The top four causes of childhood deaths are preventable. And Daphne Greenlee is on the front lines providing education to save those lives.
As coordinator of Safe Kids Springfield and manager of the Mercy Hospital Springfield Injury Prevention Center, Greenlee is all about preventive maintenance. When she arrived in her role in 2002, she began assessing local needs lacking attention.
“I realized that injury prevention was a relatively undeveloped field at the grassroots level in our state,” she says. “The top four leading causes of death for children were preventable injuries – motor vehicle crashes, fire/burns, drowning and suffocation.”
Since joining the organization which provides community education on child safety, Greenlee grew the organization’s reach from one county to its current 10. At the 2007 Safe Kids Worldwide National Conference, Safe Kids Springfield was named Local Coalition of the Year.
“This would not have been possible without the coalition building over the five previous years and the community’s dedication to child safety issues,” Greenlee says.
In 2013, Greenlee also was recognized personally by Safe Kids Worldwide as the Outstanding Local Coalition Coordinator. Gaining recognition for successful programs, Greenlee was asked to be a mentor to other Missouri coalitions.
Programs developed by Safe Kids Springfield are used by over 200 businesses, health care organizations, fire and police departments and nonprofits across southwest Missouri, as well as other Safe Kids chapters across the country.
KY3 Inc. Consumer Reporter Ashley Reynolds says she also relies on Greenlee as a trusted resource when reporting on local events regarding child safety.
“We’ll never know how many families are safer because of her and how many of those families pass on those lessons to their kids,” Reynolds says. “Folks in the Ozarks know what Safe Kids is all about because of Greenlee’s hard work.”
Greenlee also is on Safe Kids’ Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor Team, which trains personnel for car seat inspection stations.
“This mentoring process helps ensure strong technicians, strong inspection stations and, most importantly, safe children,” she says.
Making Missouri safer for children, Greenlee has promoted bills regarding child passenger safety laws, personal flotation device age regulations and child care provider training requirements.
“The key to this legislation is awareness of the risks that children may face and education for parents to prevent serious injuries and fatalities from occurring,” she says.
Greenlee has a lot of work on her plate, which requires a trustworthy team for the tasks. She is purposeful to surround herself with people who also are mission oriented.
“Those that develop a passion for your mission and the services you provide will be loyal to the cause,” she says.
At the end of the day, Greenlee remembers the stories of families impacted by her team’s work and it fuels their fire.
“I try to keep the face of our mission at the forefront,” she says. “It’s about the individual family members, and people we know and work with that drive us to pursue our passion.”
The Forward SGF comprehensive plan was born from the input of residents, and one message that came through loud and clear was their desire for connection.