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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Mitchell Community Rallies Around Mitchell High School Students to Bring 84th Baby Box in Indiana

MITCHELL - JUNE 9, 2022 - A project started by Mitchell High School Child Development class under the direction of Amy Redman, and Jeannete Martin CTE FACS Educator who helped the students complete the project. This project was supported by the community through donations, materials, and volunteer labor.

Mitchell High School students Lisa Arthur, Emma Higgs, and Paris Earl stand with Monica Kelsey and Amy Redman

Henry Shelter of Five Star Construction, David Hopper with his employees Heather Reve, and Kayden Lundy, of Hopper Construction, and Rick Butterfield handled the electrical work, donated their time to get the Baby Box installed free of charge.

Rick Butterfield, Henry Shelter, David Hooper, Heather Reve, and Kayden Bundy helped with the installation

ECS Communications set up the alarm system and Lowe's donated the building material; Kirby Risk donated the electrical supplies.

No tax money was used for the project.

Thursday morning, a great turnout for the Blessing of the Baby Box that has been made available for mothers to surrender their child if they are unable to care for it.

Darrin Chastain Elder of the Tulip Street Christian Church led a prayer for mothers, families and for those having to make difficult decisions in these situations.

Several community members attended the Blessing of the Baby Box

The project took over three years to complete due to waiting on legislation to change for a unmanned location to receive a baby, pandemic slowed the process. What did not slow down was the determination of the high school students to see the project to completion.

Students Lisa Arthur, Emma Higgs, and Paris Earl told the crowd of spectators how the project evolved when they where freshman and now as Seniors finally the Baby Box is now live.

" It is rewarding to see this project will be helpful to the City of Mitchell and Lawrence County," said Lisa Arthur.

" This feels so surreal, to as a high school student to make this big of an impact," said Emma Higgs.

" This is took a lot of time, but our community and classmates worked together to bring this project together," said Paris Earl.

The students made the presentations to community members and fielded calls during class, worked tirelessly throughout the process.

Mitchell Mayor J.D. England, Mitchell City Council, and other city officials supported the project. Mitchell Volunteer Fire Department have been trained in answering the alarms at the fire station and provide emergency medical care

Supporters also included David Miller, Hoosier Uplands, Mitchell Mayor J.D England, Mt. Horeb Church which the late Jennifer Caruso Mitchell Junior High School Principal attended donated $5,000 towards the project. Caruso's father Denzil attended today's ceremony.

Safe Have Box Founder Monica Kelsey attended today's Blessing of the Baby Box who as a firefighter/paramedic, was abandoned as an infant and is committed to installing more Safe Haven boxes to lower infant abandonment.

The goal is to keep babies from being left in dumpsters, and placed along roadways and provide a safe way for mothers to surrender their baby.

The organization offers a Safe Haven National Crisis Hotline at 1-866-99Baby and is available 24 hours, 7 days a week, which provides education of Safe Haven Laws and mission to raise awareness in communities across America.

When the Baby Box door is opened it sets off a alarm, once the baby is placed in the baby box and the door closes, it automatically locks and a second alarm is sent to 911 dispatch center.

The system was tested Thursday morning and Mitchell Volunteer Firefighters received and acknowledged the alert within 30 seconds, and the department volunteers are usually at the fire station within two minutes of the alarm. The Mitchell Volunteer Fire Department is also manned by Seals Ambulance Crews which is also trained in how to respond to the Baby Box alarms. Mayor J.D. England is happy to see the community support such a worthwhile project.

Should neither the fire department, or Seals Ambulance Service is available then Mitchell Police Department will respond to the fire station. The system will be tested weekly.

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