Think twice

Christopher Gooding
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IODE continues support for Baby Think It Over

(Clockwise, from top left) Cobequid IODE’s Doris McNutt and SHS Healthy Living instructor David Rafuse set the stage for students to learn about what it’s like to have a child in tow, but it falls to the students like Justine Brown and Kennedy Canfield to take the lead role and take care of an electronic baby in the Baby Think It Over program, which the Cobequid IODE sponsors by raising the money to purchase the $1,000 dolls.

SPRINGHILL – Baby, think it over before having a baby.

Students at Springhill High School not only receive the message to think twice and the consequences of teen pregnancy, they get to delve into what life could be like with a little one in tow.

Grade 9 Healthy Living students are offered the chance to take home an electronic baby, funded by the Cobequid IODE, or take part in another project, and the overwhelming majority choose the baby, teacher David Rafuse said.

With an electronic key to soothe the child simulation, students can expect to be up all hours of the night during the weekend they have the unit home.

The experience doesn’t dissuade other students from accepting the challenge, he said.

“Twenty of the 26 students participated in it instead of the alternative,” Rafuse said. “It will go off 90 times over the weekend, and that’s on the medium setting.”

It’s a far cry from what students expect from the cute, electronic baby.

“It’s kind of embarrassing,” Kennedy Canfield said. “Everyone thinks you have a real baby.”

“I lost a lot of sleep,” Justine Brown said. “ It cried all night.”

The Baby Think It Over program has been in the Springhill High School for a number of years now thanks to the support of the Cobequid IODE. Three models have been provided to the school to the tune of $1,000 each, which the local IODE chapter has paid for through fundraisers, education rep Doris McNutt said, but credit for the funding goes to the public. Money raised for the last Baby Think It Over unit was raised by selling $1,000 worth of turkey burgers.

“It’s not our money. It’s the public’s money that helped make this happen,” McNutt said.

Two of the present units need maintenance, so the school is providing only one unit per weekend at a time. In the future, the remaining two are expected to be up and operational again and a new unit could be on the horizon. If so, Rafuse said he wouldn’t mind expanding the scope of the project to really drive home the lesson.

“Personally, I don’t think one weekend actually gives a real portrayal of how your life is changed when you become a parent,” he said. “I’d like to see it be longer.”

Canfield and Brown might not share their teacher’s enthusiasm, but they both agreed the program – as it is – has made them both think twice about parenthood for the time being.

Organizations: Springhill High School, Healthy Living

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