Cadets gain community service hours by volunteering at the event, taking photographs and fingerprints for parent’s kit. (Jolene Rudisuela/ Morning Star file photo)

Ident-A-Kid child safety program returns to Vernon

The program fingerprints and photographs the child for the parent, allowing a more streamlined process with police in case of emergency. The event takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. at Village Green Centre.

Almost every parent’s worst nightmare is having their child go missing, but this Saturday, guardians can be proactive by participating in the free Ident-A-Kid child safety program.

For the third time, the 899 North Okanagan wing of the Royal Canadian Air Force Association, in conjunction with Vernon’s 223 ‘Red Lion’ Air Cadet Squadron, are operating a children’s Identification program at the Village Green Centre.

Related: Vernon SAR manager wins national volunteer award

Related: Vernon cadet camp museum hosts fundraiser

Ident-A-Kid is a child safety program where children are fingerprinted and photographed in case of emergency. This information forms part of a personal “I Dent Kit.” This also includes a card detailing the child’s age, weight and height and, if the child is still an infant, a footprint. This entire kit is condensed into a credit card-sized paper for parents, as well as a pamphlet with the RCMP contact information for reporting a missing child. The purpose: to streamline helpful information to police in case of emergency. It’s up to the child’s guardian to update the photo each year.

“We first discovered this program through the group in Chilliwack,” said Slim Hodgson, program director for the Ident-A-Kid program. “They were doing it and it was very successful there so the commanding officer approached me and asked if we could join in, so I set it up and so far it’s been quite successful.”

Now in its third year, Hodgson said about 60 kids have participated in the program each year. He’s hopeful for an even better turnout this year.

“Though 60 isn’t a huge number in anybody’s mind, after three years, around 180 parents now have a record of their child that they can turn over to the RCMP if the kid gets lost. It’s great because the parents appreciate this sort of thing and the cadets get something valuable out of it.”

Cadets receive their required community service hours to run the event — the fingerprinting, the photographs and collating the information — while the Airforce association provides supplies.

Though there is no charge for the event, Hodgson said that donations are welcome to help cover expenses.

Community members are encouraged to attend the event at Village Green Centre this weekend from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., and be proactive and prepared in case the worst ever happens.

Related: Missing children found by search and rescue

Related: Police locate missing Vernon youth

Related: Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

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