ICJA, together with Hatzalah Chicago, launched Hugo’s Heroes for the first time in Chicago on December 2. The world-wide initiative is a First-Aid/CPR training program for select ninth-twelth grade students to implement an Internal Emergency Action Plan at school. Initiated by Hatzolah in South Africa, the student-led program empowers students to respond to any of the school’s internal emergencies until the arrival of Hatzalah Chicago. In addition, the students are able to volunteer as a standby first aid service for school gatherings, including athletic program activities. In addition, the students become the eyes and ears of safety in and around the school for any unnoticed potential safety issues so that they can be proactive in assisting our schools to prevent injuries from occurring.

The program is in addition to the senior EMT course with Hatzalah Chicago taught at ICJA for science credit.

“These kids are the bridge between an actual emergency occurring at a school and Hatzalah’s arrival. We need to try and break that gap and these kids are it,” says Alon Crouse, one of the founders of Hugo’s Heroes. Learn more about Hugo’s Heroes in this video.

The first step of the program, which the ICJA students started in early December is to become AHA CPR/AED certified. Next, the students will learn First Aid and how to respond to various emergencies. Hatzalah Chicago volunteers posted the following on Facebook: “We are so proud of our ICJA students who have taken it upon themselves to become licensed EMTs, Hugo’s Heroes, and thereby trained to step out of their comfort zone and step up to help others desperately in need of help. This is the very essence of being an upstanding member of the Jewish Community.There is no greater discipline that we may impart on our children than the knowledge (and training) that empowers them to help others and save lives.”