TRIAD aims to educate our elderly

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 31, 2000

&uot;They’re just trying to get the elderly like me to be more cautious,&uot; said Bruce Brice with a smile. And he’s right. Volunteers and staff with the TRIAD&160;program are trying to get Brice and other senior citizens to be more cautious, more attentive, more confident … and ultimately, more safe, in their neighborhoods and homes.

Through a monthly series of free seminars geared toward the elderly, the state-funded, locally coordinated program is tackling the issues of senior citizens’ safety head-on.

&uot;This is about seniors and lawmen working together to reduce crime, especially among senior citizens,&uot; said Bryan Walcott, secretary for the program.

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Coordinators include the Adams County Sheriff’s Department, the Natchez Police Department and the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program here in Natchez.

Working with the benefit of state funding — Mississippi is the only state in the nation which mandates by law that $1 of each state-issued traffic violation fine be set aside for TRIAD&160;funding — the local TRIAD&160;volunteers are coordinating a year’s worth of sessions designed to reach out to the elderly.

And, most important, they’re taking the sessions to the elderly — at different churches and meeting rooms throughout the county.

&uot;We spent the last six months doing a survey and we can sort the survey by neighborhood,&uot; Walcott said. &uot;That way, we can tell what each neighborhood is concerned about.&uot;

For instance, &uot;what people are concerned about in Sibley isn’t the same as what people are worried about in Montebello,&uot; she said.

And, because the TRIAD&160;organizers have this information, they can tailor each of these area seminars to address the most pressing concerns in each area.

The first seminar was held at Covington Road Church of Christ in May, with approximately 50 senior citizens taking part.

That topic — being &uot;Crime Wise&uot; — will be repeated Thursday, June 15, at Westminster Presbyterian Church.

&uot;We’ll take our announcement to churches in the area and encourage them to put it in the bulletins,&uot; Brice said. Community clubs and word of mouth will help fill out the publicity of the event.

Participants will have the benefit of the Baton Rouge, La., based Ann Walsh’s expertise in the areas of personal safety and crime prevention.

&uot;They’ll learn things like what to do when they’re coming out of Wal-Mart: how to walk out of the store with their keys in their hand, to walk straight and keep their head up … because criminals are looking for people who don’t pay attention,&uot; Walcott said.

Topics on the June 15 agenda include:

How victims are chosen.

What criminals look for in a target at home, in the car and on the street.

How to make yourself and loved ones less vulnerable.

When to fight and when to escape.

And whether carrying a weapon is right for you.

The session promises to be informative and informational. But most important, it promises to be helpful — creating a sense of empowerment in people by giving them information, knowledge and proven tips for personal safety.

Walcott says any senior citizen interested in attending the free session, which includes a box lunch, should make reservations by calling TRIAD at 445-7541 or 445-5082.

Stacy Graning is editor of The Democrat. She can be reached at 446-5172 ext. 239 or