In December 2012, Samuel Hudson-Knowlton and his sister, Madeline, took Safe Sitter® at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna, Alaska, a state which ranks No. 1 among earthquakes in the United States. They learned about earthquake safety in class but never expected they’d need to use what they’d learned.
Just days after completing Safe Sitter®, an earthquake measuring 5.8 on geological reports struck the area. The two home-schooled teens maintained their composure and kept their three younger siblings calm while their mother, Marcia, worked in another part of the house. Because the brother and sister babysitting duo knew exactly what to do, their actions earned them the title of Safe Sitter® of the Year.
Marcia was so impressed by how Safe Sitter® provides practical life skills for children that she became an Instructor shortly after witnessing her teens’ bravery. She teaches Safe Sitter® classes at Central Peninsula Hospital where she works in staff development. However, she’s not the only Safe Sitter® Instructor in the Knowlton family. Samuel, now a young adult, became an Instructor as well, and he and his mother teach at the same hospital. In fact, they now teach class together! “Both the classes I’ve taught have actually been with my mother,” Samuel said. “I think that being able to teach with her has really helped me become a better teacher.”
Samuel was so motivated to teach Safe Sitter® once he turned 18 that he trained as an Instructor and taught his first class just days later. “It was difficult at first simply because I was nervous but teaching with my mom definitely helped calm my nerves and after that it was super fun!” Samuel said, adding that the Safe Sitter® curriculum is laid out so that it isn’t hard to teach even for someone teaching for the first time.
However, Samuel said what is hard is picking a favorite part of the curriculum. “There are so many great topics and fun games, but if I had to pick just one it would have to be the Safety Skills portion.” As an Instructor, it might be Safety Skills that resonates the most with Samuel. But as a student, what stuck with him most was something else.
“Many parts of the Safe Sitter® course have helped me, but the one I have used the most is staying calm in a situation,” Samuel said. “I’ve been in a few different situations, like the earthquake, where things could’ve turned out different if I wasn’t able to stay calm and think clearly about what to do.”
Like many other graduates, Samuel’s plans for the future have been shaped by his experience taking Safe Sitter®. And his possible future career path is one where staying calm and level-headed can mean the difference between life and death. “I’m still currently in the process of deciding what I want to do as my full-time job for the rest of my life, but I’m thinking of going to school to become a paramedic,” Samuel said.
Read Samuel’s and Madeline’s hero story here.