Additional volunteers included Christian Bout, eighth grade student with Belvoir Christian Academy; and Emily Patton, Admissions & Development with Belvoir Christian Academy.

The program is sponsored by several organizations, including the Tennessee Transportation Development Foundation - a non-profit group established by the Tennessee Road Builders Association- and the TRBA Ladies Auxiliary. The statewide safety education program has made presentations in all 95 counties in Tennessee and is now crossing state borders.

"Our goal is to try to educate children through the Ollie Otter program about Tennessee's child restraint law," said Carol Coleman, chairperson of the TTDF. "Hopefully, children will encourage their caregivers, or whoever is driving them around, to make better safety decisions. Ollie needs help from everyone to make a difference to save children's lives on our Tennessee highways. It is up to us all."

The Ollie Otter program communicates that Tennessee state law requires the use of a booster seat until a child is four feet, nine inches tall or nine years old. An orange and white construction barrel, representing Ollie's home, is on display to teach the children the importance of roadway safety near construction work zones. The children were told to ask their parents to "Please slow down!" when they see construction barrels or road builders on the roads.

With the help of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and local law enforcement, the children were also taught about "Belts to Bones", and what parts of the body the seat belt should hit when properly buckled up- the collarbone, the sternum, and the hipbone. The fully costumed Ollie Otter character encourages children to wear their seat belts and educates them about Tennessee's booster seat law. Volunteers from the crowd were also measured to show the students the height differences between those who need to be in a booster seat and those who don't.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2008, the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 13,250 lives. The use of booster seats compared to the use of adult seat belts alone lowers the risk of injury to children in crashes by fifty-nine percent.

The Ollie Otter program is implemented by a network of statewide volunteers who work through the Tennessee Technological University BusinessMedia Center in Cookeville to coordinate the presentations. The unprecedented educational safety campaign was launched in December of 2006, and continues to grow daily.

"The program is growing strong and we are all very excited about its expansion. Moving into the other states, such as Mississippi, creates more opportunities for Ollie to spread his message about booster seat and seat belt safety. Statistics show that booster seat usage is improving, which is what our goal is," said Julie Brewer, program coordinator with the TTU BusinessMedia Center. "The familiarity of the program has grown so that children and the community recognize Ollie and his message when he goes to a school or community event."

To prepare volunteers to conduct the in-school presentations and perform as the costumed Ollie Otter, an online training course has been developed by the TTU BusinessMedia Center through the Tennessee Board of Regents Online Continuing Education program. ROCE hosts the user-friendly online course and certifies the completion of the class.

The Ollie Otter program uses educational materials, such as measuring posters, bookmarks, and an interactive web site, to inform children and their caregivers nationwide about seat belt and booster seat safety.

To sign up as a volunteer, to schedule a visit from Ollie, or to learn more about Tennessee's booster seat and seat belt safety program, visit www.seatbeltvolunteer.org.

Broling Chosen As The 2016 Coca-Cola Leader Of Promise Scholar

Cleveland State Student Mikaela Broling has been selected as a 2016 Coca-Cola Leader of Promise Scholar. Broling is one of 200 scholars to receive a scholarship in the amount of $1000. This scholarship is designed to provide new Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) members with financial resources to help defray educational expenses while enrolled in a two-year college while also encouraging participation ... (click for more)

Study Shows Personal Brain Training Improved State Reading Achievement Tests

A study of LearningRx’s ReadRx personal brain training program results found that after training, the group of students made statistically significant gains on tests of World Attack, Spelling Sounds, Sound Awareness and Passage Comprehension. Additionally, 91 percent of students who completed the ReadRx program showed improvement on state reading achievement tests. The results have ... (click for more)

TDEC Asks Residents In Southeastern Counties To Limit Water Usage To Ease Drought Conditions

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is asking the public to temporarily limit water usage for non-essential purposes as areas in Tennessee’s southeastern counties face extreme drought conditions. Residents who receive water from the following public utilities are advised to limit their use until drought conditions subside: Fall Creek ... (click for more)

East Ridge May Revise Ordinance On Extended Stays; Fire Hall Cost Well Above Projection; Dunkin Donuts, Firehouse Subs Going Into Border Region Sector

A large portion of the East Ridge City Council meeting Thursday night was devoted to the discussion of a proposed amendment to the ordinance previously passed relating to minimum hotel and extended stay hotel requirements. The new recommendations, which the city manager, codes enforcer and city attorney have drafted after meetings with hotel associations, are that a stay can be ... (click for more)

Accountability Doesn't Have To Be A Bad Word

Am I making a difference? Isn’t that the basic question we all ask ourselves, and seek to demonstrate to others?  Ronald Reagan said:  “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.”   We would argue teachers do not have that problem either.    Educators make a huge difference ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Guess Who Backed Kelly?

Two weeks before the August election where three members of the Hamilton County School Board were angrily replaced, the organizer of what was called “a great way for the (challengers) to raise great money to help them run smart campaigns” made a bold statement. “I'm sure the current board is well-intentioned, but the results are not there," said Paul Brock. "Leadership matters ... (click for more)