Did you know that Saint Mary’s is only one of almost 900 Safe Sitter teaching sites in all 50 states and England? Each year the entire Safe Sitter organization names one “hero” as Sitter of the Year. This year’s hero is Noele, a teenager who used abdominal thrusts she learned in class to save the life of her four-year old sister, MacKenzie, who was choking.

While babysitting Mackenzie, Noele left the room to get a drink to go along with her breakfast when she heard Mackenzie coughing. “By the time I got back, Mackenzie had stopped coughing and acted like she was gagging,” recalls Noele. “She could not talk. Her face was turning red and she put her hands on her throat. I made her stand up, got behind her, and did the Heimlich like I learned in class! The food popped out and Mackenzie started crying. It was not until afterwards that I realized how scared I really was — I just did it! Then I called my mom!”