Donated CPR training kit helps students learn to save lives

Lylah Slabbekoorn performs CPR on a manikin in teacher Steve Reed’s class

After just 20 minutes of CPR training on a manikin in teacher Steve Reed’s middle school health class, eighth grader Alecia Alber was ready to save a life.

Could she do it right now, after only a small amount of training?

“I mean, not fully, but if I had to, then I would try,” Alecia said with confidence. “I think that no matter what, it’s important, because we’re learning how to save someone’s life if there ever was a situation.

Festida Foods owner Kyle Curtiss donated this $650 American Heart Association CPR in Schools Training Kit to Cedar Springs Public Schools

“I think we should all learn how to do this for the future.”

Alecia was part of a class of eighth graders who feverishly practiced CPR recently in order to be prepared for a life-threatening emergency.

The manikins they worked on were from kits purchased not just  in the past, but the new American Heart Association CPR kit donated by Festida Foods, on which they began practicing the very next day. The CPR in Schools Training Kit includes 10 “mini-Annie” inflatable manikins, watch-while-training DVDs and a facilitator guide, as well as 10 AED trainers.

With a value of over $650, the kit was a “generous donation” from Festida owner Kyle Curtiss,  said Jen Haberling, director of academic services at Cedar Springs Public Schools. It will allow students to learn CPR in one class period, as well as AED use and choking relief, she said.

Haberling said the training reminds students to call 911 and use the Bee Gees song “Stayin’ Alive” as a rhythmic reminder of the hands-only CPR practices, reinforcing the 100-beats-per-minute recommendation from the AHA and buying critical time until paramedics arrive to help.

“Because of this partnership with the American Heart Association, we are able to make an investment in saving lives, through raising awareness and providing direct teaching with practice,” Haberling said.

Eighth graders practice CPR on manikins in middle school teacher Steve Reed’s health class

‘It’s a Really Good Idea’

Curtiss said he was proud to support the CPR program at Cedar Springs Public Schools.

Festida Foods is both proud of its Cedar Springs origins — it moved to Grand Rapids in 2012 — and committed to helping the community, Curtiss said.

“CPR in Schools is such wise and needed training,” he said, noting that less than half of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR. “What better place to train and entrust than our schools? If this CPR kit and resultant training saves one life, it will have been worth it a million times over.”   

Reed said it’s important that the students know first aid and how to administer some CPR.

“We’ve had kids go down in class,” Reed said. “The quicker we can get response time, the better off we are and I think this helps them do that.”

Eighth grader Skylar See agreed.

“I think it’s a really good idea to learn how to do all this.”

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Cris Greer
For more than three decades, Cris Greer has been a wordsmith, working in the fields of journalism, advertising and marketing. Much of the past decade, he helped grow the MLive Statewide High School Sports desk as a supervisor, editor and reporter, which included eight newspapers in Michigan and mlive.com. Cris also was a freelancer for The Grand Rapids Press, The Advance and On the Town magazine for many years. A good portion of his early career was spent building and managing the copywriting team in the advertising department at Meijer, Inc., where he oversaw copywriting for print ads, mailers, brochures, signage, several dozen in-house magazines per year and much more. Read Cris's full bio or email Cris.

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