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Seneca County observes Handle With Care Week




Capt. Dan Dell (left) and Sgt. Kent Reinbolt of Fostoria Police Department hand out promotional items to children at Fostoria Elementary School on May 10. (Contributed Photo)

Tiffin, Ohio — Seneca County recently observed Handle With Care Week, a meaningful initiative led by the Seneca County Family and Children First Council.

The primary objective of Handle With Care is to prevent secondary trauma and foster positive interactions between first-responders and children. Whenever a first-responder encounters a child in a distressing situation, a discreet notification is sent to the child’s school, signaling the need to handle the child with care. Notably, no specific details about the incident are disclosed.

Seneca County took the pioneering step of implementing Handle With Care in March 2021, becoming the first county north of Columbus in Ohio to do so.

To kick off Handle With Care Week, a spirited community kickball game took place at Bascom’s Meadowbrook Park. The event saw the participation of first-responders, school personnel, and youth. Before the game commenced, a special ceremony honored Steve and Kathee Bruno from The Tiffin Crawl for their invaluable support, as well as Adrea Schindler for her winning design of the Handle With Care T-shirt. Tiffin Mayor Dawn Iannantuono and Seneca County Commissioner Bill Frankart also delivered proclamations during the ceremony.

First-responders, school personnel and youth gathered for a community kickball game at Meadowbrook Park on May 7. (Contributed Photo)

A symbolic first kick was performed by Schindler, who rolled the ball to Sharon George, the director of Seneca County Family and Children First Council. Throughout Handle With Care Week, first-responders paid visits to Bridges Preparatory Academy, Fostoria Elementary School, and Lincoln Pre-K, emphasizing the significance of the initiative. The week was filled with expressions of gratitude towards parents, schools, members of the Seneca County Family and Children First Council, state partners, and first-responders for their ongoing support.

The culminating event of Handle With Care Week was a special appreciation lunch held at the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center to honor the first-responders. The successful execution of the week-long program was made possible through the generous contributions and support of various entities, including The Tiffin Crawl, the Brunos, Humana, Meadowbrook Park, Troy Breidenbach, Bascom Junior Baseball Association, Bair Bros., Seneca County Family and Children First Council, and numerous community partners.

Currently, several schools actively participate in the Handle With Care program, including Bridges Preparatory Academy, Calvert Catholic Schools, Fostoria City Schools, Hopewell-Loudon Schools, New Riegel Schools, North Central Academy, Old Fort Schools, Seneca East Schools, Sentinel Career and Technology Center, and Tiffin City Schools.

Sgt. Jared Watson of Tiffin Police Department reads to children at Lincoln Pre-K on May 9. (Contributed Photo)

Additionally, several first-responder departments have received training, including Attica-Venice-Reed Fire District, Bascom EMS, Bascom Joint Fire District, Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Department, Fostoria Fire Division, Fostoria Police Department, NBS Joint Fire District, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Scipio-Republic Fire Department, Seneca County Community Emergency Response Team, Seneca County Sheriff’s Office, Tiffin Fire Rescue Division, and Tiffin Police Department.

The Seneca County Firefighter’s Association, Seneca County Youth Center, and Seneca County Juvenile and Probate Court have also undergone Handle With Care training.

Since the program’s inception, over 70 notifications have been recorded, leading to first-responder visits at various schools, including Bridges Preparatory Academy, Fostoria City Schools, Hopewell-Loudon Schools, Old Fort Schools, and Tiffin City Schools.

Notably, the effort to implement Handle With Care statewide is being spearheaded by Hopewell Health Centers and is funded by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

For more information about this important initiative, please visit the website

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