Read our interview from BizzieMommy.com

Mom Entrepreneur:Sally Berenzweig & Cherie Benjoseph
Business:KidSafe Foundation
Twitter:@KidSafeMoms

KidSafe Foundation provides prevention education to children, parents, teachers and counselors to prevent children from abuse, abduction, bullying and online safety issues. We visit pre & elementary schools and through an 8 week program teach children personal safety life skills through developmentally appropriate curriculum we created – using role play, song, art, discussion and books (we have coauthored two children’s books that we use in our program). Our mission is to empower children with prevention education life skills to become the first line of defense in their own safety. We believe in an integrated approach – with that said we provide a parent seminar, a teacher in-service workshop and camp counselor training. KidSafe Foundation is a nonprofit that was created by Sally Berenzwieg and business partner Cherie Benjoseph.

What inspired you to start your business?

Cherie and I were inspired from two very different events that affected our lives:

Cherie a LCSW working in a middle school has a student come to her with a Dear Abby type letter telling her that her Step father is sexually abusing her. This student showed none of the typical signs of a child in need. The step father was Copresident of the PTA – he went to jail after a long process – the student told Cherie she came forward because he started showing interest in her 7 year old sister (the same age she was when the abuse started) Cherie realized that she wanted to do preventative education instead of reactive education. That children deserve to know they have rights to keep their bodies safe – a version of KidSafe was born…she came to Florida and taught my son at his preschool which is how we met.

My (Sally’s) story – I was a stay at home mom, my son was almost 4 and we had a trusted babysitter with excellent credentials – she didn’t watch my child properly and he walked out of the house and down and across a few streets before being found by a man that was a stranger to him..he was crying the man asked what are you doing? he said looking for my sitter..the man said where do you live? my son told the stranger our street address..the man said “get in my car and I will drive around until we find your house” so my son got in the car with the stranger and thankfully he was a good person and they drove around until my son pointed out our home and he was home safe and sound. My husband and I were beside ourselves and I went looking for a life skills program for our family to go through – I was on the board of my preschool and called the Director told her what happened and she brought Cherie to our school – after the parent seminar I called her and said I believe every child and parent needs this education (after many meetings) we worked together and created KidSafe.

How long have you been in business?

We have been in business for 6 years and became a 501c3 nonprofit in May.

What did you do in your past work life?

I (Sally) have a Master in Elementary Education and a Master in Counseling Psychology – I am a former Psychotherapist and treated women who had been physically and sexually abused.

Cherie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and had worked as MSW and guidance counselor for many years prior to KidSafe

Describe your ideal workday.

Teaching KidSafe – and having each of our 6 teachers at different schools teaching.

What have been some of your major successes?

Curriculum approved by the Palm Beach County Department of Safe Schools – Every new school we sign up – we have not done any marketing it is all word of mouth – so every school that brings us is a major success. We have taught over 12,000 children and lectured to thousands of parents and teachers.

We have received letters from parents – telling us of life changing experience after our programs – with children coming forward and breaking cycle of silence to tell that they have been abused. Becoming a 501c3 nonprofit to fundraiser and grant write to bring our program to more communities.

What have been some of your major challenges?

The major challenge is funding…and scheduling our program.

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?

Knowing our program can save a child’s life.

Do you have a motivational quote?

I don’t know if we have a quote – Be Educated…Be Informed..Be KidSafe we sign off every correspondence with Working Together to Keep KidSafe!!! –

If there was one piece of advice you could give to your children about running a successful business, what would it be?

Love what you do – be passionate about what you do, give back to the community and everything else will follow.

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?

We (KidSafe Teachers) are all working moms – we work during the school day so we can be home after school with our children.

Do you have a favorite business tool and/or resource?

We use twitter, Facebook, constant contact

What is next for your business?

Our next book – My Body is Special and Belongs To ME! is in the publishing process and hope it will be out by December 2010

We have some huge things coming up….can’t talk about it yet – but stay tuned because it is going to be big!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Give us your two cents sales pitch.

95% of abuse and exploitation of children is preventable through education – Our children deserve the right to be educated to be the first line of defense in their own safety!! –

Worth way more than two cents

Testimonials

"Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be included in the KidSafe program. I highly recommend this program to other schools. We hope that we will be given the same opportunity for our Kindergarten and 2nd grade students to be a part of this wonderful program during the 2016-2017 school year."

Mrs. Keelyn Meselsohn 2nd Grade Teacher/Team Leader Tradewinds Elementary School

"The Safe and Smart Series Book My Body Is Special and Belongs To Me is kept in my middle school clinic and has been a tool that has opened many conversations for me between students that have experienced a difficult situation and were unable to talk about it. Through the illustrations and nonjudgmental verbiage the author has allowed kids permission to share their feelings about invasion of their personal space. Thank you so much."

Nurse Connie, PBC School Nurse 6.8.2016

"I'm so grateful that KidSafe has partnered with my daughter's school.  I learned so much in the parent training--how to recognize potential sexual predator behavior; how to quiz my child about what they would do in different scenarios; and how to explain safe and unsafe touch.  In addition, knowing that my daughter is receiving weekly trainings on these topics gives me great peace of mind.  I have confidence that I can reinforce what she is learning in school in order to prevent her from ever being a victim of such a heinous crime.  Thank you KidSafe for your dedication to protecting our communities' most vulnerable citizens."

Christina Kranick

“It was a normal Saturday and I was at the rink with my 7 and 8 year old. My son asked me if he could use the Men’s Restroom by himself.  Without hesitation, my daughter said,  Absolutely not! I was in KidSafe today and you cannot go to the restroom alone.  It is very important that Mommy is with you.. with us.   I was so proud of my little girl!  We are so blessed to have Debbie Miller at our school teaching our children the importance of safety. Many thanks to you all!  Your program and instruction is absolutely amazing.  Keep up the great work!"  

Tara Henley Admissions Assistant, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and School, Ft. Lauderdale

I am a parent of two Pine Crest children and I attended your program on Monday night. I just wanted to thank you so very much for the very informative seminar. As hard as it was to hear all of those things, it was very needed. We were thrilled that you were able to come and share that very important information with us and our children. So again...thank you.

Elisa Aronberg

Today’s training was awesome! It was very informative. Sally was a very good resource, she motivated us a lot! We want to pass on this information to parents, teachers and students! Thank you for offering workshops like this. These are tools we use to continue serving our children and families.

Participant from Children’s Services Council of Broward Seminar

To Top