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Published on May 13, 2015

St. Vincent's Safe Sitter Program Featured

Mother Knows Best

No matter our age, we often turn to our mothers for advice. Whether it’s because of their innate wisdom or because their life experiences mirror our own, a mother’s guidance can make us feel more self-assured.

Jennifer Wellman can attest to this. Around Mother’s Day last year, she assumed responsibility for the Safe Sitter® program at St. Vincent's HealthCare - Seton Center For Women & Children in Jacksonville, Florida after her mother and former Instructor, Cindi Bersinger, left.

“When I knew my mother was leaving the hospital, I knew it was my opportunity to take over the class,” said Jennifer, who is grateful she had her mother to turn to for support. “She gave me all of her tips, notes and special little things to do in the class. I felt extremely confident when it was my first class knowing that I had all the tips from my mother!”

When her mother left, Jennifer immediately trained to be an Instructor and also signed on to serve as Site Coordinator. Such a dual role is a lot to take on, which is why Safe Sitter® takes so seriously its on-going program support for all Instructors and Site Coordinators. However, some are fortunate to get added support from other sources!

“[My mom] always asks about the class when it’s over,” Jennifer said.

Her mother’s best piece of advice about running and teaching a Safe Sitter® program is simple, and something all Instructors would find helpful. “She would always say for me to put myself in [students’] shoes,” said Jennifer. “How would I want to learn? What info would I like to know more about? Talk to the students the way I would have wanted to [be] talk[ed] to at that age.”

When teens are treated with that kind of consideration and respect, they naturally blossom. Jennifer said she most enjoys seeing that transformation. “They usually are extremely shy in the morning, and by the end of the day they are friends with everyone and extremely confident with their new knowledge,” she said.

It may be easier for Jennifer to put herself in students’ shoes because she remembers what it was like to learn how to teach Safe Sitter®. After watching the Instructor Training DVD, she decided to watch a live class. “I sat in and observed for three classes, took notes and saw exactly how the class ran,” she said.

In fact, Jennifer’s favorite teaching memory so far involves teaching the studious daughter of a friend. “She was very engaged and took lots of notes,” said Jennifer.

“I saw her mother the other day,” Jennifer added. “Her daughter babysits all of the neighborhood kids, always has her Safe Sitter® manual with her, uses all of the tips she has learned from the class and is in high demand with parents because of her Safe Sitter® knowledge!”

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