September 3, 2013
Originally published Feb. 27, 2012
Since arriving at the Clayton County Board of Health (CCBOH) in 2010, few people have made as big of an individual impact as Enjoli Jones.
As one of 25 people in the country selected in 2009 to participate in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Public Health Prevention Service Fellowship, Jones was assigned to Clayton County in order to serve as CCBOH's Injury Prevention Coordinator. Since then, she has spearheaded the Safe Kids Clayton County program, a coalition dedicated to preventing unintentional injury among Clayton County's children, particularly those ages 14 and under.
"Our goal is to make our county safe for kids through education, advocacy, and partnerships," Jones said. "We want to prevent injury at home, at play, and on the way."
According to Jones, the top three unintentional injuries for children under the age of 14 in Clayton County are motor vehicle crashes, falls, and poisonings. The emergency room visits resulting from those injuries place additional strain on local hospitals, she said.
With no public funding to aid in her goal of creating a sustainable injury prevention program in Clayton County, Jones had to be creative. In 2011, after writing a successful grant application, Jones made CCBOH one of 10 agencies in the United States to receive a $25,000 Task Force Grant from Safe Kids USA and FedEx Corporation. She used the momentum from the grant to establish the Safe Kids Coalition in June of last year, as well as to fund the coalition's first big tasks - locating areas in the county where pedestrian safety for children could be improved and targeting at least one of those areas for an improvement project.
With the assistance of coalition partners such as the Clayton County Police, Fire and EMS, Transportation and Development, and Parks and Recreation departments, Safe Kids Georgia, and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), Safe Kids Clayton County identified the Carl Rhodenizer Recreation Center as being in need of pedestrian improvements. By the end of 2012, money from the Task Force Grant will fund the installation of an additional pedestrian crosswalk, flashing warning lights, and a street light to improve visibility leading to and from neighborhoods adjacent to the recreation center.
"There's a crosswalk at the traffic light which is on one side of the center, but it's not convenient for people coming from the other side," said Jones. "If a crosswalk isn't convenient, people aren't going to use it. We want to make sure people coming from north and south of the center have a safe place to cross."
Jones' efforts haven't stopped at pedestrian crossings. In July of last year, Safe Kids Clayton County and State Rep. Sandra Scott (D-Rex) hosted a Health and Safety Fair in the Rex area, which included personal health checks, diabetes and bicycle safety education, arts and crafts, and free car seat safety checks for parents with infant and child carriers. In August and September, Safe Kids Clayton County hosted successful car seat safety check events at Don Jackson Mitsubishi in Union City and in Clayton County with the Georgia State Patrol.
In October, Safe Kids Clayton County and Callaway Elementary School in Jonesboro co-hosted an International Walk to School Day event in which parents, teachers, and volunteers accompanied children to school and taught them the tenets of safe walking, such as never crossing between parked cars and making sure all children under the age of 10 cross the street with an adult present. Safe Kids is planning another walking event with Callaway Elementary in March, with the hopes of expanding the event to other schools in the area.
While entering year two of a two-year fellowship with CCBOH, Jones hopes her work will contribute to continued efforts in the county around injury prevention. "I want us to have a sustainable injury prevention program in the county because we don't have one currently. Safe Kids Clayton County is the first step toward that."
-Reprinted with permission from the Clayton County Board of Health Quarterly Newsletter http://www.claytoncountypublichealth.org/