MaryangelaAs we head into the seemingly fleeting but typically glorious Wisconsin summertime, we leave you with a story that is not only inspirational but carries with it a good safety reminder for parents and grandparents.

Meet the Prom family, members of St. Francis Borgia Parish, Cedarburg, on Page 6. A typical family with three young and active boys, their faith was tested last July when middle son, Jonah, suffered a life-threatening head injury while skateboarding at his grandparents’ summer home.

The accident happened in an instant but it has forever changed the Prom family’s lives and has made them fierce advocates for helmet safety.

On a faith level, their experiences offer a wonderfully inspirational story showing how God is present at the most challenging times of life. On a practical level, it’s a great reminder for the use of helmets when bike riding, skateboarding or engaging in any activity involving speed and wheels.

Jonah’s injury was much like the one that recently claimed actress Natasha Richardson’s life as both he and Richardson were seemingly OK after a blow to the head. But in each case, internal injuries could be fatal and time – and medical attention – were of the essence.

Not only have the Prom family become outspoken advocates for the use of helmets, they have planned a community program where gift certificates will be presented to kids who are “caught” wearing them.

Hopefully, the lessons they learned will resonate with other families with youngsters.

It had an immediate impact on me. The day I first read their story, I went home to find our 9-year-old daughter Alicia and her friend Alena zipping around the driveway on a stool with wheels. After initially greeting the girls, I headed into the house, but quickly backtracked.

Concrete, wheels, images of Jonah Prom flashed through my mind.

“Where are your helmets, girls?” I asked.

Like the Prom family, and I suspect many others, as the girls have gotten older, we’ve gotten a bit lax on our rules regarding helmets while biking. Their story, however, was a clear reminder that a lax attitude can come with a steep price.

Also in this issue, take note of two contests we’re running.

We’re accepting entries into our 2009 cover photo contest, so start gathering photos of the adorable children in your life. Entries will be accepted by mail or online through Friday, Sept. 4. Complete contest details at left.

Also, thanks to the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee College for Kids program, we have scholarships to offer for courses at UWM for kids and teens this summer. In conjunction with the Year of the Priest, which begins in June, we are asking readers to tell us about the special, inspirational priests in their lives. Parents, grandparents, we welcome your stories too! See below for complete details.

Have a wonderful summer!