Five years without a serious breakdown could be considered good for an average car, never mind a miniature, battery-operated one that’s had thousands of tiny drivers hopping in and out of it.

And to ensure those tiny drivers stay safe while they’re cruising the Kiwanis Children’s Safety Village, Mike Davenport, of Davenport Subaru, donated $2,000 Tuesday. The money is being used to purchase a new, hot-pink miniature, battery-operated car that will replace the old red and grey one Davenport Subaru donated to the safety village when it launched in 2009.

“Safety is a big part of children’s lives that they may or may not get taught at home,” Davenport said.

The goal of the safety village — a large portable, interactive and hands-on display — is to help children understand why things like buckling up in the car, looking both ways before crossing the street and wearing a bike helmet are important.

The safety village was a pet project of retired Orillia OPP officer Gerry Dwyer, who spent a decade bringing it to fruition.

Seeing the faces of the children after going through the safety village is what Dwyer, who was on hand for Davenport’s announcement, said makes it all worth it.

“A lot of it has to do with these cars,” Dwyer said.

Orillia OPP officers continue to use the safety village while travelling to local elementary schools to administer police-related programming. They also set it up at local fairs and events.

Giving children an opportunity to learn hands-on at a time where they are increasingly preoccupied with technology is important, said Orillia OPP’s detachment commander, Insp. Malcolm Quigley.

Davenport Subaru was one of four local dealerships to donate the money to purchase the safety village’s original cars.

“Some kids never have an opportunity to get into one of those cars, so it’s a lot of fun,” Davenport said, noting the opportunity for children to engage with and learn from the safety village is why he’s a supporter of it.

Since the safety village launched, more than 30,000 children have passed through it.

“I always say prevention is the purest form of enforcement,” Dwyer said.

Article courtesy of the Orillia Packet 

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