Chamber presents grant to Union Parish Library for hygiene education

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Several Members of the Union Parish Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors are shown at a check presentation to the Union Parish Library for a parish-wide education program on the importance of hand-washing protocols to reduce the spread of contagions. The $2,739 grant will cover the cost of the program developed by the Glo-Germ Company. Pictured from left are Jamie Sanson, Taylor and Wilkes, CPA; Paula Strickland, Chamber Chair; Stephanie Herrmann, Library Director, and Jon McKinnie, Chamber President. Gazette photo by Byron Avery

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The Union Parish Chamber of Commerce has awarded the Union Parish Library a $2,739 grant to kick off a parish-wide education program on the importance of hand-washing protocols to reduce the spread of contagions.

Stephanie Herrmann, Library Director, shares, “The project is literally hands-on, meaning the teaching tool guides students through the process of seeing where the germs are on their hands after washing so they learn how important the process is for safety.”

The Glo-Germ Company produces teacher/trainer education kits that provide a powder that is shaken on the student’s hands. Once the student washes their hands normally, they run their hands under a black light (provided) to see the spots (germs) they missed. This live demonstration allows students to see not only the importance of just hand washing, but the importance of thorough and targeted hand washing.

The library has prepared teacher guides for each of the kits that includes information from the National Science Foundation “Scrub Club”, including sample curriculum guides for teaching hand washing by grade level. Teachers will also be given children’s books about washing hands from the “Baby Shark” book series.

The overall mission of the Chamber is to attract new business to our area, assist existing business to become more efficient and develop a better-qualified workforce. Plus, the chamber supports community and educational activities to help make our parish a better place to live.

Each year, the Chamber allocates a percentage of its available funds to support educational projects across the parish. Jon McKinnie, Chamber President commented, “The Chamber uses charitable monies to provide educational grants quarterly to organizations that qualify each year. This quarter we chose the library project because this one grant will be reaching so many other educators throughout the parish.”

Each elementary teacher in the parish will receive an individual teacher kit for onetime use classroom education. Each science and health educator in the high schools will receive a larger kit that contains materials for multiple classrooms so they can blend the teaching tools into curriculum topics throughout the year. In addition to the hand-washing component, the high school/adult kit contains “surface lotions” that demonstrates the importance of cleaning flat surfaces shared by multiple people such as laboratories or kitchen surfaces.

Chamber Board Chairperson Paula Strickland also added, “Multiple teaching kits will also be made available to interested adult groups such as healthcare offices, nursing homes, churches, restaurants and businesses for ‘checkout’ through the library so they can educate staff, employees and workers about the spread of viruses as well.”

This joint project of the Chamber, Union Parish Library, and community educators will be a timely and universal way of reaching a large group of people throughout the parish during the pandemic to share ways we can all make a difference in the spread of germs in our community.

Herrmann adds, “Sometimes seeing is believing and this certainly made me realize that when I wash my own hands, there are places I miss every time out of my own bad habits. If we can show students and adults alike that by changing the way we wash our hands, perhaps we can make us all healthier in the process.”