We often hear that Westridge students are highly sought-after babysitters. For 22 members of the Class of 2027, that may be truer than ever as they just completed the first-ever, synchronous online American Red Cross babysitter certification program. The collaboration with the American Red Cross was made possible by our 6th grade parent grade-level representatives (GLRs), who were determined to find a meaningful and fun way for their students to connect while in remote learning this spring. They approached the Red Cross to find a way to adapt their existing, asynchronous online babysitting training course into a live format that would allow students to interact with their instructors and their peers in real time. The Red Cross readily agreed, and the Westridge 6th grade class became the pilot group for this new, live online program.

Students were excited to pick up their babysitting kits that included dolls, shown above.

The 6th graders met with certified Red Cross instructors in small groups of their classmates on three Sunday afternoons for three hours each. During these classes, students were trained on child and infant care, staying safe in an emergency, first aid, CPR, and the basics of setting up and marketing a babysitting business. Each student received a training kit included a baby doll and a Red Cross First Aid Kit to ensure that they didn’t miss out on valuable hands-on experience despite the virtual setting.

“I liked the fact that we did it together as a class,” said Fiala P. ’27. “I reconnected with some people that I hadn't seen since last year. It was a fun experience because it gives you skills that you can use later in life even if you’re not babysitting, and it's also a fun social thing.”

“The Red Cross recognizes that our day-to-day reality has been altered, so when (6th grade GLR) Joy Chen reached out with a request to adapt our babysitting course to be delivered virtually, we immediately went to work to see how we could help,” said President of Red Cross Training Services Jack A. McMaster. “Our babysitting course provides valuable information for young adults that covers not only first aid and CPR but also information on what to do in case of severe weather, severe bleeding, allergic reactions, and drowning. As we conclude the pilot, we are excited to review and incorporate our learnings as we continue to transform our life-saving training solutions.”

Chen, who spearheaded this collaboration, was inspired to pursue this opportunity by her own experience taking the Red Cross babysitting training course when she was in 6th grade. “It’s so nice that something that was so empowering to me 40 years ago is now empowering a new generation of kids to be able to confidently stay at home alone, learn how to respond in case of an emergency, and set up a small business,” said Joy.