With a name like KidSafe Foundation it’s pretty obvious that we want to keep children safe… We believe that every parent’s greatest wish for their children is to be happy, healthy and safe. But at the end of the day, open any newspaper, turn on the tv, read about it on the internet, read any best selling book, that is SO not the case! Virtually every day there are numerous articles about horrible injustices happening to children. We really want to make a difference in this world and part of KidSafe’s mission is to try to get Prevention Education mandated in elementary schools….Nationwide!
Prevention education – is educating our children, parents and teachers to decrease the incidence of abuse, bullying, peer pressure and online safety issues. In KidSafe we have taught over 14,000 children and have lectured to thousands of parents and teachers but it is not enough. We use developmentally appropriate curriculum to teach life skills that can help children make safer and smarter choices for a myriad of safety issues – we teach this through fun not fear and mostly through role play.
Recently at one of our lectures the principal of the elementary school shared that he has been in public education for 30 years…it got me thinking and completely off target from the lecture and I asked him “How many fire drills do you have a year?”, he said “Once a month – mandated”, I asked, “What happens?” – like a lawyer (I know the answer), he said, “We role play like a real fire is happening.” I asked, “Are the kids scared?” He smiles and says, “No.” He now knows where I am going with this. I asked, “ In your 30 years of being in public education how many fires have you experienced?” (This part is scary and as you see I am not a lawyer because lawyers never ask a question they don’t know the answer to, but I am going with this because I know whatever answer he gives I can still make my point.) His answer, “NONE”.
So this is where my great analogy – my aha moment – comes and I share stats with the audience – 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually exploited by the age of 18. 1 in 5 children are bullied. I have a room full of about 150 parents. You do the math it is not my forte – but would it not help keep our children safe if prevention education was mandated??? Don’t get us wrong – FIRE SAFETY is hugely important, we love that teachers and administrators are trained , we LOVE that children role play fire response every month so they know exactly what to do to be safe, and the fact that every child knows the language of Stop-Drop & Roll – g-d forbid there was a real fire..well that’s just amazing!!
But if you look at the stats as we do, the chance of a child being in a fire is so small – but the chance of a child being abuse, bullied or running into online safety issues is happening as you read this blog – don’t we owe it to our children to give them the safety skills they need to be the first line of defense in their own safety? Don’t children deserve to know exactly what to do when faced with the safety issues they are dealing with at the present moment? If you agree with us…and if you read this far we think you do – let’s join together and write our politicians and get prevention education mandated nationwide.
Sally Berenzweig, M.Ed, MA
Personal Safety Educator
Cherie Benjoseph MSW LCSW
Personal Safety Educator