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Paramedics teach baby-sitters-in-training

Staff Photo: Frank Reddy Tania Diaz, coordinator of Safe Kids Gwinnett, teaches a babysitting training class Friday at the Gwinnett County Fire Department headquarters in Lawrenceville.

Staff Photo: Frank Reddy Tania Diaz, coordinator of Safe Kids Gwinnett, teaches a babysitting training class Friday at the Gwinnett County Fire Department headquarters in Lawrenceville.

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Staff Photo: Frank Reddy Patricia Schaefer, a community educator with Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services, demonstrates chest compressions Friday during a babysitting training course at fire department headquarters.

LAWRENCEVILLE — Paige Butcher and Shantel Hutton, both 12, are looking to make some money as baby sitters around their neighborhoods.

They’re the real deal: professional business cards, a rotating team of employees, etc.

Butcher and Hutton said, however, that none of it carried the weight of the lessons they learned Friday during a baby sitting training course. Sponsored by Safe Kids Gwinnett and the Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services, Safe Sitter Babysitting Training aimed to teach young adults the basics.

“It teaches them about the responsibilities of watching over children,” said Tania Diaz, Safe Kids Gwinnett coordinator. “It also teaches them about being at home alone or making good decisions.”

Diaz said it’s a national program that’s being offered in Gwinnett County for the first time. Offered to boys and girls over the age of 11, the program also teaches business skills.

“It’s a business, and they should treat it as such,” Diaz said. “There are responsibilities that go along with that. We encourage them to make their own job interviews, so that they’re not taking every possible job, but they’re doing jobs that are in an environment that’s safe for them as well.”

Butcher and Hutton said they learned a thing or two.

“It’s good to be able to get more experience,” Butcher said. “There’s good information, too.”

Hutton said the class was “a lot of fun.”

Diaz said she and her students indeed had fun Friday, but they tackled important subject matters as well.

“Baby sitting is a huge responsibility,” Diaz said. “The responsibility they take on is for the life of the child they’re watching over.”

The course, which costs $17.50 per student, will also be held on March 29 and April 12. Class size is limited. For more information or to enroll, call Safe Kids Gwinnett at 678-518-4854 or email safekids@gwinnettcounty.com.