Impact on prevention

Langhorne’s Kim Everett recognized for 21 years with Safe Kids Bucks County

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

Decades of dedication: Langhorne’s Kim Everett was recently recognized by Rep. Frank Farry (left) and Nick Diasio (right) on behalf of Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, for her 21 years of work with Safe Kids Bucks County. Source: Office of State Rep. Frank Farry

When Langhorne resident Kim Everett began working at the Bucks County Department of Health, she discovered a striking statistic — a leading cause of death for children was injuries, mostly preventable ones. Immediately, Everett knew she had to change this reality for the better.

After conducting some research, she learned a number of fire and police departments hosted regular pedestrian, bus, bike and home safety trainings. But they weren’t coordinated.

“Nobody knew what the other person was doing, and some of them were duplicating efforts,” Everett said. “We didn’t have a lot of resources. And so if we weren’t going to have a lot of resources, then we really needed to not duplicate efforts.”

Everett rallied departments hailing from across the county. Her thought was, if they could all work together, the result would be a much bigger impact. And that’s exactly what happened when Everett formed Safe Kids Bucks County, a local coalition of the nonprofit organization Safe Kids Worldwide, that aims to keep children safe from injury through education, legislation changes, and enforcement activities.

Though Safe Kids Bucks County was absorbed by the Southeastern PA Coalition led by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on Jan. 1 due to changes with its original lead agency, effectively ending Everett’s time with the organization, her 21 years of dedication are not being forgotten.

During a recent meeting at the Tri-Hampton Rescue Squad in Richboro, Everett, who was surrounded by family, friends and colleagues, received multiple commendations from Pennsylvania legislators.

Rep. Frank Farry presented Everett with a United States flag, on behalf of Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, that was flown over the U.S. Capitol, as well as a commendation from the PA House of Representatives for her years of service to the citizens of the commonwealth. Also in attendance was Nick Diasio on behalf of Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, who presented a commendation from the state Senate in recognition of her achievements.

“I have a special place in my heart for the efforts of Safe Kids. From time to time, we get to recognize people in the community for an impact they have had during their length of service,” Farry said. “Surely, under her leadership, Safe Kids Bucks County has saved many children’s lives.”

Over her tenure, Everett led Safe Kids Bucks County in a magnitude of prevention programs, including the development of the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) program in 2011. ImPACT is a standardized tool used in comprehensive clinical management of concussion for athletes of all ages, and helps teens, coaches, parents and school administrators understand the signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. She also led a bike helmet awareness initiative, which distributed almost 10,000 properly-fitted helmets to children across the county.

Other key areas Everett focused on were pedestrian safety, with a “Walk to School Day” taking place at a different location each year, water safety, and child passenger safety. Everett organized monthly car seat check programs, in which more than 40 car seats were examined each month at St. Mary Medical Center, where she serves as the Trauma Prevention Coordinator.

For Everett, it was an honor to be recognized for her time with Safe Kids Bucks County, a coalition she said was largely driven by heart and passion rather than money.

“It’s fantastic because I was able to stand with many of the people who have supported these programs for a very long time, and thank them for all their support because truly, it’s not me. It’s a coalition. Although I may have been somewhat of the ringleader, I was the ringleader of the circus that was a bunch of committed people to that cause,” Everett said. “These organizations were committed to keeping kids safe, and we were able to keep that growing as we identified needs.”

Still, the honor was bittersweet as she passed the Safe Kids torch to the Southeastern PA Coalition.

“I’m very grateful that there were so many people committed to the work in Bucks County, that although there needed to be changes in programming, the work is going to continue,” she said. “I’m optimistic that I’ll be able to work in an area where I can use my passion like that again.”

Corey Matthews, current chairman of the Bucks County Committee of Safe Kids Southeastern PA, former vice chairman of the Bucks County Coalition and lieutenant at the Tri-Hampton Rescue Squad, also presented Everett with a certificate of recognition on behalf of Safe Kids Pennsylvania.

“You can be assured that Bucks County regional interests as it regards to pediatric injury and illness prevention will continue to be represented under this change in leadership and merger of the coalition,” Matthews said. “Kim’s leadership in Bucks County has allowed all of us members to continue on with our mission of saving children’s lives through pediatric injury prevention.”

As Everett says goodbye to this lengthy and rewarding chapter of her career, that’s all she can ask for.

“I’m very happy that Safe Kids will continue, just in a different way,” she said. “And I’m very happy that I’ve been able to work for 21 years in a field that I’m so passionate about. That’s a huge blessing. Not a lot of people get to say they do that in their career.” ••

Visit pasafekids.org for more information on Safe Kids Southeastern PA.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com