March is Red Cross Month. The Times Observer is marking the occasion by publishing a series of articles about the local chapter and its functions.
Tera Darts knows all too well the importance of life-saving skills.
After taking a CPR class in eighth grade, Darts was able to save the life of her infant cousin who was choking.
Years later, she is teaching those same skills to Warren County residents as the health and safety administrator for the Warren County Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Her students range in age from three years old all the way up to senior citizens.
"On Friday, we taught Scrubby Bear to 130 kids at South Street (Early Learning Center)," she said.
Shortly after making that statement, Darts answered a phone call and booked two more dates to teach First Aid and CPR for Everyone to seniors.
First Aid and CPR for Everyone is a crash course in life-saving skills with a duration of 45 minutes. Darts plans to utilize a foam replica of an emergency response to simulate the two-inch depth of a chest compression.
Although the training will not result in a certification, it does teach enough to safe a life in the event of cardiac arrest.
"My idea is instead of a Tupperware party, have a Red Cross party," she said. "You will still be surrounded by friends and family and it would still be fun."
In addition to CPR classes, Darts teaches a babysitting class which has become popular, according to Rex Rossey, executive director of the local chapter.
"When she offer one of these classes, it fills up quick," he said.
The babysitting class is for adolescents ages 11 to 15. The six-hour course teaches safety and emergency response, and trains the students on writing resumes and how to present themselves in an interview.
"They learn every aspect of babysitting, including that it's a job," Darts said.
Darts had been working to offer the babysitting class in the outlying areas of the county. So far, she has taught the class in Sheffield and Sugar Grove. A class is scheduled in Youngsville and she is looking for a place to hold the class in Tidioute.
Teaching health and safety to children is supplemented with material such as Fido! Friend or Foe, which teaches dog safety and awareness; Scrubby Bear, which teaches about germs and hand washing; and Let's Get Ready, which teaches the importance of family emergency plans.
For Darts, getting out into the community provides important education and shows importance of the Red Cross and what it offers.
"The Red Cross needs to be relevant every day," she said.
To drive that point home, when Darts said, "The biggest question I ask businesses or families is 'If you're having a heart attack, is there anyone around who can save your life?' I think everyone needs to ask themselves that."