The Junior Firefighter Youth Foundation was founded in 2003 and is a community-based organization that aims to mentor, train and develop young minds for the future. Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Brent Burton is the CEO/founder of the foundation and County Fire Chief Deputy Daryl L. Osby serves as the director.
Burton is also the current president of the African American Firefighter Museum and former president of the Stentorians of Los Angeles County.
The foundation has created and developed the Junior Fire Cadet Program.
Burton utilizes the Stentorian organization’s resources to run the program, which was first partnered with Tom Bradley Elementary School and, in the course of one year, expanded to Woodworth Elementary School, Normandie Avenue Elementary School and Birdie Lee Bright Elementary School.
At the end of the seven-week program, as they prepare to enter middle school, the students understand basic fire-safety principles, how the fire department operates, how important physical fitness is for them and the strict physical education requirements that are taught. The students are presented with certificates of completion and receive recognition for their efforts and hard work.
The Junior Firefighter Youth Foundation is currently developing other programs, which will soon be up and running, specifically a domestic violence training program. Verizon recently awarded the foundation a $24,900 grant to include the new component. The grant presentation took place on Friday at the site of the training at the Wisdom Academy for Young Scientists (WAYS), a public elementary charter school founded in 2006.
“Wisdom Academy for Young Scientist is the first of several schools to provide life-changing training as a part of the program’s curriculum,” said Burton. “The Foundation’s after-school program focuses on making smart choices, and targets fourth-and fifth-graders. It runs for seven weeks and meets for an hour and a half one day a week on the campuses of selected elementary schools,” he said.
The new training will be taught by clinical psychologist Dayatrice Darrington.
“I ask the children how they perceive abuse and if they can give examples,” explained Darrington.
“My goal is to educate the children about what is abuse, how to identify abusers, how to take proactive actions, how to react in the situation, where to find and get help, and provide them with coping skills about how to handle their own conflicts,” she continued.
Other programs offered by the organization are career day speakers, live fire department demonstrations with personal protective safety gear, presentations on fire safety education, disaster preparedness and the history of African Americans in the fire service.
For more information about the organization, the Junior Fire Cadet program, and the new Domestic Violence Prevention training, visit the organization’s website at www.jrffyouthfoundation.org.