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Aiming for the heart

Kids’ posters raise safety stakes

Adele Yoshikawa, a Pearl City, HI, letter carrier, displays a poster created by her 5-year-old granddaughter, Kiani.

The puzzle facing the Hawaii District safety team was this: How to make the Postal Service’s message of safety really hit home?

“We have safety data coming out of our ears,” said Pania Heimuli, the district’s acting human resources manager.

The “head” part was clearly taken care of. What they needed was for workers to take the message to heart.

The team hit upon a poster contest for the youngest persuaders — employees’ child relatives — to inspire all workers to stay mindful of best safety practices.

The safety data is important, Heimuli acknowledged, but knowing someone at home wants us to return safe and sound “may cause us to think twice before driving a little too fast or using our back instead of our legs while lifting.”

The contest was open to postal workers’ relatives through the age of 17 in the district, which includes Hawaii, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa, and ran from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day “to capitalize on the family theme,” Heimuli said.

Hawaii District Manager Eileen Veach thought it was a “fantastic” way to “drive home a very important message.”

The children could choose their topics, and the entries ran the gamut: COVID-19, dog bites, heat stress, safe driving, seat belts and safe lifting.

Both Veach and Heimuli were impressed by the children’s work. For Heimuli, “the love they expressed” was particularly touching.

As the posters were received, they were immediately blown up and sent to the home office of the artist’s postal relative, accompanied by a stand-up talk about “being safe at work so that every employee returns safely home,” Heimuli said, echoing the contest’s theme.

As for winners — “How does one compare the heartfelt stick figures of a 5-year-old with the talented comic-strip drawings of a 15-year-old?” Heimuli asked. “They are all winners.”

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