Little Company of Mary & Evergreen Park Fire Dept hosted the National Injury Prevention Program, ThinkFirst at Central Junior High.

Little Company of Mary Hospital joined the efforts of the Evergreen Park Fire Department’s ThinkFirst program on Thursday, March 29, 2012 at Central Junior High. ThinkFirst is an award-winning National Injury Prevention program that is aimed towards educating young people about their personal vulnerability and the importance of making safe choices. The message is: You can have a fun-filled, exciting life, without hurting yourself if you “ThinkFirst.” Buckle up. Drive safely and sober. Avoid violent situations. Lower your risk to fall. Wear a helmet. Check the water before you dive. Use your mind to protect your body! 

Each year, an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States sustain a brain injury, and 12,000 – 20,000 sustain a spinal cord injury. In fact, injury is the leading cause of death among children and teens. The most frequent causes of these injuries are motor vehicle crashes, violence, falls, sports and recreation. The good news is that most injuries are preventable

While attending a ThinkFirst public education conference, Ed Dunne with the Evergreen Park Fire Department, was inspired to bring the ThinkFirst program to Evergreen Park and surrounding communities. Ed thought Junior High students would benefit the most from this program as children age ranging from 13-15 tend to believe that they are untouchable and invisible to danger. 

Ed began to reach out to paraplegic patients, healthcare organizations and Little Company of Mary Hospital for support on preventable injury awareness. Little Company of Mary Hospital provided the Evergreen Park Fire Department with home medic supplies and puzzles to bring educational workstations to elementary schools. A few of the workstations involved going up and down ramps on a wheel-chair, using crutches, grabbing objects with your hands tied behind your back and putting together a puzzle while being blindfolded. Each child was blindfolded and asked to put the puzzle together based on touch. 

It was amusing to hear the children say, “putting together a puzzle while blindfolded is a piece of cake.” However once blindfolded, they grew frustrated and angry not being able to get one piece in. Another child said, “cruising in a wheel chair isn’t hard at all.” The children quickly realized when they lost control of the wheelchair while going down the ramp at a quick speed that being paralyzed is not easy as they thought.  

If you would like more information about the National Injury Prevention ThinkFirst program, please contact the Evergreen Fire Dept at (708) 422-2193. If you would like more information about the events hosted by Little Company of Mary Hospital, please visit

Central Junior High 8th graders putting together a puzzle while blindfolded.

The hand of a Central Junior High 8th grader attempting to put together a puzzle while blindfolded.


From left to right, John Barcus, EP Fire Dept, Vincent Parker, LCM Home Health Equipment Center, Lt. Ed Dunne, EP Fire Dept, Mike Fleming, LCM Public Relations, and Charles Walker, LCM Physical Therapy.


Central Junior High 8th grader trying to use crutches for the first time.


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