AUGUSTA, Ga. – If there’s one message Rene Hopkins wants you to remember, it’s this one: “The greatest gift you can give a child is a safe environment.” Hopkins, Coordinator for Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by Children’s Hospital of Georgia, has been named the Safe Kids Coalition Coordinator of the Year for 2013 by Safe Kids Georgia.
“Rene has passion and commitment for children and their safety, and it shows in everything she does,” said Kimberly D. Basso, Director of Pediatric Patient Care Services at Children’s Hospital of Georgia. “Under Rene’s direction, the coalition has developed several effective programs aimed at reducing childhood injuries in the Augusta area. She is truly deserving of this award.”
Though she only has an annual operating budget of about $13,000, Hopkins is able to distribute more than $60,000 in child safety products to the community each year because of her ability to secure grants, donations, and community partnerships.
A registered nurse educator, Hopkins is responsible for establishing and maintaining childhood injury prevention programs through grant writing, research and data collection, community partnerships, education, legislation advocacy, and distribution of safety equipment. She coordinates more than a dozen monthly Safe Kids programs to educate parents and caregivers, including Safe Sitter, Car Seat Classes, Youth Firesetters Prevention Intervention, and Cribs for Kids.
In addition, Hopkins provides Child Passenger Safety Certification training for local law enforcement personnel, teaches early childhood development at local colleges, and organizes the annual Babypalooza baby safety expo.
Hopkins has been CHOG’s Safe Kids Coordinator since 2001. Previous positions include assistant pediatric nurse manager, pediatric transport nurse, and pediatric intensive care nurse.
She has been widely published in local, regional, and national media on child safety topics and is a frequent conference speaker and presenter. Hopkins is the recipient of several other awards and recognition, including the 1997 Medical College of Georgia Dedication to Excellence award, the 1998 Georgia Nurses Association Spirit and Commitment Award, and the 2010 Georgia Poison Prevention Award.
Safe Kids Greater Augusta, led by Children’s Hospital of Georgia, works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Greater Augusta is a member of the Safe Kids USA and Safe Kids Georgia network. To find out more about local Safe Kids programs, call 706-721-7606, or visit grhealth.org/safekids.