Volunteers are Making Safe Simple

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We’ve had a busy summer. We commemorated our Emergency Department’s Level 1 trauma designation and kicked off Making safe simple: 100 ways in 100 days.

And we couldn’t have done any of it without dedicated UnitedHealthcare (UHC), UnitedHealth Group (UHG) and Optum volunteers. Almost 200 volunteers gave over 500 hours of their time, sharing simple safety tips while giving away bike helmets and life jackets, and so much more. Thanks to our great volunteers, we were able to help hundreds of kids have a safer summer.

During our first event, volunteers visited several Boys and Girls Clubs and local parks in the Twin Cities to provide and fit more than 500 kids with free bike helmets and bike lights. As the bus was departing from one club, some volunteers spotted some neighborhood kids biking down the street without helmets. The bus driver stopped the bus, and we were able to fit the entire group with helmets!

We were lucky to have the perfect day for our water safety event a few weeks later. The eight Minneapolis park beaches were busy with families enjoying the sun and water. Volunteers distributed more than 700 life vests - and lots of sunscreen! It was incredible to see the difference as the buses pulled away, leaving beaches full of kids racing back into the lake with their new safety gear. 

For our last activity, volunteers participated in our own Phillips West neighborhood National Night Out event - the largest in Minnesota! UHC, UHG and Optum volunteers staffed our Making Safe Simple booth teaching families about in-home safety. Unfortunately, a thunderstorm forced us to close down early but not before we were able to give away tons of bike lights, reflective slap bracelets, bicycle helmets and life jackets. One volunteer who attended the water safety event was so excited that she decided to take our safety message back to her own National Night Out gathering. We sent a large box of bike lights to distribute to the 50 kids in her neighborhood. Afterward, she said that the lights were almost more popular than the fire trucks the kids got to ride in!

In addition to these great events, UHC, UHG and Optum also held on-site volunteer activities to assemble 1,500 safety craft kits for Children’s to distribute to patients and families in our emergency and clinic waiting rooms. These included safety activity sheets, coloring pages and glow-in-the-dark necklaces.

In a few weeks, volunteers will help us with one of the biggest safety events of the year when our Making Safe Simple booth returns to the Minnesota State Fair. UHC, UHG and Optum volunteers will help teach patients and families about helmet, water, car seat and ATV safety.

Interested in volunteering with us at the fair? We have a few shifts left to fill! If you are free during the following times, please contact Joshua Bredehoeft at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or 612-813-7122.

Sunday, Aug. 25, 2:00 – 5:30 p.m. or 5:00 – 8:30 p.m. 
Saturday, Aug. 31, 5:00 – 8:30 p.m. 
Sundau, Sept. 1, 5:00 – 8:30 p.m. 
Monday, Sept. 2, 5:00– 8:30 p.m.