“It’s finally my turn,” says a young student, gripping her babysitting handbook tightly to her chest. She had been counting down the days until she could take a class with Ms. Brenda, just like her siblings.
For many youth, one of their very first jobs is babysitting. Without the proper skills and training, the task of caring for children is daunting and even dangerous. Taking a babysitting class is a vital tool for young people, giving them the necessary skills needed for childcare and eventually their own children.
As a certified American Red Cross instructor, Brenda Langerud has spent countless hours ensuring kids in North Dakota are educated with reliable and useful information on how to care for children.
“Working with youth is always so rewarding,” Brenda says. “You’re giving them valuable skills they will be using in the future.”
After 35 years of service, Brenda Langerud recently retired as an Extension Agent with the NDSU Extension Service. For 22 of those years, she taught certified American Red Cross Babysitting courses in Devils Lake, Cando and Fort Totten, ND. Since 1996, she estimates teaching approximately 800 youth from across North Dakota, and even other states, through the Babysitting and Child Care Training Course. The curriculum includes a wide range of skills needed to be a babysitter – first aid, CPR, food safety, playtime, feeding young children, working with adults, dealing with emergencies and child development.
“After taking the class I know that they have learned something,” she says.
Brenda spent countless hours taking the training courses required for instructors, prepping, promoting and teaching the classes. To ensure the material she was teaching was up to date and evolving with technology, she also wrote grants and letters to obtain additional materials, such as new books and “Annie” training dolls.
Through her dedication to the program, her classes were described as fun and not easily forgotten. She has had a great impact on the kids and families she has reached, with the younger sibling of her former students counting down the days until they can participate and finally say, “It’s my turn.”
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