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By RACHEL BRANT
While families and friends spent Saturday shopping at Kitsap Mall, local teenagers were learning life-saving skills and taking tests.
The American Red Cross certified more than 300 teenagers Saturday at CPR Saturday for Teens at Kitsap Mall. The day-long event drew a record crowd of teenagers interested in learning how to save lives.
Every single session has been full since 8 oclock this morning, said Jackie Fojtik, American Red Cross youth programs manager for the West Sound Service Center. Theyve been waiting outside the door for us. Its been nonstop all day.
Teenagers ages 12 to 18 attended one of six sessions Saturday where they watched a video and received hands-on training and instruction. About 40 American Red Cross volunteers helped run the event and show teenagers CPR techniques on mannequins in front of JCPenney.
Were just really fortunate because we have a lot of people who could be doing something else on a Saturday but they choose to come here, Fojtik said.
Although teenagers were asked to pre-register for the event, Fojtik said many teenagers registered on-site, but they didnt have to turn anyone away.
Fortunately we had the space and volunteers to accommodate, she said.
Patrick Murphy, 15, of Port Orchard, attended CPR Saturday for the first time. He saw a flyer for the event at a Boy Scout meeting and decided to get trained and certified.
Murphy learned some CPR and first aid techniques through the Boy Scouts, but this was his first time becoming officially certified.
I think it makes me a little more confident, Murphy said. It doesnt hurt to review.
Murphy said CPR Saturday was really informative and he says he feels good being CPR certified. He plans to attend next year and encourage friends to get certified at the American Red Cross event as well.
I think the next time they have a CPR Saturday Ill encourage more people in my Boy Scout group to come, Murphy said.
Fojtik said hosting the event at Kitsap Mall is great for everyone involved. She added that everyone knows how to get to the mall and parents can shop while their teenagers complete training.
Kitsap Mall has been a great partner with this, Fojtik said. (Teenagers and their families) can shop and eat and celebrate their success.
Megan Peterson, 14, became re-certified at CPR Saturday. The Port Orchard teenager got CPR-certified at last years American Red Cross event and brought along a few friends this year.
The last time I came it was really informative, Peterson said. I knew what I was doing and it was pretty fun. It was actually kind of cool knowing you could save someones life.
Peterson said the volunteers explained the techniques clearly and she learned a lot at CPR Saturday.
I like that they explain everything, what youre supposed to do and why youre doing it, she said. They just explain everything.
Peterson has never needed to use CPR, but said that is a good thing. She plans to attend CPR Saturday next year to get re-certified and hopes more teenagers become certified to save lives.
It feels good knowing you can help somebody if necessary, she said.