For What It’s Worth

Never underestimate children

Youngsters are amazing at times, and quite often will surprise us with their competency—and recently in the case of two young girls their composure under pressure.

One young girl, a 4-year-old in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is being called a hero for dialing a 911 operator and summoning help for her mother who had collapsed in an epileptic seizure while nine months pregnant. The other, a 10-year-old in Lenexa, Kansas, volunteered her skill in sign language to assist first responders at the scene of an accident in which an injured driver was deaf.

In Kalamazoo, Calise Manning showed that even a 4-year-old can come through in the clutch if trained properly. Her mother, Centerria Manning, told a reporter that she had coached Calise in how to dial 911 and to give her name and address. They had practiced what to do in an emergency, she said.

That emergency came last week when the mother, nine months pregnant, apparently fell to the floor in the midst of a seizure. Calise called the 911 operator and said, “ She’s shaking and she’s having a baby. My mom is really pregnant and she’s having a boy and she really needs help.”

Thanks to the call, help arrived, and the mother was taken to the hospital. Two days later, Calise’s brother was born.

During the 7 ½-minute call, the dispatcher asked Calise, “How old are you, honey?” She responded “four” and added, “I’m almost getting bigger.” The dispatcher has recommended that Calise receive an award for being calm in a scary situation.

Scary might have been an appropriate word January 14 in Lenexa, Kansas, where Yesenia Diosdado, a fourth-grader, stepped in help a woman injured in a car wreck near the 10-year-old’s home. “She looked really hurt,” Yesena said. “Her face was bleeding and I didn’t want her to die or something. She was really hurt.”

She noticed that the woman was deaf and having a hard time communicating with first responders at the scene. So, she crossed the busy intersection near 77th and Quivira to offer help. EMS Capt. Chris Winger was surprised when the girl said, “I sign. Can I help?” Winger said he didn’t know what to say initially “because this doesn’t really happen at all.” But he accepted the offer, and Yesena’s assistance sped up the process of getting proper care for the injured driver.

Yesenia’s mother, Susan Mulidore, used to be an interpreter and taught all her children this skill.

Yesenia received an award from MED-ACT paramedics during a special assembly just for her Monday at her school, Rising Star Elementary School.

The girl apparently was nervous or scared to tell her mom about what happened. “Okay, what am I going to get mad about?” the mother said she remembers asking when her daughter told her.

She said her daughter replied, “Mom, I crossed the street.”

I am not only impressed by what Yesenia did; I’m impressed by her response to her mother. I see in both what she did and what she said to her mom the right training and upbringing the girl is receiving.

Don’t underestimate kids. Trained correctly, they can respond to situations and circumstances in an admirable manner, making you and the rest of us proud.

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