BY NATE SMELLE
There are certain occupations that are essential to the well-being of citizens in every municipality. One such role crucial to public safety in all communities is that of the crossing guard. As the Town’s bylaw enforcement officer, Craig Genesse understands how valuable these individuals are to the people of Pelham.
“There is nothing more important than the safety and security of our children,” he said.
“This is an absolutely vital role in our community and in any community.”
Genesse said the Town of Pelham is currently looking for two part-time crossing guards to be placed on reserve. Applicants need to have adequate vision and hearing levels and the agility to react to potential hazards, he said. Candidates should also possess the ability to communicate effectively and walk with children. Reserve guards also must be available to work limited hours and with short notice, and be able to arrive at point of duty for specified duty time.
“We are in very urgent need of reserve guards to fill in for full-time guards when they get sick or go away on vacation,” said Genesse.
“The guards that are working for the Town are very dedicated individuals, and they feel very strongly about giving back to the community.”
According to Genesse, full-time crossing guards earn an average annual salary of $3,000 to $4,000 and reserve guards often move up the ranks once the full-timers retire or move from the area.
“It’s not what you would consider a large income, so the majority of our guards don’t do it for the money. They do it to help fulfill the need in the community,” he said.
“Crossing guards serve an important purpose, while having the unique opportunity to engage with members of the public of all ages.”
For nearly 18 years, Violet Steingart has worked as a crossing guard on Haist Street in front of A.K. Wigg Public School. Spending time with the kids is always rewarding, she said. Every day Violet said she comes home with a new story about something nice the kids or their parents have done for her or for others.
“The bonding you have with the kids and the parents is just amazing,” said Steingart.
“A lot of the kids will come by to visit even after they go off to high school or university. It’s so fulfilling. How can you go wrong having fun with kids for an hour a day and getting paid for it?”
Though being a crossing guard comes with a great deal of responsibility, Steingart said there is no reason for people who are interested in applying for the position to be intimidated, because they are given full training, both in class and in the field. The Town also provides them with all the necessary equipment, including protective clothing and footwear.
“The Town of Pelham is great,” she said.
“If there is ever a problem, all I do is call Craig and he looks after it right away. They are always checking in on us to make sure we are okay, and that our shoes or boots are in good condition. We are definitely well looked after.”
The two crossing guard positions with the Town are available on a casual on-call basis, paying an hourly wage of $16.40. Reserve guards tend to have advanced notice for their shifts, making the role an easy fit for most schedules.
Resumes must be submitted directly through the Town of Pelham website at www.pelham.ca, and be addressed to Pelham’s director of human resources, Paula Gilbert. For more information on the position contact bylaw enforcement officer Craig Genesse at [email protected], or by phone at 905-892-2607, ext. 204.