It's Crossing Guard Appreciation Day! Thank a Crossing Guard for Keeping Our Kids Safe Today and Every School Day
February 2 is Crossing Guard Appreciation Day in the State of Florida. "Crossing guards provide an invaluable service to our communities and deserve special recognition for their tireless efforts,” said Governor Scott in his proclamation designating the annual day of appreciation.
On each and every school day crossing guards help our children get to school safely by helping them cross busy streets and intersections — even across some of the busiest roads in Melbourne.
At the intersection of Eau Gallie Boulevard Croton Road where thousands of cars travel daily, Crossing Guard Janene Romero and her partner, Bill Sullivan, help kids get across busy Eau Gallie Boulevard on their way to and from Croton Elementary School. They are there every day from 7:15 a.m. – 8 a.m. and then again from 2:15 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Janene stared as a crossing guard with the Melbourne Police Department in 2014 after she and her family relocated to Florida from Colorado. “I was looking for a part-time job and found that the crossing guard hours were exactly what I wanted,” she said. “And I really like working with kids, so it was a perfect fit for me.”
After observing the commingling of pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles in the Eau Gallie-Croton intersection for the past four years, she sees the need for drivers to be mindful and patient as they pass by schools.
“Croton Elementary School has been here for more than 50 years, yet I see drivers race the traffic light as if they had no idea there was a school here,” she said. “I encourage everyone to slow down and be patient as you drive near schools – remember that you were once a kid – or maybe think of your kids or grandkids. It’s important to be mindful and think about the long-term effects that could result from speeding or careless driving. But on the flipside of the coin, I also meet the kindest drivers who always honor the school zone laws and wish us a safe day.”
She also encourages children to do their part to be safe, noting that the biggest mistake she sees is kids not wearing their helmets. “The kids tell me that it’s a hassle to wear their helmets — they say it’s hot or maybe their strap doesn’t fit,” she said. “But if they take a spill and hit their heads the consequences can be severe.” Janene spent much of her career working in health care in Colorado so knows firsthand the devastating effects of traumatic brain injuries.
Keeping kids safe is her goal and her purpose as a school crossing guard, but she also finds her daily interactions with the kids to be extremely rewarding. “The best part about my job is connecting and engaging with the kids — I only see them for about a minute or two each day, but in those few moments I have a bit of time to get to know them. I know their brothers and sisters, know if they have a loose tooth, know when someone’s been mean to them,” she said.
“They are my sweet little angels, and they have a lot to say. I listen to them, encourage them and try give them something positive to think about every day.” Janene also spreads kindness to the drivers that pass by her post each morning and afternoon. “I wave to everyone as if they were a celebrity riding by,” she said. “Everyone is always rushing to their destinations, but we can all take a second to wave or say hello.”
We are currently recruiting additional crossing guards to join our team. If you’re looking for rewarding part-time work check out the School Crossing Guard job listing at: www.melbourneflorida.org/jobs.