McDonough Toyota

Keeping Kids Safe with Operation Kidsafe
by Dan Nied
Mar/Apr 2017
McDonough Toyota
Stars of the Day
At McDonough Toyota’s Operation Kidsafe event, Sheriff Donald Smith, Nivia Tedesco, Kidsafe’s Safety Pup and Officer James Snyder saw 200 kids and their parents participate.
McDonough Toyota aims to do its part to help the Staunton, Va., community, this time reaching out to a decidedly younger demographic.

Their latest venture was in conjunction with Operation Kidsafe, an organization that aims to help parents of children who are lost or abducted.

In November, Operation Kidsafe set up shop at the dealership on a raucous Saturday, offering free fingerprinting and 8x11 photos of kids, to give parents a head start should the unthinkable happen to their children.

“We don’t want any parent to have to go through that kind of emergency,” says Nivia Tedesco, McDonough’s social media director. “But if we can give a parent the tools to react to a kidnapping, that’s all we can hope for.”

Smile for the Camera
Officer James Snyder takes a photo of Liam and Rory with the Kidsafe Safety Pup at McDonough Toyota’s fingerprinting event.

These tools could help police react more quickly and accurately when a child goes missing. Operation Kidsafe developed their procedure in conjunction with the FBI and police, using modern all-digital systems to capture fingerprints and photographs of children. If a child is lost or missing, a parent can use the prints and pics to help guide the law enforcement investigation.

To spread the word, McDonough Toyota marketed the event to two local school districts through social media, along with radio and television ads and neighborhood fliers.

They also invited local first responders from the police and fire departments.
Even though the subject of the event was serious, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be part of a weekend of fun. Tedesco brought in food trucks and a DJ from a local radio station, along with a face painting booth, plenty of balloons and coloring.

Party Over Here
Face painter Cindy Thompson helped make McDonough Toyota’s Kidsafe event even more festive. 

“We just want to make it as fun as can be,” Tedesco says. “We’re trying to prevent a problem, but we’re also trying to make sure the kids have a good time while they’re here.”

In all, 200 kids were printed and photographed. Their parents left with just a little more peace of mind, which reinforces McDonough's commitment to the community.

“We just want to do as much as we can,” Tedesco says. “This company is very community oriented. We believe we are here to strengthen our town and surrounding areas.”
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