GREENBRIER — If you care as much for the safety of your kids as Brent Merritt does, then you will not want to miss the "Kidz’n Power" community child safety open house.
The event is scheduled to run from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Greenbrier Event Center.
Merritt has a passion for keeping kids safe from all harmful things. Those who attend the open house may receive a child identification kit that includes how to fingerprint a child, a dental chart for a dentist to fill out, how to do a cheek swab and preserve it for a DNA sample, a place for a photo, identifiable marks, a growth chart and a child’s identification card that can be laminated for the child to carry at all times. This kit could help save a life if a child is ever lost or abducted.
Have you taught your child a "magic word?" Merritt says, "At the last seminar I taught for kids, only three kids out of about 50 raised their hands when I asked if they had a magic word."
A magic word is a word you teach a child that only the parent knows in order to prevent a stranger from picking the child up from school or taking him somewhere when the child may feel suspicious but does not quite know what to do. Merritt teaches self defense techniques to women and children. He has already held a few Kidz’n Power seminars and helped make more than 200 kids safer with his teachings.
Not only will Merritt and his partner, Michael Moore, teach about "stranger-danger" and magic words, he will also teach 911 safety training, simple break away self-defense, how to deal with bullies, fire safety and drug and gang danger. This event is endorsed by AMBERAlert.com. There will be a few warm-up jumping jacks and push-ups so wear comfortable clothes.
Merritt’s passion for kid safety goes back a long way, as he is a third-degree black belt martial arts instructor at his place of business, Greenbrier Family Martial Arts. He and Moore opened their business at No. 3 North Broadview early this year, but that is their passion, not their major source of income. They both have full-time jobs in other areas of the business world.
Last year, Merritt lost his 17-year-old daughter, Erin, as she was a passenger with a drunk driver in a severe car accident. He is now raising her little baby — his grandson. He admits his daughter was with the wrong crowd and this has only heightened his awareness of how easily kids can be hooked on the wrong things. He covers drugs and alcohol use and choosing the right friends in the prevention seminar.
Merritt says, "The American Taekwondo Association (ATA) inspires a motto of 40,000 fit and 40,000 saved. That means the ‘fit’ comes from working out and the ‘saved’ comes from how many kids can we save and how many parents can we educate. If I can save just one kid, I’ll be happy."
Saturday’s event is free and will be an educational time for both parents and kids. A face painter will be available. A fire truck is coming for kids to see. A search and rescue helicopter is scheduled to land at the Event Center also.
There will be a bounce house and rock wall, along with hot dogs, popcorn and cold drinks available for sale. All proceeds will go to the memorial fund set up for his daughter called Second Chance Memorial Fund. The fund is now used for self defense events and college scholarships for ATA members.
The City Event Center is located behind the library and City Hall.