BERLIN — A new series of programs conducted by Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services (WYFCS) will seek to prepare children for a wide variety of potentially dangerous situations.

Dubbed “Safety Training For Kids,” the program will focus on giving children tools to make “safe choices” while also providing complimentary education for parents.

According to WYFCS Youth Coordinator Melanie Windsor, it’s crucial that families discuss details when it comes to any possible scenarios where a child might be confronted by a stranger.

“It is important for families, especially children, to have open conversations about the potential dangers they may encounter,” she said. “Often children may be presented with a situation where they are too trusting of a stranger, or they may feel uneasy around a stranger, but want to be polite and comply with what the stranger is doing or saying. Our hope is that children will stop, think, and react appropriately when they are in these types of situations. Education is the key to this type of awareness.”

Led by Sheriff’s Deputy Dale Trotter, the safety training program is set to be one of several “informational nights” WYFCS has planned for parents and children. Besides the hands-on experience offered by Trotter, tips on making safe choices will be taken directly from the National Safety Council and cover subjects like speaking to a stranger alone and practical Internet awareness.

“Children are growing up in a digital age that their parents did not necessarily experience as a child,” said Windsor. “We are hoping to encourage the necessary dialogue between children and the adults in their lives regarding the online world.”

According to Windsor, if the first course proves popular WYFCS will turn it into a regular series of events.

During the Berlin Mayor and Council meeting Monday, Councilwoman Lisa Hall encouraged attendance by all families in town and the surrounding area.

“It’s a very important program … it’s a very good thing for children to learn about safety in their community and around them so it’s a very good resource and it’s at no charge to the community and all children and their parents are invited,” she said.

The program will take place March 21 from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Ray room at WYFCS. Interested families should RSVP to Windsor at 410-641-4598 or [email protected].