Students at three Jim Thorpe Area elementary schools recently learned about the importance of being safe.

During the Deputy Phil program on Friday morning, kindergarten through third grade students at L.B. Morris Elementary were treated to a puppet and magic show that taught them about safety, respect and bullying. The event was sponsored by the Carbon County Sheriff's Department and local businesses and organizations.

Lt. Dave Midas, one of the hosts and also a Jim Thorpe School District D.A.R.E. instructor, explained before the event, that the program's goal is to educate children about being safe and being aware of their surroundings.

He said the program, which has taken place in the Jim Thorpe Area School District for several years, has been a success because the students are excited to learn while being entertained.

Carbon County Sheriff Dwight Nothstein added that if it wasn't for the local businesses, the Sheriff's Department would not be able to bring this program to the schools.

As the event began, Nothstein welcomed the students and acknowledged the local businesses for their continued support of the program. He then turned over the spotlight to "Magic Dave" Carr, who performed magic tricks, hosted a trivia game, and introduced Ozzgood the Owl puppet.

During the half-hour program, Carr educated students about respect for themselves and others; knowing their address and phone number; car safety; street safety; and bullying.

He used magic tricks to illustrate the safety points; as well as enlisted the help of his puppet and the students to share his message.

Carr also made sure the students knew that there are five values that need to be remembered. They include honor, care, share, admire, and inspire.

Following Carr's magic show, he and Ozzgood the Owl entertained the students with a short skit and song.

The program then ended with Carr telling the students about a project that they can do as part of the Deputy Phil program. Safety activity booklets were also distributed to each class.

Students at Penn-Kidder Elementary and St. Joseph's Regional Academy were also be treated to the Deputy Phil program Friday afternoon and Monday.

The Deputy Phil program's goal is to educate children about safety, crime prevention, values and responsibility in a way they will understand and remember. It has been in operation for over 30 years and is currently taking place in 17 states. The program is also known as the Officer Phil and Firefighter Phil program, depending on the topic and who is sponsoring the event.

For more information on the program, visit www.officerphil.com [2].