Chris Hansen To Be honored At KidSafe’s 7th Annual Gala 3/12/16

    “KidSafe is beyond excited to honor Chris Hansen as KidSafe Foundation’s “Child Advocate of the Year” at our 7th annual gala. Chris has done tremendous work to keep children safe online and in the real world. Years ago we read Chris’s book “To Catch a Predator” and credit him with helping us develop […]

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 BOCA RATON, FL (December 15, 2017) -- KidSafe Foundation today announced that it has cancelled the appearance of NFL Super Bowl Champion Heath Evans as keynote speaker for its March 10, 2018 “Shine the Light” Gala.  KidSafe Foundation is a non-profit organization that focuses on prevention education, a key aspect to protecting children from child sexual abuse, bullying, and internet exploitation. To carry out its mission, KidSafe has created comprehensive safety programs and materials to help empower children in a variety of circumstantial situations. KidSafe believes the most effective way to make a significant difference is through the power of knowledge, and that educating children, their parents, professionals and volunteers, is crucial in making communities safer for our children.  “The primary mission of our Gala is to help prevent sexual abuse of children and raise awareness of the dangers of bullying and Internet exploitation,” said Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA, co-founder & Executive Director KidSafe Foundation.  “In light of recent allegations by a former colleague of Heath Evans, we felt it best to cancel his speaking appearance so as to not distract from our message and mission.  We are currently researching alternative speakers and hope to have an announcement soon.”   About KidSafe Foundation KidSafe Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect children by preventing child sexual abuse, bullying and Internet exploitation through comprehensive education for children, parents, and professionals.  For more information, visit http://kidsafefoundation.org.

KidSafe Foundation Cancels Appearance of Heath Evans at March 10th Gala

  Today we’d like to introduce you to Sally Berenzweig. Twelve years ago, Sallys 3-year-old son walked out of the house and wandered through the neighborhood – barefoot and crying – before a stranger stopped, put the toddler in his car, and drove around looking for the boy’s home. The babysitter never noticed he was gone. “We trusted her,” said Sally. “She was 24 years old, a certified swim instructor, preschool teacher, and part-time nursing student. You don’t get better credentials than that.” For Sally’s family, the ending was happy, thanks to a Good Samaritan. But the life-changing incident inspired her to bring a safety program to her son’s preschool that other families, along with hers, could benefit from. That’s how she met Cherie Benjoseph, a licensed clinical social worker, and former middle school guidance counselor, who started giving safety seminars to mom’s groups after one of her students disclosed she’d been abused by her stepdad, also the PTA vice president. Cherie was shocked – not by the claim itself – but that this student didn’t show the textbook signs of abuse. It made her realize there was a need in the community for better awareness. Protecting Children Against Predators “After I heard Cherie speak, I approached her and asked, ‘Why isn’t every parent and child getting this program? Let’s do something here,’” said Sally. Her career prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom was a psychotherapist to physically and sexually abused children and women, so she had motivation on both personal and professional levels to educate and make a difference. The two women started meeting at local Starbucks shops, researching ways to keep kids safe, which led to a joint passion in 2009: co-founding KidSafe Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides education to children and adults to prevent child sexual abuse, bullying and Internet exploitation. Sobering Statistics Sally said that even with her professional training, she didn’t realize the severe epidemic of sexual abuse until she dug into the numbers: One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually exploited before the age of 18. Nine out of 10 times a child will be harmed by someone they know. 68 percent of the time the offender is a family member. “Not everyone reports abuse,” she said, “so sadly the numbers are actually higher.” If there’s a bright side, here’s one: With education, 95 percent of abuse and exploitation can be prevented. And that’s where KidSafe Foundation is making a difference, one classroom at a time. KidSafe’s eight-week program for children is centered on role play, art, discussion, and lessons from the co-founders’ award-winning children books. The concept is to keep it fun and teach children tactics for making smart choices. “We share empowerment skills and use a multilayer approach that incorporates education programs for parents, teachers and all professionals working with children. It’s important that everyone’s speaking the same language of safety,” said Sally. Additionally, KidSafe has just launched an eLearning version of their sexual abuse prevention training for Educators and is about to come out with KidSafe for Parents – a book which will be in English, Spanish & Creole sharing best practices for keeping children safe. Since KidSafe’s inception, they have taught over 55,000 children and educated over 33,000 adults. While quite an impact there is much more work to be done. Every child deserves the right to be safe, every adult must be educated to be the first line of defense in a child’s safety. With this passion to keep children safe, KidSafe is training the health care workforce in sexual abuse prevention, this includes Doctors, Nurses, Social Workers and the future health care workforce bringing their training to Broward College and Florida Atlantic University. We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you? KidSafe has been lucky to grow organically = virtually through word of mouth at the beginning. For the past 8 years, we have been an approved program in Broward & Palm Beach County School Districts which has been a great partnership for the safety of children. Additionally, KidSafe Foundation co-founders are training cadres at both Childrens Services Council of Broward County and Children’s Service Council of Palm Beach County. KidSafe has now grown to a full-time staff of 4, part-time staff of 18 and 9 Board of Directors and 4 Advisory Board members. So, as you know, we’re impressed with KidSafe Foundation – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others. KidSafe Foundation protects the children of South Florida from child sexual abuse, bullying and online exploitation through comprehensive prevention education for children, parents, professionals and other caring adults. Our program empowers children by giving them a strong voice with which to defend themselves and teaches the parents, teachers, and the professionals in their lives how to keep them safe. KidSafe’s educational programs create the first line of defense to prevent child sexual abuse and exploitation. Cofounders, Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW, developed the KidSafe curriculum. Both are recognized child safety experts, mental health professionals, educators, authors, public speakers, and moms with over 50 years of combined experience. KidSafe’s educational philosophy is backed by years of safety instruction, best practices and up to date research. The Program/Need: Child sexual abuse and exploitation are among the most prevalent health concerns facing our children today. While most cases of child sexual abuse are never reported, statistics show that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually exploited before age eighteen. The life-long effects of child sexual abuse are devastatingly self-destructive and include depression, suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, increased school dropout rate, teen pregnancy, and domestic violence. The impact of child maltreatment is profound and enormous. A single incident affects the victim not only today but quite often tomorrow and beyond as well. That incident also reverberates through families and across institutions—including medical and mental health resources, law enforcement and judicial systems, public social services, and nonprofit helping agencies— as they respond to the incident and support the victim in the aftermath. The total lifetime estimated financial costs associated with just one year of confirmed cases of child maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, and neglect) is approximately $124 billion, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in Child Abuse and Neglect, The International Journal. KidSafe’s education programs train children, parents, educators, and professionals to prevent recognize, respond and report abuse. KidSafe Foundation has served more than 55,000 children and 33,000 adults in Florida. This evidenced-based model has proven effectiveness in developing skills needed for prevention. Our results include teachers (95%) developing the ability to recognize and identify emotional, behavioral and physical signs of abuse as well as, recognizing “red flag” and grooming behaviors. Parents (90%) increasing their skills and ability to protect their children through gaining knowledge and confidence, learning personal safety” skills to integrate into everyday parenting, and improving their skills for having an open dialogue with their children. Most importantly, children (92%) learning about safe and unsafe touch, learning the language to promote personal safety and (97%) demonstrating an ability to use their voice to protect themselves. PROGRAMS: 1.“ KidSafe for Kids” 8-week curriculum designed for children in grades PreK4 – 5th grade. Children learn important safety skills through fun, not fear, using developmentally appropriate techniques such as role play, song, art, discussion and the foundation’s two award-winning children’s books; “My Body is Special and Belongs to Me!” and “Jack Teaches his Friends to be KidSafe!” (books available in English, Spanish & Creole) 2. KidSafe Parent Seminars – increase awareness, deliver knowledge and provide skills to parents to keep kids safe, educate about; red flag behaviors of adults, recognize red flag behaviors of children in need, reporting procedures, strategies for communication with children and teach the KidSafe Language of Safety. 3. KidSafe Teacher Workshop- Online Training -how to recognize children at risk for abuse, professional protocol, exact mandated reporting procedures and how to respond to disclosure. KidSafe educates on how to reinforce the use of KidSafe Prevention skills at school, and much more. This professional development seminar empowers teachers with awareness and skills which can be integrated into their everyday classroom management to best keep children safe. Research strongly demonstrates that school-based education is key to successfully training children, parents, educators, school staff and professionals about sexual abuse prevention and protection. With funding, we will be able to increase this number substantially by educating students, teachers, and parents. KidSafe’s active and interactive education techniques are highly effective in empowering children that they have the right to be safe, how to use their voice to keep themselves safe and how to access help when needed from a trusted adult. Most teachers and administrators lack formal training in recognizing, responding and reporting child sexual abuse. This education will have a life-long impact, stretching over entire careers, and protecting thousands of children from abuse. The education we provide empowers educators and other professionals to assume their roles as advocates, prevention specialists, and mandatory reporters. No one else is providing the same service delivery model as the KidSafe Program. KidSafe is a one-of-a-kind, research-based prevention program that has established “best practices” in the field of child sexual abuse and exploitation prevention. Our program is uniquely designed to provide a multi-tiered service delivery approach reaching children, parents, teachers, and child-serving agencies. As leaders in this industry, we have been fortunate to be able to partner with many child-serving organizations in our community and across the country who join us in the mission to help stop child sexual abuse. Most of these agencies provide services to address the consequences to children and families who have experienced sexual abuse and to prevent additional incidents of abuse. Others educate on the theory and practice of prevention but do not deliver the services themselves. Supporting the KidSafe Program model ensures two things (1) that these much-needed prevention services are able to directly reach children and those who protect them before trauma happens, (2) the life-changing skills are taught by trained, certified KidSafe instructors to ensure quality reliable application of the program. So, what’s next? Any big plans? Part of KidSafe’s Strategic plans for growth is to take all of their educational training for adults and create an eLearn version – this would be for parents, health care workforce, mentors, volunteers and camp counselors. Pricing:

  • $25 per student for 8 weeks of prevention education
  • $28.00 for a set of award-winning children’s safety books
  • $750 for sexual abuse prevention training to adults
Contact Info:   Click Voyagemia.com for the full story

Meet Sally Berenzweig of KidSafe Foundation in Broward and Palm Beach

Stacy Acker

In 1992, I graduated from The University of Miami with a Bachelors of Science in Speech Communication and a Double Major in Sociology. I then attended and graduated from Nova Southeastern University with a Masters Degree in Alternative Dispute Resolution and a concentration in Conflict Resolution. I soon realized that Real Estate suited my needs, was always a passion and immediately went to school and earned my Florida Real Estate License, of which I have been a Realtor ever since.  Having a background in negotiation, conflict resolution and speech communication skills, I thought a career in real estate would make better use of my skills.  In the meantime, I got married and had two boys, now 14 and 17.  Juggling a full time career and being a full time Mom, has kept me on my toes and aware of the importance of KidSafe.  So much so that I wanted to be a part of such a wonderful, necessary cause and help spread the importance of KidSafe in our schools and our communities. I am honored, humbled and excited to be on the board and help raise awareness and funds to support the education KidSafe shares with our community.  I would love to help KidSafe grow, to many areas and locations, so that children and their families could benefit from such necessary information.  I am blessed and thankful that my children were afforded the experience and knowledge that KidSafe provided.

Nicole Rosenblum

 BOCA RATON, FL – October 24, 2017 - KidSafe Foundation, a South Florida 501(c)3 nonprofit that helps the community with education and tools to keep children safe, has appointed Nicole Rosenblum to its board of directors effective immediately. KidSafe Foundation board of directors consist of thirteen members, made up of four executive members, four board members and five advisory board members who work on behalf of the foundation to provide preventative education to children and adults and empowering them with skills that create a safe society free from sexual abuse, bullying and internet exploitation. Rosenblum holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Speech Communication with a double major in Sociology from the University of Miami, along with her Master’s Degree in Alternative Dispute Resolution with a concentration in Conflict Resolution from Nova Southeastern University. A successful realtor of many years and a mom of two boys, 14 and 17, Rosenblum understands the value of the information and service that KidSafe provides to the community. “I am honored, humbled and excited to join the KidSafe Foundation board and help raise awareness and funds to support the education KidSafe shares with ort community, said Nicole Rosenblum, “I would love to help KidSafe grow, to more areas and locations, so that children and their families could benefit from such crucial information.” Nicole brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, along with a new perspective for us” said Peter Oldbury, KidSafe Foundation Board Chairman, “She will be a valuable addition as we continue to grow and work towards keeping the children of our community safe. Her background, expertise and passion for keeping children safe will be an incredible asset for KidSafe.”   About KidSafe Foundation: KidSafe Foundation protects children by preventing child sexual abuse, bullying and online exploitation through comprehensive education for children, parents, and professionals. For more information on this organization’s efforts, make a donation, or get involved, visit their website at www.kidsafefoundation.org or call 855-844-SAFE.

KIDSAFE FOUNDATION APPOINTS NICOLE ROSENBLUM, TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS

BOCA RATON, FL – August 7, 2017 - KidSafe Foundation, a South Florida 501(c)3 nonprofit that helps the community with education and tools to keep children safe, has appointed Stacy Acker to its board of directors effective immediately. KidSafe Foundation board of directors consist of nine members, made up of four executive members, five board members and four advisory board members who work on behalf of the foundation to provide preventative education to children and adults and empowering them with skills that create a safe society free from sexual abuse, bullying and internet exploitation.  “Attending and supporting KidSafe Foundation events over the last few years has allowed me to witness firsthand the broadening reach of its important mission, said Stacy Acker, “I am both honored and excited to join the KidSafe Board of Directors and participate in the continuing growth of this special organization. With an eye toward raising community awareness, support, and commitment, I look forward to getting started!” Stacy brings a wealth of experience in education, business and philanthropy to our organization along side of her years of her direct involvement,” said Peter Oldbury, KidSafe Foundation Board Chairman, “She will be a valuable addition as we continue to grow and work towards keeping the children of our community safe. Her background, knowledge, expertise and passion for keeping children safe will be an incredible asset for KidSafe.”   # # #   About KidSafe Foundation: KidSafe Foundation protects children by preventing child sexual abuse, bullying and online exploitation through comprehensive education for children, parents, and professionals. For more information on this organization’s efforts, make a donation, or get involved, visit their website at www.kidsafefoundation.org or call (561) 715-1077.

KIDSAFE FOUNDATION APPOINTS STACY ACKER, TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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Mission:

Our mission is to provide preventive education to children and adults, empowering them with skills that create a safe society free from sexual abuse, bullying, and internet exploitation.

Overview:

KidSafe Foundation. Founded in 2009 as a 501c3 nonprofit to protect children from child sexual abuse, bullying and internet exploitation through comprehensive education to children, parents, educators, and professionals. With incidents of child sexual abuse and exploitation on the rise, we were intent on creating a meaningful practical method of prevention where none existed.  KidSafe programs empowers children by giving them a strong voice with which to defend themselves, and teaches the parents, teachers, and the professionals in their lives how to keep them safe. KidSafe’s educational programs create a first line of defense to prevent child sexual abuse and exploitation. Cofounders, Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW, developed the KidSafe curriculum.  Both are recognized child safety experts, mental health professionals, educators, authors, public speakers, and moms with over 50 years of combined experience. KidSafe’s educational philosophy is backed by years of safety instruction, best practices and up to date research.

 

PROGRAMS:

1.“KidSafe for Kids” –an 8-week curriculum designed for children in grades PreK4 – 5th grade. Children learn important safety skills through fun not fear, using developmentally appropriate techniques such as role play, song, art, discussion and the foundation’s two award winning children’s books; “My Body is Special and Belongs to Me!” and “Jack Teaches his Friends to be KidSafe!” (books available in English, Spanish & Creole) 

2.KidSafe Parent Seminars - increase awareness, deliver knowledge and provide skills to parents to keep kids safe, educate about; red flag behaviors of adults, recognize red flag behaviors of children in need, reporting procedures, strategies for communication with children and teach the KidSafe Language of Safety. This seminar provides the tools to talk to children about sensitive topics in a comfortable natural manner. 

3.KidSafe Teacher Workshop- Online Training -how to recognize children at risk for abuse, professional protocol, exact mandated reporting procedures and how to respond to disclosure. KidSafe educates on how to reinforce the use of KidSafe Prevention skills at school, and much more. This professional development seminar empowers teachers with awareness and skills which can be integrated into their everyday classroom management to best keep children safe.

Research strongly demonstrates that school-based education is key to successfully training children, parents, educators, school staff and professionals about sexual abuse prevention and protection.  KidSafe’s active and interactive education techniques are highly effective in empowering children that they have the right to be safe, how to use their voice to keep themselves safe and how to access help when needed from a trusted adult. Most teachers and administrators lack formal training in recognizing, responding and reporting child sexual abuse. KidSafe education has life-long impact, stretching over entire careers, and protecting thousands of children from abuse. The education we provide empowers educators and other professionals to assume their roles as advocates, prevention specialists, and mandatory reporters

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Mission Statement

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Fort Lauderdale, FL, May, 19, 2017. Over $16,000 was raised for the KidSafe Foundation during the Great Give of Palm Beach County, a single day of fundraising efforts for Palm Beach County 501c3 nonprofit organizations.  KidSafe Foundation employees, Board Members and volunteers were hosted at the headquarters of Hotwire Communications Technology Center.  A team of dedicated Hotwire employees participated, personally supporting KidSafe during this 24 hour giving campaign. Hotwire Communications is on the front lines in the fight to keep kids safe online, one of the ultimate goals of the KidSafe Foundation. As a provider of gigabit Internet through Fision Fiber Optics, Hotwire Communications was especially poised to utilize various social media outlets to create and upload multiple employee and volunteer videos of direct appeals for donations from local and nationwide partners. The outreach garnered $1,170 from Hotwire Communications employees directly, almost 10% of all funds that were reinvested. “Hotwire being such a great community ambassador, and the message that KidSafe delivers, it’s a natural partnership.” said Amaurys Perez, Supervisor for Launch Account Managers at Hotwire Communications. “For us being a fiber optics Internet service provider [we want] to make sure that kids are safe on the Internet.” At the heart of the KidSafe Foundation is a team of dedicated volunteers and individuals who are devoted to educating over 55,000 children and 30,000 adults in the best practices of personal safety, including all aspects of online safety. “As the Program Coordinator, I have had the wonderful job of actually being out today visiting schools” said Laura Askowitz, Program Coordinator for the KidSafe Foundation. “[We are] telling schools yes, that because of generous grants and donations like yours, they are receiving the KidSafe program this fall”. KidSafe’s mission reminds us all that with the ever-changing landscape of the Internet, it is more important than ever to bring awareness to children’s online safety. At Hotwire Communications, we believe everyone has a part to play in making the online realm a safer place for our children to learn, explore and enjoy the Internet and all it has to offer. ### About Hotwire Communications: Hotwire Communications is an industry leader in providing Gigabit connectivity and streaming video solutions to residential and business environments. For over a decade, Hotwire has been at the forefront of the Gigabit revolution, installing fiber optic networks and delivering 1 Gbps speed since 2005.   Hotwire now delivers 10 Gbps connectivity to residential, commercial, hospitality, student and senior living environments through its Fision® Home, Work, Stay, U, and Encore divisions respectively.  Hotwire Communications provides state-of-the-art technology, superior white-glove customer care, and an expanding suite of bundled telecommunication services.  For more information please visit www.hotwirecommunications.com. Media Contact: Karla Thatcher - Karla.Thatcher@hotwiremail.com   About KidSafe Foundation:  KidSafe Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect children by preventing  child  sexual  abuse,  bullying  and  internet  exploitation  through  comprehensive education for children, parents, and professionals. For more information on KidSafe Foundation, visit http://kidsafefoundation.org.

Children Will Be Safe Online Thanks to the Efforts of Hotwire Communications and the KidSafe Foundation

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BOCA RATON, FL - May 10, 2017 – Members of Impact 100 Palm Beach County have voted to award KidSafe Foundation $100,000 for their “It's Elementary! Keeping Students and Educators KidSafe Smart" project. At the 6th Annual Grand Awards celebration held on April 6th, hundreds of members listened to ten finalists and awarded five $100,000 grants that evening. KidSafe Foundation received the award for the focus area of education. The $100,000 grant will enable KidSafe to provide prevention education programs to fifteen South Palm Beach County Elementary Schools. This project includes an eight-week prevention education curriculum to fifteen hundred kindergarten and second grade students, three-thousand award winning safety books and materials to parents, and one thousand educators will be able to participate in KidSafe’s newly developed online training for sexual abuse prevention.

KidSafe Foundation is honored to receive such a prestigious and generous grant from Impact 100 Palm Beach County,” said Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA Cofounder & Executive Director of KidSafe Foundation. “The impact of this grant will change the lives for the better for thousands of children in South Palm Beach County.”

Educators are often among the first adults to recognize signs of abuse and we want to be able to respond to students to ensure all of their needs are met. The KidSafe program will provide additional awareness for our teachers to stop the exploitation of children and empower students to protect themselves from unsafe situations.  We appreciate this generous gift and the valuable training teachers and students are going to receive.” said Dr. Robert Avossa, Superintendent for Palm Beach County School District

 

“It is always our mission to provide funding to programs that positively impact our community,” said Kathy Adkins, Impact 100 Palm Beach County board member. “We are delighted that we could provide KidSafe Foundation the funding they needed to bring more educational programs to our schools to keep our children safe.”

###

About KidSafe Foundation

KidSafe Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect children by preventing  child  sexual  abuse,  bullying  and  internet  exploitation  through  comprehensive education for children, parents, and professionals. For more information on KidSafe Foundation, visit http://kidsafefoundation.org.

 

About Impact 100 Palm Beach County

Impact_100_logox250According to Karen Sweetapple, Co-President of Impact 100 Palm Beach County, the organization to date has granted over $2.2 Million to non-profit projects over the past six years.

She noted that in 2017, over 60 non-profit organizations serving southern Palm Beach County applied for these grants. Impact 100 Palm Beach County is a women’s charitable organization with over 500 members committed to strengthening our community through the collective resources of its members, by awarding high-impact grants in five focus areas: arts and culture, education, environment, family and health and wellness. By donating $1,000, members of Impact 100 Palm Beach County vote to fund programs of local non-profit organizations, incorporating its philosophy of “efficient philanthropy” and its mission statement of one woman, one meeting, one vote.  For more information www.impact100pbc.com

 

About the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties

cfThe Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties is one of Florida’s largest community foundations. The nonprofit organization has invested nearly $129 million in grants and scholarships over its 44-year history. At its core, the Community Foundation is an organization created with gifts from generous people committed to local causes. For donors, the Foundation serves as a philanthropic advisor. For the community, the Foundation serves as a grant maker and a civic leader. Through the support of its donors and fund holders, the Foundation has been able to address some of the community’s most pressing needs, including hunger, housing and education. For more information, visit www.yourcommunityfoundation.org.

 

Contact: Sally Berenzweig

Phone:    561-715-1077

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KIDSAFE FOUNDATION AWARDED $100,000 GRANT FROM IMPACT 100 PALM BEACH COUNTY

Community Foundatino

100 Impact

Events

Gala2018

BOCA RATON, FL (Feb. 3, 2017) -- KidSafe Foundation will hold its 8th Annual “Shine the Light” Gala on March 10, 2017 from 7:00pm-11:00p.m at the Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton. Funds raised at the “Shine the Light” Gala will go towards KidSafe’s extensive programs that will bring direct services to thousands of children and adults in the upcoming year. Guest speakers include national television correspondent Beth Karas and KidSafe will be honoring State Attorney Dave Aronberg as KidSafe Foundation Child Advocate of the year 2017. The Gala Chairs are Karyn Turk (Mrs. Florida) and Nicole Roman. Honorary Gala Chairs include Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie, Council Member Robert & Mrs. Pamela Weinroth, and Council Member Scott Singer.  The gala sponsors, the KidSafe Protectors, are The Schmidt Family Foundation, Hotwire Communications and Charles Schwab. The non-profit organization focuses on prevention education which is a key aspect to protecting children from child sexual abuse, bullying, and internet exploitation. To carry out its mission, KidSafe has created comprehensive safety programs and materials to help empower children in a variety of circumstantial situations. KidSafe believes the most effective way to make a significant difference is through the power of knowledge and that educating children, their parents, professionals and volunteers, is crucial in making communities safer for our children. The evening will include cocktail attire, a premium open bar, dinner, dancing, silent auction and live auction hosted by Neil Saffer. For more information, including how to become a sponsor, visit www.kidsafefoundation.org. Gala 2017 Tickets $175 per person $200 per person after February 20, 2017 VIP Table Reservation VIP Table for 10-$5,000-Includes a full page color Ad in Gala Journal and swag bag presence. VIP Table for 8- $3,500-Includes a ½ page color Ad in Gala Journal. VIP Table for 6- $2,500-Includes a ½ page black & white Ad in Gala Journal. About KidSafe Foundation KidSafe Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect children by preventing child sexual abuse, bullying and internet exploitation through comprehensive education for children, parents, and professionals. CONTACT: Elizabeth Kelley Grace Elizabeth@thebuzzagency.net 561-702-7471

KidSafe Foundation Hosts 8th Annual “Shine the Light” Gala at Woodfield Country Club, March 10, 2017

Twelve years ago, Sally Berenzweig’s 3-yearold son walked out of the house and wandered through the neighborhood – barefoot and crying – before a stranger stopped, put the toddler in his car, and drove around looking for the boy’s home. The babysitter never noticed he was gone. “We trusted her,” said Sally. “She was 24 years old, a certified swim instructor, preschool teacher, and part-time nursing student. You don’t get better credentials than that.” For Sally’s family, the ending was happy, thanks to a Good Samaritan. But the life-changing incident inspired her to bring a safety program to her son’s preschool that other families, along with hers, could benefit from. That’s how she met Cherie Benjoseph, a licensed clinical social worker and former middle school guidance counselor, who started giving safety seminars to mom’s groups after one of her students disclosed she’d been abused by her stepdad, also the PTA vice president. Cherie was shocked – not by the claim itself – but that this student didn’t show the textbook signs of abuse. It made her realize there was a need in the community for better awareness. READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE

KidSafe Foundation Brings Safety to Light |By Kristen Mager

KidSafe is excited to have won $5,000 at the Great Charity Challenge!!!

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minute man

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toshiba

Opulence

Buzz

Schmidt

Charles Schwab

Hotwire

Pedicatric Ass

Community Foundation

Boca West

Lost Tree

AD

Children Services

Quantum

Asofsky

Paul Palank

BOCA RATON, FL – January 20, 2017 - KidSafe Foundation recently welcomed David Rosenfeld to their Board of Directors. Rosenfeld will serve as a director and an overall contributor to the board.   Rosenfeld is Vice President/Sr. Complex Leader for Charles Schwab, covering the Palm Beach County area. He oversees a team of financial consultants, associate financial consultants, client relationship managers as well as client relationship specialists. His roles include sales coaching, process management, client presentations, analysis of performance data for trends and actions, interviewing prospective employees and collaborating with business partners, including compliance and human resources.   “David is a wonderful addition to our board and will be an integral part of our future success,” says Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA, Co-Founder and Executive Director for KidSafe Foundation, “We are looking forward to David bringing his expertise and helping us with our growth.”   In addition to being involved with KidSafe Foundation, Rosenfeld’s experience with nonprofit work includes a board member seat with the Mental Health Association of Palm Beach County as well as an advisor to Youth Expressions. Rosenfeld has mentored numerous children in the area and has been a speaker in many schools regarding finance and overall leadership.   “KidSafe Foundation is an amazing organization that is close to my heart,” says David Rosenfeld, “I am elated to be involved with such a great organization that puts all of their efforts in helping children be safe.”   KidSafe Foundation is hosting their 8th annual "Shine The Light" Gala on Friday, March 10, 2017 from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at the Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida. State Attorney Dave Aronberg has been named KidSafe Foundation's 2017 Child Advocate Of The Year and will be honored at this year’s gala. In addition, the guest speaker will be Beth Karas, a national broadcast journalist and attorney.  Beth has worked as a senior reporter with truTV (previously Court TV), providing commentary on a number of high-profile cases, including the trials of Kobe Bryant, Martha Stewart, Jerry Sandusky, Casey Anthony, Drew Peterson, Robert Blake, Scott Peterson and Jodi Arias.   KidSafe gives children a voice and empowers them and the adults who keep them safe with education and communication skills to become the first line of defense in children's safety. This year's gala will help the organization expand their educational programs for adults and children. Tickets are currently on sale, which will include dinner, dancing, premium open bar and silent and live auction with the incredible Live Auctioneer Neil Saffer. To purchase tickets, go to www.kidsafefoundation.org/gala-info/   # # #   About KidSafe Foundation: KidSafe Foundation protects children by preventing child sexual abuse, bullying and online exploitation through comprehensive education for children, parents, and professionals. For more information on this organization’s efforts, make a donation, or get involved, visit their website at www.kidsafefoundation.org or call (561) 715-1077.   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 1/24/2017 Contact: Sandi Quigley (561) 232-3160 squigley@thetroikagroup.com

David Rosenfeld, Newest Board Member for KidSafe Foundation

David Rosenfeld is a Vice President / Sr. Complex leader for a fortune 500 Wealth Management Firm covering the Palm Beach County area offices.  Dave oversees a team of Financial Consultants, Associate Financial Consultants, Client Relationship Managers as well as Client Relationship Specialists.  His roles include sales coaching, process management, client presentations, analysis of performance data for trends and actions, interviewing prospective employees and collaborating with business partners including compliance and human resources.  For  20 years, Dave’s ultimate responsibility has been the meeting of client needs while increasing the branch office’s presence in his respective markets. Dave’s experience with nonprofit work includes a board member seat with the Mental Health Association of Palm Beach County as well as an advisor to Youth Expressions.  Dave has mentored numerous children in the area and has been a speaker in several schools regarding finance and overall leadership. Dave is married to his wife Rachel and they have 5 children between them.  3 – 15 year olds and 2 – 13 year olds.  In his “spare time”, Dave loves to watch his boys play ice hockey and will get on the ice with them from time to time.  He also enjoys travelling with Rachel, 1:1 time with each of his girls and playing sports with all of his kids.

David Rosenfeld

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KidSafe Foundation:

a 501c3 Non Profit

855-844-SAFE

Broward Address:

5944 Coral Ridge Drive

Suite #241

Coral Springs, FL 33076

Palm Beach Address:

20283 State Road 7

Suite #106

Boca Raton, FL 33498

Central Florida Address:

13750 W. Colonial Drive

Suite 350-354

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"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

Heidi Schaeffer, MD, is the proud mother of a  6-year-old boy and is involved with several organizations that prioritize children.  She received her Bachelor Degrees in Biology and Psychology from Barry University and was Valedictorian of both majors.  She earned her Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Miami School of Medicine and did her Internal Medicine training at Jackson Memorial Hospital.  As a licensed Physician since 2000, Dr. Schaeffer has worked with private and public healthcare entities (including the Department of Health) to ensure quality care. She is glad to be part of KidSafe and its efforts to prevent bullying and sexual abuse of children.

Heidi Schaeffer, MD

Nicole Roman

Alina S. Gagnon was born and raised in San Juan Puerto Rico where she lived until she headed to Boston to earn her BS in Chemistry/Business Management from Boston College in 1987. Her and her husband Dan have 2 children and live in the Boca Raton area. She is passionate about sharing and teaching others about how to keep all children safe which led her to join the KidSafe Foundation board in 2012. Currently a Growth Strategist and Led Consultant at Office Depot’s Military Division. She also spent most of her career at Albertsons Food/Drug where she specialized in advertising, marketing, merchandising and solution selling. Alina is also a licensed real estate professional and recently assisted her father in translating 2 KidSafe books into Spanish. During her “spare time”, she enjoys cooking for friends and family and is also very engaged with her community, church and PTA.

Alina Gagnon

Jon Salk is the President of the Salk Marketing Group (SMG), a local marketing and promotional products company established in 2003. Jon oversees the business development, marketing and sales for the company. He also manages SMG’s manufacturers and suppliers in China and Taiwan. Jon is driven by a resourceful and creative passion that has helped SMG grow into a nationally known marketing and promotional products company. For over 20 years, Jon has worked with small businesses and non-profit organizations across the country. His expertise has helped them to create their markets and grow through online and product marketing. Nonprofit work has always been a large part of Jon’s life. He has sat on the board and worked with many nonprofit organizations including, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Florida State Firefighters Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and Boca Jets Lacrosse. Jon was the founding Board Chair of the KidSafe Foundation and is currently the Board Chair of the Florida Hemophilia Association. Jon enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, playing golf, watching movies and coaching his kids in various local youth sports.

Jon Salk

KidSafe News Feed

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Videos: Bullying

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Videos: Internet Safety

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Videos: The KidSafe Foundation

Wholefoods Coral Springs Donate Your Dime

Teaching KidSafe

Penn State Students Awareness Campaign

Pediatric Associates Foundation

In The News

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Childnet Foster Family Training

Boca Festival Days at Roccos Tacos

2014 Annual Board Meeting

Cherie Benjoseph has been working in the field of social work, specializing in children and families, since 1989. After earning her Masters in Social Work from Boston University Cherie took a position as a public school guidance counselor in Boston. One particular student who shared with Cherie that she was being sexually abused by her step father changed Cherie’s direction and she became focused on prevention education. She trained and specialized in violence prevention/conflict resolution, active parenting skills, and her main focus, personal safety. KidSafe was soon created and she began to bring the message of personal safety to children in South Florida.

Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW

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Andrea is an accomplished and highly motivated Senior Sales Consultant at Oasis Outsourcing; the largest privately held Professional Employer Organization (PEO) in the nation. She has been a top producer in the company since her start in 2006. She is a seasoned sales executive with a pattern of success in small to medium sized businesses. Andrea focuses on working with business owners and executives by assessing their current human resources, payroll, employee benefits, and risk management needs to meet their goals and concerns. The end result being for an owner to regain the original focus of the business, reduce their costs, while the above administration is handled and HR liabilities are minimized. Andrea attended Florida State University where she received her B.S. in Marketing. After graduation and prior to joining Oasis Outsourcing, She worked in medical sales for Lincare, the nation’s largest home respiratory company. She was a top sales representative in the South Florida market and was then promoted into management where she ran the West Palm Beach center for several years. Andrea is very involved in her community. She believes to thoroughly understand your community you have to get involved with it. If you don’t like what you see then get out there and change it and that is just what Andrea has done through her volunteer work. She is President of the Junior League of Boca Raton and also serves as a member of their Endowment Board. Additionally, she is on the Advisory Board for KidSafe Foundation and a graduate of the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Leadership Boca class Andrea is happily married to her husband Rich of 9 years and they have 2 children. Their son, Ryler is 4 and they just welcomed their daughter Briella who is now 15 months old. Andrea loves to volunteer in her community, travel, read, and practice yoga.

Andrea S. Garcia

Elizabeth L. Parker received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Auburn University in 1994 and her Juris Doctorate from Loyola University School of Law, New Orleans, Louisiana in 1998. She began her career as an Assistant State Attorney in the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office in 1998. While working as a prosecutor, Elizabeth handled Misdemeanor, Domestic Violence, Felony and Traffic Homicide cases including D.U.I. Manslaughter, Vehicular Homicide, and Manslaughter by Culpable Negligence. She served as the Deputy Chief of County Court from June of 2003 until December of 2006 and then as the Chief of the County Court Division and the Domestic Violence Division from January of 2007 until December of 2008. From January of 2009 until August of 2011, she held the position of Chief Assistant State Attorney. As a Chief Assistant State Attorney her responsibilities specifically included: hiring of new attorneys, daily supervision of the Misdemeanor Division and Domestic Violence Unit, the Satellite offices, and the Appellate Unit, working closely with law enforcement on investigations, reviewing and assisting on search warrants and arrest warrants, constant case review for filing decisions, trial strategies, legal theories, ethical considerations, daily, weekly and monthly attorney training, caseload management, calendar coverage, liaison for statewide issues, complaint resolution relating to staff or charging decisions, and working closely with Judges to ensure efficiency in the courtrooms. In addition to the administrative duties as Chief Assistant, Elizabeth personally litigated cases of great public importance, involving new or novel issues of law, technical matters with expert witnesses, and high profile cases requiring substantial trial and media relations experience. Elizabeth created the Advocacy Institute at the State Attorney’s Office and oversaw the training of each new lawyers and special prosecutors (private lawyers volunteering as prosecutors). During her time, she trained hundreds of prosecutors how to successfully try DUI cases both in Palm Beach County and around the state. Elizabeth was a member of the Florida Prosecuting Attorney’s Association (FPAA) Education Committee. During her time as an Assistant State Attorney, Ms. Parker lectured for the FPAA and the Florida Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Program for prosecutors in the areas of opening statement, closing argument, pre-trial motions, cross-examination of experts, and trial techniques. She was a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for the Institute of Police Technology and Management (IPTM) from 2007-2011. In September of 2011 Elizabeth opened her own Victim Advocacy and Criminal Defense firm in Palm Beach County Florida. Ms. Parker advocates on behalf of child victims of sexual abuse and works closely with law enforcement and prosecutors to be a voice for them and assist them throughout the criminal justice process. Ms. Parker teaches on behalf of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence to law enforcement officers throughout the State of Florida how to investigate incidents of Domestic Violence and how to properly collect and preserve evidence to enable prosecutions even when the victim refuses to cooperate. As a criminal defense attorney Elizabeth has litigated high profile cases and has appeared on the Nancy Grace show and In Session as a legal analyst on high profile cases such as Jerry Sandusky, George Zimmerman, John Goodman, Adam Kauffman, and Tammy Smith. She was the legal analyst for USA TODAY during the George Zimmerman trial. Elizabeth Parker has appeared on Dateline, 20/20, Snapped, Sins and Secrets, Nothing Personal, and In Session for her role as the lead prosecutor in the Dalia Dippolito case. Elizabeth is also the author of the book “Poison Candy” a behind the investigation and beyond the courtroom scenes of the Dalia Dippolito case, with astonishing never-before-revealed facts and details far too lurid for the trial.

Elizabeth Parker, Esq.

Please join KidSafe for their 7th Annual Fundraiser! All proceeds help provide education to children and adults to prevent child sexual abuse, bullying and online exploitation!

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Brochure

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KidSafe Provides Programs to Preschools, Elementary Schools, Child Care Organizations and Middle Schools

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~”KidSafe for Kids” – 8 week curriculum for children ages 4 – 11.
(preschool through 5th grade)
~KidSafe for Parents Seminar
~KidSafe for Teachers/Counselors Seminar

In the 8 week program children will learn personal safety skills through developmentally appropriate song, movement, discussion and role playing. Our KidSafe program is a team approach with the parents and teachers reinforcing the safety skills and safety language at home and in the classroom.

*The KidSafe program can be tailored to each schools individual needs.

KidSafe – School Program: Middle School

  • - Middle School Assembly
  • - In class break out sessions for smaller group discussion

Middle School students are seeking an environment to process the many personal safety issues they are facing daily. KidSafe provides an assemby style yet interactive seminar for students to understand that they are not alone with their concerns. In the discussion many topics are covered including bullying, sexting, body boundaries, and internet safety. In the smaller break out sessions continued emphasis is on refusal skills, assertiveness and when and how to access help.

See what others are saying:

Sunrise Park Elementary School, Boca Raton Florida
“The PTA is proud to support the KidSafe program at Sunrise Park. In January, we held a teacher workshop and a parent presentation to educate us on how to talk to our kids about a very scary subject in a non-threatening way and to empower them with lifetime safety skills. Exploitation prevention, Communication skills, Action plans, Buddy system, Safe vs. unsafe touch – These are very powerful and important topics for ALL parents, regardless of your children’s ages Did you know: 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 7 boys are exploited by the age of 18.

You may think you already know all about this subject or it won’t happen to you but what if you are wrong? There is so much to learn. Our children’s environment and influences are constantly changing. Predators are getting smarter. No longer is stranger danger the main concern. 90% of the time this action is by someone they know and trust – members of the community, family, teachers, nannies. It can happen anywhere and anyplace. We as parents have a lot to learn and KidSafe is teaching us how to be more pro-active. You assume your child would tell you if something horrible happened, but would they? Do they have a “circle of safety”? Do you play the “what if” game? If you are a school that believes in keeping our children safe – then KidSafe is the program you need.”

Karen Hamorsky PTA Sunrise Park Elementary School

Temple Beth Emet Early Childhood Center

“For several years, our Pre-K and Day School children have participated in KidSafe, a personal safety program. Through specially designed activities, games, songs, and skill rehearsals, the children have learned how to protect themselves from abduction and exploitation. Through the enthusiastic leadership of Cherie Benjoseph, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., KidSafe empowers children with the information, skills, and support they need to remain safe.”

Sandy Sherman Early Childhood Director
Michal Medina Day School Assistant Director
Temple Beth Emet Early Childhood Center

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KidSafe In Schools

The KidSafe Foundation

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Visit this section to learn about Parent Seminar Options and Parenting Tips for keeping Your Children Safe.

Parent Seminars: Sexual Abuse Prevention, Bullying, Internet Safety Power Point & Video provided during seminar

(we can customize a program to meet your needs)

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Parents will learn about the dangers impacting our children’s safety both online and in the real world and take home concrete skills including the KidSafe language of safety which they can then teach their children.

Subjects covered: Internet Safety, Bullying, Cyber Bullying, Body Boundaries, Stranger Danger and more.

Benefits:

  • Breaks cycle of silence that surrounds issue of child abuse and internet safety
  • Educates parents on dangers
  • Teaches real world life skills to use in parenting
  • Decrease risk of abuse, bullying, peer pressure
  • Increase safety on the internet
  • Fosters effective communication between parent and child

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Parents receive KidSafe for Parents while separately but simultaneously their elementary age children are put into groups (k-2) (3-5) and receive an introduction to KidSafe’s 8 week program. The last 10 minutes the children come back to the parents and share with them what they learned.

Benefits:

  • Breaks cycle of silence that surrounds issue of child abuse and internet safety
  • Educates parents on dangers
  • Teaches real world life skills to use in parenting
  • Decrease risk of abuse, bullying, peer pressure
  • Increase safety on the internet
  • Fosters effective communication between parent and child
  • Starts the dialogue between parent and child
  • Introduces children to concrete KidSafe skills they can start using immediately to make safer and smarter choices

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Parents learn the dangers of the internet and how to combat those dangers with concrete KidSafe skills and learn a language of safety they can begin using immediately to keep their children safe online from: Predators, Cyber bullying, and Peer Pressure.

Topics covered: Online predators, Cyber bullying, Facebook, Sexting, Texting, Personal Information, recommendations for safer computers, supervising children on line.

Benefits:

  • Parents will be informed about the pros and cons of children using the internet
  • Parents will learn concrete skills they can take home and use immediately
  • Parents will learn how to navigate Facebook safely
  • Parents will learn about sexting, texting and how to keep their children safe
  • Parents will learn how to open up the lines of communication regarding children’s use of the internet while supervising them for their safety

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Middle School Students will be exposed to the pros and cons of internet use, learn how to be safe online and in the real world. Discussion, Videos, and Role Play will be used to teach students important life skills in a fun, yet realistic and developmentally appropriate manner. Focus on the short term and long term consequences of their actions on line.

Topics include: General internet safety, social networking, predators on line, Sexting, Cyber bullying, and how, when, and with whom to access help.

****We can customize a program for your schools, individual or corporations
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KidSafe for Parents

KidSafe Bracelets

KidSafe Gala

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

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Curriculum

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Lesson 1:

What is Personal Safety Education – Children brainstorm the many safety rules they already follow and are introduced to the concept of “Me” safety.

Lesson 2:

Using your Safety Voice – Children learn how to use their voice to keep their friends and themselves safe. Children learn the difference between tattling and reporting. These concepts are taught via activities, discussion and role play.

Lesson 3:

Staying close to your trusted adult (Buddy System) Children learn the importance of staying close to trusted adult to stay safe. Children are taught a safety song and role play various situations in which they need to use their Safety Voice to explain to a grown-up or friend that the safest and smartest choice is to stick close to a grown-up.

Lesson 4:

– Check First – Children are taught the concept of Checking First with a grown-up before doing most things. This lesson is taught through discussion, song and role play.

Lesson 5:

– Safe and Unsafe Touch – KidSafe teaches the importance of recognizing how certain touches make you feel. The children brainstorm feelings of a safe touch and feelings of an unsafe touch. They are introduced to the concept of private parts – all of the parts of one’s body covered by a bathing suit and it is reinforced with the children that no one should be touching or looking at their private parts and they should not be touching or looking at anyone else’s private parts. This lesson includes defining privacy and examples of when checking or helping with a child’s private parts is appropriate. Teacher reads the KidSafe book – My Body is Special and Belongs to Me! to empower and teach students that they are special and their bodies belong to them and reinforcing the concepts they have learned – including reinforcing using one’s Safety Voice and Reporting.

Lesson 6:

– Circle of Safe Adults/ Secrets – Children are introduced to the concept of trusted adults – the grown-ups they can talk to about anything positive or negative. In the lesson children draw their safe/trusted adults, label them and bring the activity home to review with their grown-ups. The concept of secrets is introduced- helping the children to discern the difference between a good secret and a bad secret and when it would be appropriate to report a secret to a grown up in their Circle of Safe Adults. As we build on skills the children are again reinforcing the difference between tattling and reporting.

Lesson 7:

Yell “No!” Run and Tell & 5 Step Back Rule – This lesson is an introduction to abduction prevention. children learn through discussion and role play that adults they do not know should not be asking children for help – they should be asking other adults. Children learn how to use a strong, assertive voice and respond quickly to report to a trusted adult. Students are taught they have the right to Yell “No!” and Run and Tell their trusted adult. Through role play students learn to pay attention to their surroundings and their personal space and if someone gets too close to them they have the right to take 5 steps back.

Lesson 8:

Graduation – An invitation is sent home to parents inviting them to the last lesson. In this lesson the KidSafe teacher provides a review of the 8 lessons, children sing the two safety songs for the guests and have story time from the KidSafe book – Jack Teaches His Friends to be KidSafe. All children then receive a Certificate of Accomplishment for completing KidSafe.
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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="Outline for Grades 2nd – 5th Grades"]

Lesson 1:

Introduction to Personal Safety – Students brainstorm all aspects of personal safety through teacher guided activity. Through this activity students are introduced to the concept of personal safety and the KidSafe Key Concepts and goals for the 8 week program. A student is asked to make a KidSafe Note Box – which students can place questions, tell stories anonymously, or share thoughts – which will be checked weekly by the KidSafe teacher and answered appropriately. Pre-test is given to assess students’ knowledge base about personal safety.

Lesson 2:

Teaching Assertiveness Skills – Students learn how to recognize their Safety Voice through discussion and role play. The awareness of their intuition, assertive voice and making choices is the thread which runs through all of the lessons. The difference between a passive, assertive and aggressive response is demonstrated through role play – and the value of using an assertive voice is reinforced. Role play scenarios throughout the program cover various topics including bullying, peer pressure, issues with friends, abuse prevention, internet safety etc.

Lesson 3:

Trusted Adults and Circle of Safe Adults – Students discuss different places and situations they need to stay close to a grown-up or peer to keep themselves safe. Student’s role play various situations in which they need to be assertive with a friend or grown- up. Circle of Safe Adults is emphasized discussing accessible adults outside the home students may seek out for help. Students role play “how” to access help and homework is to go home and discuss the people they have chosen with their grown-up/guardian.

Lesson 4:

Plan of Action/Check First – Students learn how having a Plan of Action for doing certain things can help make them feel safe and more confident in making safer and smarter choices. Students role play staying home alone and other situations in which the safest choice would be to check first with an adult. Students are presented with real life situations in which they work collaboratively to problem solve the various solutions to making the safest choice.

Lesson 5:

Plan of Action/Internet Safety – KidSafe emphasizes the need to use of all of the KidSafe Key Concepts in the ‘real world’ and online. A number of key safety issues are taught and students also have an opportunity to share their everyday experiences – which are then used in role playing. Cyber bullying, texting, social media are all covered. KidSafe teachers discuss the safest and smartest ways to stay safe online and students are given an Internet Safety Contract to take home and share with their guardians.

Lesson 6:

Body Boundaries – This lesson is to empower students that their bodies belong to them and they have right to keep themselves safe. Students discuss Safe and Unsafe touch and what to do if they get a touch that is confusing or if they feel pressure to keep an unsafe secret. This lesson is done with the KidSafe teacher sharing a few stories and the children processing the many thoughts, feelings and choices the characters in the story need to make along the way.

Lesson 7:

Abduction Prevention – Students learn through role play how to be more aware of their personal space and surroundings. The concept that adults they do not know should not be asking them for help (or any other requests) is emphasized – covering many of the common lures used. Students learn how to Yell “No!” get away and report what occurred to a trusted adult. Students practice appropriate times to use the 5 step back rule. In our parent seminar we stress that a child who is told to ALWAYS obey adults is more vulnerable to a predator and teaching students that there are times when they DO NOT have to listen to an adult is imperative to their personal safety.

Lesson 8:

Review of all lessons – Games/Activities are played to reinforce students’ retention and use of KidSafe skills in problem solving as well as a post test is administered. Each student receives a Certificate of Accomplishment.
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Blog Archive

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Denise Richards with our children’s book, “Jack Teaches His Friends To Be KidSafe!” A gift for her daughter Sami’s birthday.

Jason Priestley and Tiffani Amber Thiessen with their own copies of the book.

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KidSafe Goes Hollywood!

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Facebook Safety Partnership

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news

The KidSafe Foundation Appoints Nationally Recognized Sexual Abuse Survivor Attorney to its Board of Directors
Jeffery Herman of Miami Based Herman,Mermelstein & Horowitz, P.A. is Newest Addition to Nonprofit’s Board whose mission is Education to Prevent Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children.

“Sexual abuse is not uncommon among youth groups, Benjoseph said. She explained that youth groups are very attractive to predators because they provide easy access to children in situations with little adult supervision. This is compounded, she said, by the volunteer aspect. “That’s what pedophiles do: they volunteer,” Benjoseph said. “If it looks too good to be true, it’s probably too good to be true.”

“What I want children to do is start thinking about personal safety,” she said. We’re trying to help them with that built-in sixth sense. This happens over time. Little ones don’t have an inner voice yet so we’re teaching them to look not just for bad people but for certain situations.”

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KidSafe In the News

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Below are sample conversation starters on the topic of Fairness. Please take a moment to read through the questions prior to their use over the course of the month. Don’t forget to have fun with this type of “Table Talk.” This is a time for children to learn how to express themselves. Warning: you might not like all of their answers, or they might have difficulty at first expressing themselves about specific topics regarding values – please, for now, hold back on “correcting” them. Think of this as an exercise in sharing of ideas, an opportunity for you as parents to model for them. This is a terrific opportunity to see how our children think, feel, what they observe, and how we as the adults in their lives are teaching our children family values.
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Side note on fairness: Children want and need rules, structure and boundaries. It is these components which create a sense of fairness, predictability and safety in a child’s environment. By enforcing these rules and expectations consistently and abiding by these same expectations as the adult – we are on the road to raising kids of character who will treat others with fairness.
Have each person in the family take turns answering the various questions according to their ability.
What does Fairness mean? (This could also be made into a poster to be hung in the home.) Take turns adding to the list.
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  • Playing by the rules
  • Treating others the way you want to be treated
  • Taking Turns
  • Sharing
  • Listening
  • Telling the truth

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  • Treating people fairly
  • Everyone has the same chance
  • Considering all of the facts in a situation before making a decision
  • Use the same rules for everyone
  • Don’t blame others for your mistakes
  • Think about how your actions will affect others
  • Listen closely to others and try to understand what they are feeling and saying

Many people – often children – will be quick to say “That’s not fair!”Sample ideas for defining Fairness:

  • Talk about a time you felt something was unfair and why.
  • Does fairness mean that I (or my sibling) can’t get a special privilege
  • How does Daddy show fairness at home? How does Mommy show fairness at home? (Fill in the various people in your household – step parents, grandparents, others) (Children learn from what we do not from what we say. Think about ways you model fairness in your daily life.)
  • How do I show fairness? (I play fair at games, include other people at school, I don’t take more than my fair share (of food, attention, items, etc)).
  • How does my family show fairness amongst the children?
  • How does my teacher show fairness at school?
  • How do my friends show fairness?
  • How do I show fairness for kids at school that aren’t my good friends? Do I have to be fair with them?
  • What would you feel (and then do) if you saw someone being treated unfairly?
  • Is the world always fair?
  • End with this fun and positive activity:

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Conversation Starters for Parents & Children (Fairness)

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Below are sample conversation starters on the topic of Compassion. Please take a moment to read through the questions prior to their use over the course of the month. Don’t forget to have fun with this type of “Table Talk.” This is a time for children to learn how to express themselves. Warning: you might not like all of their answers, or they might have difficulty at first expressing themselves about specific topics regarding values – please, for now, hold back on “correcting” them. Think of this as an exercise in sharing of ideas, an opportunity for you as parents to model for them. This is a terrific opportunity to see how our children think, feel, what they observe, and how we as the adults in their lives are teaching our children family values.
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On Compassion: It is important to encourage compassion in children. Compassion is not just that act of “feeling sad for someone else” – but to act on their feelings by doing something for someone else. Of course as with any character education – children learn from our example. In our daily lives do we show compassion to the Earth? People? Animals?

Have each person in the family take turns answering the various questions according to their ability.

  • What does Compassion mean? (This could also be made into a poster to be hung in the home.) Take turns adding to the list.

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- Genuine concern for the welfare of others
- Sympathy for the suffering of others, often including a desire to help

  • What are some other words that remind you of Compassion?
  • Kind
  • Gentle
  • Giving
  • Concerned
  • Sympathetic
  • Caring
  • Empathetic

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  • How do you show compassion to another person?
  • Do all people deserve to be treated with compassion? Why or why not?
  • How can you show compassion to your classmates?
  • Tell of a time someone showed you compassion. How did you feel?
  • How have you shown compassion to the Earth? Why do we need to show compassion to the Earth?
  • Have you ever shown compassion to animals?
  • How do my parents model compassion?
  • Model compassion – give an example
  • Volunteer – kids and adults can do this
  • Give to charity
  • Perform Acts of Kindness – (ex. bring food to person in need)
  • Encourage Apologies and Forgiveness
  • End with this fun and positive activity:

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Conversation Starters For Parents & Children (Compassion)

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Iphone-Safety

Periodically KidSafe provides guests posts. We found this Contract created by: Janell Burley Hofmann, Author of iRules: What Every Tech Healthy Family Needs to Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming & Growing Up. www.janelburleyhofmann.com

Iphone Contract from Janell to her son Gregory:

Dear Gregory

Merry Christmas! You are now the proud owner of an iPhone. Hot Damn! You are a good & responsible 13 year old boy and you deserve this gift. But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations. Please read through the following contract. I hope that you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it. Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.
I love you madly & look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come.

  1. It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren’t I the greatest?
  2. I will always know the password.
  3. If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad”. Not ever.
  4. Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30pm every school night & every weekend night at 9:00pm. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30am. If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.
  5. It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It’s a life skill. *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.
  6. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs. Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money. It will happen, you should be prepared.
  7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.
  8. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.
  9. Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room. Censor yourself.
  10. No porn. Search the web for information you would openly share with me. If you have a question about anything, ask a person – preferably me or your father.
  11. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.
  12. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts. Don’t laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear – including a bad reputation.
  13. Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document everything. Live your experiences. They will be stored in your memory for eternity.
  14. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO – fear of missing out.
  15. Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.
  16. Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.
  17. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without googling.
  18. You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You & I, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together.

It is my hope that you can agree to these terms. Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to the iPhone, but to life. You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world. It is exciting and enticing. Keep it simple every chance you get. Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine. I love you. I hope you enjoy your awesome new iPhone. Merry Christmas!
Xoxoxoxo
Mom
http://www.janellburleyhofmann.com/the-contract/

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Iphone Safety By Janell Burley Hofmann

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Internet Safety Contract – Staying Safe in Cyber Space

  1. I will not give my personal information to anyone or to a website. My personal information is my name, address, phone number, parent’s information, my school name or location and personal photos.
  2. The computer should be located in an open area of the house – family room or kitchen. No computers in the bedroom.
  3. I will check first with my Mom or Dad before I fill out any forms on line, join any groups or post photos.
  4. I will only visit sites which have been discussed and approved by my parents.
  5. I will report to my parents (Circle of Safe Adults) right away if I receive anything (picture, email, instant message, pop up) which makes me feel uncomfortable.
  6. I am not allowed to meet people online or to participate in ‘open forum’ websites or chat rooms.
  7. I can only communicate with people on line that I know in the real world. (Family and friends)
  8. I will not participate in cyber bullying behavior. If I can’t say it to someone in person than I shouldn’t say it online.
  9. I will not open emails, links, or URL’s from people I do not know. I will check first with my parents to let them know what I am receiving.
  10. I will use the computer for the amount of time per day as set by my parents.
  11. I understand that my parents can supervise everything I do on the internet. They will do this to ensure my safety…they love me.
  12. I have discussed with my parents that there are people online who befriend children, but who are not safe.
  13. I will not share passwords with anyone including my friends. (Only parents should have their children’s passwords so they can properly supervise their children’s online activities.)

“I ( Child’s Name) KNOW that using the computer is a privilege not a right and I should have NO expectation of PRIVACY as everything posted online is not private and stays online FOREVER!”

“I (Parent’s Name) PROMISE if you come and report anything to me that you feel is inappropriate, makes you feel uncomfortable or confused in anyway, I will NOT over react. I will listen to you and try my best to help you through the situation, even if you make a mistake.”

Child’s Signature__________________________________________
Adult’s Signature__________________________________________

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Internet Safety contract

Internet Safety Video

home-alone The most important part of the safety of your children is YOU, the parent/caregiver. It is important to practice these rules with children until they become habits. The safest children are those that receive Personal Safety Education and continue to practice the skills at home. The goal is to create confident “thinking” children who are able to act instinctively when a dangerous situation arises.

Telephone

Young children should not answer the phone. There is no “right” age for a child to begin to answer the phone. When you feel confident that your child understands the following rules then he/she is able to answer the phone.

A child should:

  • Be able to let the answering machine pick up and read caller ID.
  • Be able to tell the caller, “My parents can’t come to the phone right now. May I take a message?”
  • Never tell the caller they are home alone.
  • Be able to tell their parent/caregiver right away about the phone call.
scan0004 Young children should not be left home alone. There is no “right” age for children to take on this responsibility. When you feel confident that your child understands the safety rules and would respond appropriately in an emergency then he/she is able to stay home alone.

A child should:

  • Know how and when to call 911.
  • Know never to answer the door.
  • Understand the plan of action – to call you and tell you that someone is at the door.
  • Know who to contact if you are not available.
  • Should know the safest route and possible safe houses on the way when walking to and from school.

A Parent should:

  • Practice skills with the child by playing the What if? Game.
  • Talk directly with your child about how they feel about staying home alone.
  • Create a schedule for child as to how to spend their time while home alone.

Safety Tips for a Child Home Alone

what-if-FB-size11 A Great way to teach your children about their safety is to use the “What If” game. All it takes is you asking your child “What If” Safety Questions…See how they answer (if you have never taught your child about personal safety they will probably give you the wrong answer, when they do it’s important to stay calm and keep what we call in KidSafe a ” poker face.” When you overreact your children shut down and stop talking. The goal is to get them to continue to talk to you. If they do not give you the safest and smartest choice, this is your chance to help guide them to a safer choice.Sample QuestionsThe “What if?” Game can be used as an informal way to teach children personal Safety skills. Keep in mind that the game is fun, and should help you to see how your child is processing how to make the safest and smartest choices.
Note: Fear is not an effective teaching tool.
  1. What if you are at recess at school and you need to use the bathroom. a. What do you say? What do you do? (Hint: Take a trusted adult with you)
  2. What if you are out with a friend and their parent and you need to use the bathroom. a. What do you say what do you do? (Hint: Tell the trusted adult they need to take you)
  3. What if you are playing outside your house with a group of friends and a neighbor invites you into their house. a. What do you say? What do you do? (Hint: Check First with your trusted adult)
  4. What if a neighbor (an adult) asks you to help them (bake chocolate chip cookies, carry some bags into the house, etc.). a. What do you say? What do you do? (Hint: Check First with your trusted adult)
  5. What if you are walking to school with a friend and a car pulls up next to you and asks for directions to the school. a. What do you say? What do you do? (Hint: Adults a child does not know should not be asking a child for help. Yell No! Run and Tell)
  6. What if you are home alone and there is a knock at the door. a. What do you say? What do you do? (Hint: Plan of Action)
  7. What if you are at the store with your adult and you want to go see a different section. a. What do you say? What do you do? (Hint: Check First, Buddy System.)
  8. What if you are at a store, or big park, like Disney World, and you get separated from your family, (or on a field trip and get separated). a. What do you say? What do you do? (Hint: Plan of Action, Personal Information, Accessing Help)

“What If” Game

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Educational Videos

Tips for Parents and Care Givers

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  • Start at a young age (4) and talk with your children about their bodies, boundaries, safe and unsafe touches and secrets.
  • Empower children that their bodies are special and belong to them.
  • Empower your children that they have a voice and can say “NO” if something does not feel right or is uncomfortable.
  • Tell your children they can talk with you about anything and you will not be uncomfortable with what they say.
  • Listen and remain “poker faced” no matter what they say so communication does not break down.
  • Do NOT use the terms “good touch” or “bad touch” – it is too confusing as sexual abuse can feel good. Use Safe Touch and Unsafe touch.
  • Do not hesitate to Report abuse. Reporting is crucial and adults need to trust their instincts and always err on the side of protecting children.
  • Disclosure – always believe your children if they tell you they were abused (they will often tell indirectly). It is so rare for children to lie about abuse and your belief can make them feel powerful and give them strength to start their healing.
  • Tell your children it is never ever their fault if they are abused. It is ALWAYS the abusers fault.
  • Counseling immediately is important. Not just for the survivor but for the whole family. Click Here for resources
  • Don’t treat survivors as victims and become overprotective of them. It is common for parents to want to put their child in a bubble when they have been hurt, but this can make a child feel more alienated then they already feel.

RED FLAGS: Physical Signs a Child May Be Abused

  • Injury to the genital area
  • Redness or rash in genital or anal area
  • Problems walking or sitting
  • Torn or bloody clothing
  • Pain
  • Genital odors or itching
  • Genital infections or venereal disease
  • Picking Skin
To report child abuse: If you suspect that a child is being abused report it to your state child abuse hotline or call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-CHILD). If you think that a child is in immediate danger from child abuse or neglect, then you should call 911.

Tips To Protect Your Children From Sexual Abuse

Parent Tips

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National Child Abuse Hotline http://www.childhelp.org/ 1-800-4-A-CHILD

CyberTipline

is toll-free line to report information about sexual exploitation of children on the web or other child pornography. 1-800-LOST to report sexually exploited, abused, or missing children. http://www.cybertipline.com

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)

http://www.ncmec.org National clearinghouse for information on missing children and prevention of child victimization. Website offers wealth of child protection information. Offers toll-free phone and web response to report sexual exploitation, abuse, or abduction of children.

The Center for Family Services SAFE Kids Program:

The SAFE Kids program is the only program in Palm Beach County recognized by the Florida Department of Health Children’s Medical Services as an official Sexual Abuse Treatment Provider (SATP). SAFE Kids specializes in treating victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence, and child witness to domestic violence. In addition, we provide treatment for sexually abused reactive children (SARC), victims of rape / sexual assault, adults molested as children (AMAC), and victims of other types of crimes.
http://www.ctrfam.org/

The Nancy J. Cotterman Center

is Broward County’s Children’s Advocacy Center and Certified Rape Crisis Center. It is the mission of the NJCC to improve and enhance the quality of life for victims of sexual assault and child abuse through effective forensically sensitive interventions, implemented by professionals specializing in the fields of sexual assault and child abuse. NJCC provides a safe, non-threatening environment for victims and supportive family members. Services are intended to assist in matters of public safety and to help individuals and families in their recovery. NJCC provides the following services at no charge to victims, and their non-offending family members.
http://www.broward.org/HUMANSERVICES/COMMUNITYPARTNERSHIPS/NANCYJCOTTERMANCENTER/Pages/Default.aspx

S.E.S.A.M.E., Inc.

is a leading national voice for the prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment of students by teachers and other school staff. http://www.sesamenet.org/
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To get human trafficking prevention education in every school and youth organization in the United States that empowers and equips youth with the knowledge and skills to stand up against sex trafficking and ultimately create a culture that supports a world free of gender-based violence. http://nesteducators.org/

Mothers of Sexually Abused Children (MOSAC)

http://www.mosac.net The MOSAC site is designed specifically for mothers who have experienced the sexual abuse of one of their children. Life is difficult for mothers following the disclosure of a child’s abuse, and they often have few, if any, resources available to them. This site is designed to be a comprehensive source of information about sexual abuse and to offer support and resources.

Jeffery Herman, Esq.

http://www.HermanLaw.com Jeffrey M. Herman is a nationally-recognized trial lawyer and advocate for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. He devotes 100% of his practice to representing survivors of sexual abuse, and has had the honor of advocating for hundreds of these brave men, women and children. He is the founding partner of Herman, Mermelstein & Horowitz, P.A., a national, Miami-based law firm with decades of combined experience representing people seeking justice and healing from the wounds of abuse.

The National Children’s Advocacy Center (NCAC)

http://www.nationalcac.org Non-profit agency providing prevention, intervention, and treatment services to abused children and their families. Was the nation’s first Children’s Advocacy Center.

Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA)

http://www.preventchildabuse.org National volunteer-based organization committed to preventing child abuse through research, education, and advocacy. Resource for comprehensive information and referrals in child abuse prevention. Offers catalog of publications.
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http://dreamcatchersforabusedchildren.com/ a 501(c) nonprofit dedicated to preventing child abuse through education and awareness campaigns.

DREAMCATCHERS for Abused Children published Books:

http://dreamcatchersforabusedchildren.com/child-abuse-books/dreamcatchers-books/
http://sesamenet.org/index.html S.E.S.A.M.E. Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation: is working to pass legislation that will increase safety for children in schools by preventing teachers accused of sexual abuse from moving to another school district without his or her new employer being alerted to the allegations of misconduct. Known as “passing the trash,” this happens far too often and it must be stopped.

http://www.Child-Safety-For-Parents.com This site is dedicated to helping parents protect their kids from child molesters and pedophiles, and understand the growing problem of missing kids. Find statistics, facts, tips and advice from experts and parents alike.

http://birdsandbeesandkids.com At birds and bees and kids, parents and other adults will learn how to talk to the kids in their care about sexuality, love, and relationships. Amy Lang MA
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Bullying Resources:

Positive Pocket

Internet Safety Resources:

  • www.getnetwise.org – largest online repository of instructional how to video tutorials
  • www.mousemail.com – Cell phone program allows parents to program cell phone for specific hours or access.
  • www.safetyweb.com – Offers free e-mail check for social networking and other sites
  • www.webwisekids.org – Offers internet safety games and additional resources for parents and children
  • www.wiredsafety.org – Offers internet safety information, assistance and resources for parents and children
  • www.netsmartz.org – The Center for Missing and Exploited children, internet safety resources and workshops
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Resources & Links

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KidSafe was started in 2005 as a sexual abuse prevention program called KidSafe for Kids for children ages 4 – 5th grade. Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW and Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA worked together to build the KidSafe for Kids 8 week in school curriculum. As Child Safety Experts, Educators, Mental Health Professionals, Authors and most importantly two moms, they created programs teaching children life skills through fun not fear using role play, art, song, books, games and discussion. KidSafe provides Seminars for Parents, Workshops for Teachers and Counselors and Training’s for Professionals working with children.

Why Teach KidSafe?

A day doesn’t go by without hearing about a child who has been sexually exploited by a trusted adult. It happens all too often. The perpetrators are our neighbors, teachers, and coaches, the babysitters we welcome into our home, and most often, family members. A startling 90% of the people who hurt our children are known by the family. Most likely, although you may not know it, someone in your circle of friends has been affected by this issue. We don’t like to think about it – because it seems simply incomprehensible. But it exists, and it’s everywhere.
Believe it or not 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be victimized before their 18th birthday. Imagine going to a child’s birthday party where 30 young boys are running around having fun – innocent and full of wonder. Five of them will be victimized. Five too many!
Unless children are taught personal safety and can recognize safe and unsafe situations, they just don’t know how to respond. Often, children cannot recognize the warning signs and don’t have the skills, confidence or understanding that they have the right to use their voice to protect themselves. Prevention education is the key to making sure our children are protected.
Through the KidSafe Foundation’s comprehensive safety program, children become empowered, learn what is appropriate and inappropriate, and what to do if they are confused or have been hurt by someone. Knowledge is power and by educating our children, they begin to protect themselves, develop confidence and trust to seek help. Children learn through KidSafe to find their voice and use it to keep them safe.

For more information 855-844-SAFE or info@kidsafefoundation.org

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Children’s Program

KidSafe for Kids

  • 8 week program for children from Prek 4 through 5th grade
  • 1 hour Parent Seminar
  • 1 hour Teacher Workshop
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KidSafe for Kids is our flag ship program. We take an integrated approach as we strongly believe that we need to work together to keep our children safe. 95% of abuse and exploitation is preventable through education. Through scaffolding learning, children build on skills each week, using the skills learned in the prior lesson. Children are taught through role play, books, art, song and discussion how to be the first line of defense in their personal safety. KidSafe is a strong believer that children can learn life skills through fun not fear and use developmentally appropriate curriculum they created through over 50 years of combined experience, research, teaching and counseling. KidSafe Curriculum meets Sunshine State Standards and is approved by Palm Beach County Department of Safe Schools and Broward County Office of Prevention.

Please Click Here to Book a KidSafe Event:

Speaking Engagements

Sexual Abuse Prevention Program

004 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys will be sexually exploited before they reach the age of 18. Those are the reported statistics, however MOST do NOT report. 90% of the time a child is harmed by someone they know. 68% of the time a child is harmed by a family member. 95% of abuse and exploitation is preventable with education. Every child deserves the right to be safe. Every child has the right to have a voice. Every child has the right to learn how to access help. Learning these important safety skills is just as important as learning math, science and reading. It is our goal to make prevention education mandated in elementary schools and mandated sexual abuse prevention training for anyone working with children.

Why Children & Adults Need Sexual Abuse Prevention Education

Brochure

Executive Board

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Board of Directors

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Advisory Board

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Meet The KidSafe Board

Calendar

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KidSafe has taught over 55,000 children prevention education, has educated 33,000 adults.

For more information about our programs please contact us 1-855-844-SAFE &
info@kidsafefoundation.org

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Programs

Contact Us

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KidSafe Foundation Contact Submission [your-name] From: [your-name] <[your-email]> Subject: [your-subject] Message Body: [your-message] -- This e-mail was sent from a contact form on KidSafe Foundation (http://kidsafefoundation.org) russ@salkmg.com Reply-To: [your-email] KidSafe Foundation "[your-subject]" KidSafe Foundation Message Body: [your-message] -- This e-mail was sent from a contact form on KidSafe Foundation (http://kidsafefoundation.org) [your-email] Reply-To: russ@salkmg.com Thank you for your message. It has been sent. There was an error trying to send your message. Please try again later. One or more fields have an error. Please check and try again. There was an error trying to send your message. Please try again later. You must accept the terms and conditions before sending your message. The field is required. The field is too long. The field is too short. The date format is incorrect. The date is before the earliest one allowed. The date is after the latest one allowed. There was an unknown error uploading the file. You are not allowed to upload files of this type. The file is too big. There was an error uploading the file. The number format is invalid. The number is smaller than the minimum allowed. The number is larger than the maximum allowed. The answer to the quiz is incorrect. Your entered code is incorrect. The e-mail address entered is invalid. The URL is invalid. The telephone number is invalid.

Contact form 1

BOCA RATON, FL – MARCH 28, 2016 – KidSafe Foundation announced Friday that they have expanded to larger office space at Republic Executive Suites at 20283 State Road 7 in Boca Raton, Florida. Together with the Greater Boca Raton Chamber and Republic Executive Suites, KidSafe will be hosting a ribbon cutting event on Thursday, April 7 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at their new offices.   In conjunction with April being Child Abuse Prevention month, KidSafe has partnered with Mission Bay Self Storage, located within walking distance of the new office, to collaborate with their initiative of Pinwheels for Prevention, a national campaign offered by Prevent Child Abuse America.   Unlike a traditional ribbon cutting, this event will include a Pinwheels for Prevention Garden. The pinwheels will be displayed in a garden throughout the month of April at Mission Bay Self Storage, and Republic Executive Suites, fronting the highly traveled intersection of US-441 and Glades Road to help bring awareness to child abuse.   “We are grateful to Republic Executive Suites, Mission Bay Storage and the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce for their partnership in raising awareness of child abuse prevention. This partnership is exactly what our foundation is about,” says Cherie Benjoseph, Co-founder and Executive Director of Programs for KidSafe Foundation.   “RES has been in the community for 26 years and we have had first-hand experience with KidSafe and the work they do to keep children safe. I am excited to celebrate the amazing growth KidSafe has had in Florida.” Said Gina Barron, RES General Manager.   The official ribbon cutting ceremony will be at 5:15 p.m. but the event will host a wide range of refreshments and raffle prizes with a heavy focus on community and business networking. Video provided by BYL – Danielle Silverman # # # FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 3/28/2016 Contact:Sally Berenzweig 561-715-1077 info@kidsafefoundation.org # # #   About KidSafe Foundation: KidSafe Foundation protects children by preventing child sexual abuse, bullying and online exploitation through comprehensive education for children, parents, and professionals. For more information on this organization’s efforts, make a donation, or get involved, visit their website at www.kidsafefoundation.org or call (561) 715-1077.   ribbbon

KIDSAFE FOUNDATION RIBBON CUTTING

Roxana Aghassi grew up in Brooklyn, New York, received her BA in International Relations from Boston University and her M.B.A from St. John’s University.  Roxana has worked in companies such as Carter-Wallace, Inc. post3

KidSafe Hires Roxana Aghassi as new Office Coordinator

  cardoza     MEDIA ADVISORY [MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 1pm]   A press conference will be held to announce the formation of a coalition to ask President Obama and his Administration to institute a National Commission on the Sexual Abuse of Children.   While the Catholic bishops gather for their annual meeting in Baltimore, Catholic Whistleblowers, the dedicated clergy and former clergy of the Catholic Church dedicated to child protection will be in Washington DC to announce a newly formed coalition of child protection organizations seeking a National Commission on Child Sex Abuse, along the lines of the groundbreaking Australia Royal Commission on Institutional Abuse.  Following over a decade trying to work from the inside of the Catholic Church, the Catholic Whistleblowers are asking the President to institute a broad-ranging commission to study child sex abuse in all settings.   Over 25 groups join the Catholic Whistleblowers in their request:   American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) (Michael L. Haney) American Humanist Association (Roy Speckhart, Matt Bulger) Catholic Whistleblowers (Rev. Jim Connell, Tom Doyle, etc.) Child Friendly Faith Program  (Janet Heimlich) Child Justice, Inc.  (Eileen King) Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse (FACSA) (John Salveson) Foundation for Survivors of Abuse (FSA) (Deondra Brown) Horace Mann Action Coalition  (HMAC) (Peter Brooks) Justice4PaKids (Maureen Cislo) KidSafe Foundation (Sally Berenzweig) Lauren’s Kids (Claire VanSusteren) MaleSurvivor  (Christopher Anderson) National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (NAACSA) (Bill Murray) National Black Church Initiative  (NBCI) (Rev. Anthony Evans) National Center for Victims of Crime  (NCVC)(Jeff Dion) National Organization of Forensic Social Work (Viola Vaughan Eden) National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan (NPEIV) (Sandi Capuano Morrison) National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) Peaceful Hearts Foundation (Matt Sandusky) Road to Recovery (Robert Hoatson) SNAP   (David Clohessy, Barbara Blaine) Speaking Truth to Power (STTOP) Stop the Silence (Pamela Pine) Survivors and Clergy Leadership Alliance (Peter Isely) Together We Heal (David Pittman) Turning Point  (Kristen Woolley) Vertigo Charitable Foundation (Valerie Gibson) Voice Today (Angela Williams, Marlan Wilbanks)     WHEN:          Monday, November 16, 2015 1:00 pm     WHERE:         Lafayette Park (in front of White House) Washington, DC WHO:             Catholic Whistleblowers and over 25 organizations dedicated to child protection Professor Marci A. Hamilton Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University Senior Fellow, University of Pennsylvania Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society     Contact:   Marci A. Hamilton New York City and Philadelphia hamilton.marci@gmail.com (215) 353-8984   Dr. Robert M. Hoatson, Catholic Whistleblowers West Orange, NJ (862) 368-2800   Rev. James Connell Catholic Whistleblowers Milwaukee, WI (414) 940-8054     Bio   Marci A. Hamilton Marci Hamilton is one of the United States’ leading experts on child sex abuse in institutions and on access to justice for child sex abuse victims.  Professor Hamilton is a Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, Fox Leadership Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society, Philadelphia, PA, and holds the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.  She is a prolific author on the plight of child sex abuse victims in the legal system, including Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children (Cambridge University Press 2012).  Professor Hamilton clerked for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor of the United States Supreme Court.  

KidSafe Joins National Coalition of Child Protection Organizations

 

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                                                         November 11, 2015

 

The KidSafe Foundation Appoints Peter Oldbury to its Board of Directors

Peter Oldbury is the newest addition to KidSafe Foundation Nonprofit’s Board Whose Mission is Educating Children and Adults to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation.

 

Peter bio picBoca Raton, FL – The KidSafe Foundation, a Florida nonprofit working to provide parents and children with prevention education to children and adults to prevent child abuse, bullying and internet dangers, is pleased to announce the addition of Peter Oldbury to its Board of Directors.  

 

“We are thrilled to have Peter Oldbury join the KidSafe Foundation Board. Peter brings over 25 years of extensive experience in financial services to the KidSafe Board. His strength is Wealth Management with high net worth clients and his expertise in growing businesses, relationship and securing funding will be a huge asset for KidSafe Foundation. We feel extremely lucky to have someone of his caliber join our mission." said Sally Berenzweig,  Cofounder KidSafe Foundation

 

I am deeply honored to have been elected to the board of KidSafe Foundation. Having seen the great work that this organization does in the community, I am excited for the opportunity to work with such a group of wonderful people that are so giving of their time and resources.  As the parent of a young daughter, I cannot imagine a greater cause than helping make the lives of our children safer. Through my business and personal relationships, I look forward to adding value to the Foundation by sharing their mission.

said Peter Oldbury, CFP Vice President Merrill Lynch Banking Adviser

 

About KidSafe Foundation

 

The KidSafe Foundation is a 501c3 Florida Nonprofit protecting children from child sexual abuse, bullying and internet exploitation by providing education to children, parents, teachers, professionals and other caring adults. KidSafe has taught over 47,000 children and has brought their education to over 18,000 adults. To learn more about The KidSafe Foundation or to order KidSafe books please visit http://www.KidSafeFoundation.org

 

About Peter Oldbury

After graduating with an Honors degree in Economics from De Montfort University in Leicester, England, Pete has spent the last 25 years in financial services. He managed a local Mortgage Banking firm for 15 years overseeing sales, operations, underwriting and secondary market securitization.  For the last 8 years Pete has worked in Wealth Management as a Private Banker, handling the credit and banking needs of high net worth clients.  He holds the industry designation of Certified Financial Planner®. Outside of work, Pete tutors foster children as a part of the Best Foot Forward organization. He is married to Julie for 12 years and is active in the Dads’ and Daughters’ program “Indian Princesses” with his 10 year old daughter Chloe. Pete enjoys golf and is an avid soccer fan.

 

 

KidSafe Appoints Peter Oldbury to their Board of Directors

Something is happening in Florida…something very dangerous, very wrong, and it involves our children and youth. Child sex trafficking – the very phrase makes people tend to look the other way and believe their children could never be victimized by such crimes. Yet these crimes are happening in our own communities and to our own children. Our kids are not for sale – and the more we understand this world of child sex trafficking, the better we can prevent it. Here are the facts: Here are a few important facts to keep in mind about child sex trafficking: Up to 300,000 American children are lured into the commercial sex trade every year. The average age a child is trafficked is just 11 years old. 90% of child sex traffic victims have a sexual abuse history. With these alarming statistics, where do we begin in the battle to keep our children safe from trafficking?  Since 90% of child sex traffic victims have a sexual abuse history, doesn’t it make sense that we safeguard all children with education and knowledge at an early age so they never become abuse victims in the first place? Prevention education is key. Children are educated about fire safety, and pool safety.  They learn to call 911 in emergencies. They are taught about stranger danger. But what are we teaching them about adults in their lives who may intend to harm them? Often, we teach them to trust and obey the very adults who end up abusing or exploiting them.stop_the_abuse KidSafe Foundation is one such organization that provides prevention education to children, parents, teachers, and other care-taking adults. With the teaching approach of fun, not fear, children ages 4-11 learn the important concepts of safe touch/unsafe touch, circle of safe adults, check first, and a host of other critical life safety skills. The adults in their lives also receive training on how to speak to the children in a language of safety that is comfortable, age-appropriate and consistent. This adult component of the training is crucial – is it fair to place all the responsibility of safety and prevention on our kids? How can we expect them to speak up when many adults aren’t comfortable or aren’t quite sure how to advocate for these children? It is our responsibility as adults to protect children in every way possible, and education is the first step. Imagine if every child in this country received some kind of prevention education like this? Now imagine someone trying to lure a KidSafe-educated teen. This teen would understand red flag signals, a safety voice, and talking with someone in his or her circle of safe adults. Even a little hesitation on a child’s part could dissuade a trafficker from pursuing him or her. We all need to send a strong message to people everywhere – our kids are not for sale! We care, and we will do everything in our power to protect them. Come hear KidSafe speak on November 14, 2015 at PTA Health & Wellness Summit.  For more information about KidSafe www.kidsafefoundation.org

“Our Kids Are Not For Sale”

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FACT: Emotional and mental health problems are often the first consequence and sign of child sexual abuse."]
Children who are sexually abused are at significantly greater risk for later posttraumatic stress and other anxiety symptoms depression and suicide attempts. These psychological problems can lead to significant disruptions in normal development and often have a lasting impact, leading to dysfunction and distress well into adulthood. Behavioral problems, including physical aggression, non-compliance, and oppositionality occur frequently among sexually abused children and adolescents. Child sexual abuse has been linked to higher levels of risk behaviors.

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="FACT: Sexual behavior problems and over-sexualized behavior are a very common consequence of child sexual abuse."]
Age-inappropriate behavior can be a very important and telling sign that abuse is occurring. Children who have been sexually abused have over three times as many sexual behavior problems as children who have not been sexually abused. Victims of child sexual abuse are more likely to be sexually promiscuous.

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="FACT: Academic problems in childhood are a common symptom of sexual abuse."]
Sexually abused children tended to perform lower on psychometric tests measuring cognitive ability, academic achievement, and memory assessments when compared to same-age non-sexually abused cohorts. Studies indicate that sexual abuse exposure among children and adolescents is associated with high school absentee rates, more grade retention, increased need for special education services and difficulty with school adaptation.

39% of 7 to 12-year-old girls with a history of child sexual abuse had academic difficulties.

7 to 12 year-old girls with a history of child sexual abuse were 50% more likely to display cognitive ability below the 25th percentile.

26% of 7 to 12 year-old girls with a history of child sexual abuse reported that their grades dropped after they were abused and 48% had below-average grades. A history of child sexual abuse significantly increases the chance of dropping out of school.
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FACT: Substance abuse problems beginning in childhood or adolescence are some of the most common consequences of child sexual abuse."]
A number of studies have found that adolescents with a history of child sexual abuse demonstrate a three to fourfold increase in rates of substance abuse/dependence. Drug abuse is more common than alcohol abuse for adolescent child sexual abuse victims.
Age of onset for non-experimental drug use was 14.4 years old for victims, compared to
15.1 years old for non-victimized youth. Adolescents were 2 to 3 times more likely to have an alcohol use/dependence problem than non-victims.

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="FACT: Delinquency and crime, often stemming from substance abuse, are more prevalent in adolescents with a history of child sexual abuse."]
Adolescents who were sexually abused have a 3 to 5-fold risk of delinquency.
Behavioral problems, including physical aggression, non-compliance, and oppositionality occur frequently among sexually abused children and adolescents. These emotional and behavioral difficulties can lead to delinquency, poor school performance and dropping out of school.
Adolescents that reported victimization (i.e., sexual abuse or physical abuse) were more likely to be arrested than their non-abused peers. Sexually abused children were nearly twice as likely to run away from home.

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="FACT: The risk of teen pregnancy is much higher for girls with a history of child sexual abuse."]
The increased risk for pregnancy at a young age is likely due to over-sexualized behavior, another common consequence of child sexual abuse.

Girls who are sexually abused are 2.2 times as likely as non-abused peers to become teen mothers.

45% of pregnant teens report a history of child sexual abuse.

Males who are sexually abused are more likely than their non-abused peers to impregnate a teen. In fact, several studies indicate that the sexual abuse of boys is a stronger risk factor for teen pregnancy than the sexual abuse of girls.

What are the long-term consequences of child sexual abuse? Child sexual abuse has lasting consequences for victims. The real tragedy is that it robs children of their potential, setting into motion a chain of events and decisions that affect them throughout their lives.
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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="FACT: Substance abuse problems are a common consequence for adult survivors of child sexual abuse."]
Female adult survivors of child sexual abuse are nearly three times more likely to report substance use problems (40.5% versus 14% in general population). Male adult CSA victims are 2.6 times more likely to report substance use problems (65% versus 25% in general population).
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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="FACT: Mental health problems are a common long-term consequence of child sexual abuse."]
Adult women who were sexually abused as a child are more than twice as likely to suffer from depression as women who were not sexually abused.

Adults with a history of child sexual abuse are more than twice as likely to report a suicide attempt.
Females who are sexually abused are three times more likely to develop psychiatric disorders than females who are not sexually abused.

Among male survivors, more than 70% seek psychological treatment for issues such as substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide.

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="FACT: Obesity and eating disorders are more common in women who have a history of child sexual abuse."]
Adolescents who were sexually abused have a 3 to 5-fold risk of delinquency.
20 – 24 year-old women who were sexually abused as children were four times more likely than their non-abused peers to be diagnosed with an eating disorder.

Middle-aged women who were sexually abused as children were twice as likely to be obese when compared with their non-abused peers.

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="FACT: Child sexual abuse is also associated with physical health problems in adulthood. It is theorized that this is a consequence of the substance abuse, mental health issues and other consequences that survivors of child sexual abuse face."]
Generally, adult victims of child sexual abuse have higher rates of health care utilization and report significantly more health complaints compared to adults without a child sexual abuse history. This is true for both self-reported doctor’s visits and objective examination of medical records. These health problems represent a burden both to the survivor and the healthcare system. Adult survivors of child sexual abuse are at greater risk of a wide range of conditions that are non-life threatening and are potentially psychosomatic in nature. These include fibromyalgia, severe premenstrual syndrome, chronic headaches, irritable bowel syndrome and a wide range of reproductive and sexual health complaints, including excessive bleeding, amenorrhea, pain during intercourse and menstrual irregularity.

Not only do survivors of child sexual abuse have more minor health conditions, they are at greater risk for more serious conditions as well.

*****Adults with a history of child sexual abuse are 30% more likely than their nonabused peers to have a serious medical condition such as diabetes, cancer, heart problems, stroke or hypertension.

Male sexual abuse survivors have twice the HIV-infection rate of non-abused males. In a study of HIV-infected 12 to 20 year olds, 41% reported a sexual abuse history.

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="FACT: Adult survivors of child sexual abuse are more likely to become involved in crime, both as a perpetrator and as a victim. This is likely a product of a higher risk for substance abuse problems and associated lifestyle factors."]
Adult survivors are more than twice as likely to be arrested for a property offense than their non-abused peers (9.3% versus 4.4%).

As adults, child sexual abuse victims were almost twice as likely to be arrested for a violent offense as the general population (20.4% versus 10.7%).

Males who have been sexually abused are more likely to violently victimize others.

Child sexual abuse has lasting consequences for societies. When the prevalence of child sexual abuse is combined with its economic burden, the results are staggering.

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="FACT: Child sexual abuse is a public health problem of enormous consequence."]
The CDC recently estimated the lifetime burden of a new substantiated of nonfatal child maltreatment to be $210,012 per victim.

This includes immediate costs, as well as loss of productivity and increased healthcare costs in adulthood. While this estimate is for all forms of child maltreatment, there is evidence that the consequences of child sexual abuse are equivalent or greater than the consequences of other forms of child maltreatment.
This estimate is comparable to that of many other high profile public health problems, indicating the impact and seriousness of the issue of child maltreatment. For example, the lifetime costs of stroke per person were estimated at $159,846 (2010 dollars).The total lifetime costs associated with type 2 diabetes were estimated between $181,000 and $253,000 (2010 dollars) per case.

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References:

Townsend, C. (2013). Prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse compared with other childhood experiences. Charleston, S.C., Darkness to Light. Retrieved from www.D2L.org. Sedlak, A.J., Mettenburg, J., Basena, M., Petta, I., McPherson, K., Greene, A., and Li, S. (2010). Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS–4): Report to Congress, Executive Summary. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.

Finkelhor, D., & Jones, L. (2012). Have sexual abuse and physical abuse declined since the 1990s? Durham, NH: Crimes against Children Research Center.http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/pdf/CV267_Have%20SA%20%20PA%20Decline_FACT%20SHEET_11-7-12.pdf London, K., Bruck, M., Ceci, S., & Shuman, D. (2003) Disclosure of child sexual abuse: What does the research tell us about the ways that children tell? Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 11(1), 194-226. Ullman, S. E. (2007). Relationship to perpetrator, disclosure, social reactions, and PTSD symptoms in child sexual abuse survivors. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 16(1), 19-36. Broman-Fulks, J. J., Ruggiero, K. J., Hanson, R. F., Smith, D. W., Resnick, H. S., Kilpatrick, D. G., & Saunders, B. E. (2007). Sexual assault disclosure in relation to adolescent mental health: Results from the National Survey of Adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 36, 260 – 266.

Smith, D. W., Letourneau, E. J., Saunders, B. E., Kilpatrick, D. G., Resnick, H. S., & Best, C. L. (2000). Delay in disclosure of childhood rape: Results from a national survey. Child Abuse & Neglect, 24, 273 – 287. Snyder, H. N. (2000). Sexual assault of young children as reported to law enforcement: Victim, incident, and offender characteristics.
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved January 12, 2009 fromhttp://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/saycrle.pdf National Crime Victimization Survey, Statistic calculated by staff at Crimes against Children Research Center. 2002.

Greenfeld, L.A. (1997). Sex Offenses and Offenders An Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, NCJ-163392 Finkelhor, D. (2012). Characteristics of crimes against juveniles. Durham, NH: Crimes against Children Research Center. Whealin, J. (2007-05-22). “Child Sexual Abuse”. National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, US Department of Veterans Affairs.

Why KidSafe?

  hoffmans

 HOFFMAN’S CHOCOLATES REWARDS 6,000 CHILDREN WITH FREE ICE CREAM

Partnership with KidSafe Foundation benefits

Elementary & Preschool students for completing program

 

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (August, 2015) – Hoffman’s Chocolates is giving kids a treat through its partnership with non-profit organization KidSafe Foundation. The chocolatier is proud to be an active member of the community and is excited to provide a free ice cream cone to nearly 6,000 children who will complete the KidSafe for Kids program in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, as well as Central Florida.

 

The KidSafe for Kids program is an eight-week curriculum designed for children in grades PreK4 through fifth grade. Children participating in the program will learn important safety skills through fun not fear using developmentally appropriate techniques such as role play, song, art, discussion and the foundation’s two award-winning children’s books, “My Body is Special and Belongs to Me!” and “Jack Teaches His Friends to be KidSafe!”

 

“It is such a pleasure to reward our future generations for participating in this great program,” said Lois Marino, Director of Marketing with Hoffman’s Chocolates. “Hoffman’s Chocolates is proud to partner with KidSafe and looks forward to an ongoing relationship.”

 

Celebrating their 40th Anniversary this year, Hoffman’s Chocolates is dedicated to the community in which they serve. With eight locations throughout Broward and Palm Beach Counties, Hoffman’s Chocolates continues to use the time-honored tradition of candy making with the finest and freshest ingredients. The children who complete the KidSafe program will be able to redeem their free ice cream cone at any Hoffman’s Chocolates location.

 

“We’re so excited to add this special incentive to participating children,” said KidSafe Co-founder and Executive Director Sally Berenzweig. “Hoffman’s Chocolates has truly been a great organization to work with.”

 

KidSafe Foundation was founded in 2009 by Sally Berenzweig and Cherie Benjoseph, both of whom are child safety experts, mental health professionals, educators, authors, public speakers and moms. This non-profit organization strives to prevent child abuse through awareness and prevention education programs at schools and child care agencies across South Florida.

   

Hoffman’s Chocolates is a subsidiary of BBX Sweet Holdings that is part of the BBX Capital family. BBX Capital Foundation donated $2500 to KidSafe Foundation to help provide Child Sexual Abuse Prevention programming for children and adults in Broward County Title One Elementary Schools.

 

About Hoffman’s Chocolates

Headquartered in Greenacres, Florida, Hoffman's Chocolates, a subsidiary of BBX Sweet Holdings, is a manufacturer of gourmet chocolates, with several retail locations throughout South Florida. The tradition of legendary chocolates began 40 years ago in a small chocolate shop in Lake Worth with a commitment to use the finest and freshest ingredients from around the world. The Hoffman's Chocolates Factory is a popular tourist destination where guests from all over the world are greeted by the aroma of slow-simmering chocolate and caramel and watch the art of candy making first hand at its observation windows. The company is notable for its elaborate December holiday displays, including the Hoffman's Holiday Wonderland, and products such as gift baskets and chocolate covered pretzels. Other extraordinary creations include the "Snoodle" and “Pecan Caramel Jitterbugs."

 

 

Hoffman's product lines includes over 70 varieties of confections all handmade using time honored traditions of candy making, plus Kosher O-U chocolates. Hoffman’s Chocolates is available via its retail store locations, thru online distribution channels and by direct shipping throughout the U.S. It has been a favorite local brand for residents throughout Florida. For more information, please visit www.Hoffmans.com. BBX Sweet Holdings is a 100% owned subsidiary of BBX Capital (NYSE:BBX).

 

About BBX Capital Foundation

The BBX Capital Foundation (formerly the BankAtlantic Foundation) was created in 1994 as a 501(c)(3) corporate foundation. Since then, the Foundation has awarded millions of dollars to charitable organizations throughout the state of Florida. The BBX Capital Foundation focuses on three key areas: the arts, education and human services. It considers requests for specific projects, as well as for general programs.

 

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Media Contact

Kip Hunter Marketing – 954-765-1329

Aimee Adler | Michelle Hawthorn | Melissa Sweredoski

aimee@kiphuntermarketing.com | michelle@kiphuntermarketing.com | melissa@kiphuntermarketing.com

 

Hoffman’s Chocolates is Helping to Keep KidSafe!

Jared Fogel

With the recent news that longtime Subway sandwich pitchman Jared Fogle has agreed to plead guilty to allegations that he paid for sex acts with minors and received child abuse images that he knew had been secretly produced by the former director of his charitable foundation, we at KidSafe Foundation could not let this moment pass without making this tragedy a teachable moment for all parents.

 

 We would like you to take this opportunity to raise your awareness of the dangers to your children both online and in the real world. There are a staggering 42 million adult survivors of abuse – 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually exploited before the reach the age of 18. 1 in 10 students will be the recipient of sexual misconduct by the hands of an educator – and 90% of children who are sex trafficked have a history of child sexual abuse. It makes us want to shout “Wake up world – we have an epidemic on our hands and what are we going to do about it? How can we keep our most precious citizens – the future leaders of this world safe?”

   

KidSafe has one answer…….EDUCATION. Who needs to be educated? All children, parents, teachers, professionals.

 

First children need to be taught they have the right to be safe. To say “no” to anyone (friend/adult/family member) that makes them feel confused, uncomfortable or unsafe. Just because it’s an adult does not mean blind obedience. Children need to be taught the difference between REPORTING and tattling. Reporting is going to a trusted adult about any safety issue.  Children need to understand the difference between a safe touch and unsafe touch, about good secrets and bad secrets and recognize 3 trusted adults they could go to if they had any kind of problem.

   

If something unsafe happens to a child we of course want them to be able to tell. But the burden of telling cannot and should not be placed on a child. This is where the education of all adults is crucial in protecting children. All adults need to be provided with sexual abuse prevention training so they understand the dangers, gain knowledge on signs and symptoms of a child in need, recognize when a child is being groomed by an offender, and understand the importance of REPORTING to authorities if they have a suspicion a child is being harmed. Every adult MUST be the first line of defense in a child’s safety.

Some tips for parents:

 

Monitor your children’s online world – it is a privilege not a right to use technology and if they want to use it – you need to monitor it. Communicate with your child about the dangers online and in the real world. Remember these are not one time conversations – but a series of conversations as a natural part of your parenting. Remember we are talking about prevention – don’t wait until you have a crisis – prevent a crisis from happening and discuss “What if” scenarios with your children.

 

95% of abuse and exploitation is preventable with education- what are you going to do right now to do your part in keeping children safe? It takes a village and we at KidSafe need your help and support to continue to provide crucial education to keep KidSafe.

 

Subway Pitchman Jared Fogle Pleads Guilty to Child Abuse – What YOU need to Know!

 

KidSafe-Gala-Promo-2016

  "KidSafe is beyond excited to honor Chris Hansen as KidSafe Foundation's "Child Advocate of the Year" at our 7th annual gala. Chris has done tremendous work to keep children safe online and in the real world. Years ago we read Chris's book "To Catch a Predator" and credit him with helping us develop KidSafe's internet safety curriculum. We are proud to be able to honor him in person, it feels as if we have come full circle." Said Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA Cofounder & Executive Director of KidSafe Foundation Chris Hansen is the host of the upcoming Discovery (ID) series Killer Instinct with Chris Hansen. Chris is the creator of Dateline NBC’s To Catch A Predator and was formerly a correspondent for "Now with Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric on NBC News. Chris is currently developing a syndicated program as well as digital content. Hansen has received numerous awards including eight Emmy's for investigative reporting, outstanding coverage of a news story and outstanding coverage of breaking news. He has received the Overseas Press club award, an IRE, the National Press Club award and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists Award. Hansen has also received awards for excellence in journalism from both the Associated Press and United Press International, and he has won four Edward R. Murrow awards for his news series investigating aviation security and safety as well as his coverage of the Ford/Firestone case. In September 2004, Hansen began his breakthrough investigative reporting on online sexual predators. Twelve dramatic hidden camera investigations have exposed over 250 men who target young teenagers over the Internet. He has received two Emmy Awards for his 2004 report on child sex trafficking in Cambodia for which he went undercover in a dramatic mission to rescue some of the children. He's been honored with three Clarion awards for his coverage Indian child slave labor, aviation security and the Unabomber case and a first place medal for an undercover investigation of airport security as well as numerous Headliner awards. Hansen graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor's degree from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

Chris Hansen To Be honored At KidSafe’s 7th Annual Gala 3/12/16

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

KidSafe Foundation Expands To Orlando, Florida

 

August 10, 2015– The KidSafe Foundation is proud to announce the opening of their new office in Orlando, Florida. Since 2009, KidSafe’s mission has been to make sure every child receives sexual abuse prevention programming and every adult is taught to be the first line of defense in a child’s safety. In Palm Beach and Broward Counties KidSafe has educated over 45,000 children and more than 18,000 adults. Research shows that 95% of abuse and exploitation of children is preventable through education. KidSafe believes that all children deserve a voice and to learn how to keep themselves safe, and every adult deserves to learn how best to protect their children. 

 

To further its mission to prevent child sexual abuse, bullying and internet dangers, KidSafe Foundation is expanding to Orlando, Florida. “The statistics regarding child sexual abuse are staggering. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually exploited before the age of 18. We are thrilled to expand to Orlando and be able to make an even greater impact in protecting children.” said Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA Cofounder & Executive Director of KidSafe Foundation.

 

This new expansion marks the third KidSafe location in Florida. Andrea Clemens, MSW, author, public speaker, activist and KidSafe Certified Trainer, will head the new office. Ms. Clemens adds “I am thrilled to bring the KidSafe programs into Central Florida. There is no denying that there is a growing need for prevention education for our children, parents and teachers. I am excited that the Orlando community will now be empowered, find their voices, and have the opportunity for children to live safer lives - free from abuse.” For more information, please call 855-844-SAFE (7233) or contact Andrea Clemens by email at: Andrea@kidsafefoundation.org

 

About Andrea Clemens

Andrea received her master’s degree in clinical social work from Boston University and has been educating school faculty, students, administrators, parenting groups, mentors, and the general public about educator sexual abuse for over ten years. She is the author of Invisible Target: Breaking the Cycle of Educator Sexual Abuse. Andrea has participated in both local and national radio and television shows, including the Montel Williams Show and Fox News Live.  

 

About KidSafe Foundation

KidSafe is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in 2009 by Sally Berenzweig MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph LCSW – child safety experts, mental health professionals, educators, authors, public speakers, and moms on a mission to keep all children safe from child sexual abuse, bullying and internet dangers.  KidSafe has taught over 40,000 children and has educated over 15,000 adults in sexual abuse prevention, internet dangers and bullying prevention programs. For more information about KidSafe Foundation, visit www.KidSafeFoundation.org

 

Contact: Sally Berenzweig - Cofounder & Executive Director KidSafe Foundation

Sallyb@kidsafefoundation.org

561-715-1077

 

KidSafe Expands To Orlando, Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ~ June 22, 2015

 

KidSafe Foundation Receives Matching Grant Challenge from the Salah Foundation to Bring Safety Programs to Title One Elementary Schools in Broward County.

 

Boca Raton, FL—KidSafe Foundation (www.kidsafefoundation.org) has received a generous grant from the Salah Foundation to bring child safety and prevention education programs to Broward County elementary schools. KidSafe will use the grant to provide Title One Elementary Schools with the KidSafe for Kids safety education programs that aim to prevent child sexual abuse, bullying, and internet dangers.  Each recipient school will receive a parent seminar, a teacher workshop, and eight-week program for students in Kindergarten and Second Grades.

 

“We thank the Salah Foundation for providing us with a matching grant challenge. We were able to match their generous grant and it will provide us the opportunity to extend our child safety programs to many more Broward County schools. Ninety five percent of abuse and exploitation of children is preventable with education and we are grateful that we have the opportunity to reach many more children, parents and teachers.” said Sally Berenzweig, KidSafe Foundation Co-founder

 

“We applaud KidSafe for their reach in the community and their ability to solidify our matching challenge grant.  Every child deserves the right to be educated and learn the skills to keep themselves safe. The Salah Foundation is proud to support KidSafe in their work with children and adults to prevent child abuse, bullying and internet dangers.”  George Taylor, Esq., Salah Foundation Board Member

 

About KidSafe Foundation

KidSafe is a 501c3 nonprofit founded by Sally Berenzweig MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph LCSW – child safety experts, mental health professionals, educators, authors, public speakers, and moms on a mission to keep all children safe from child abuse, bullying and internet dangers. KidSafe has taught over 45,000 children and have provided KidSafe programs to over 18,000 adults.

 

About The Salah Foundation The Salah Foundation is a private foundation that supports non-profit organizations in the United States that strengthen families and communities and advances individuals to become productive and responsible citizens.  There is a special interest in education, medical research, community development and self-sufficiency programs aimed at the economically disadvantaged, the young, the elderly and the disabled.  Select organization will be invited to apply for funding.  To learn more about the Salah Foundation please visit their website www.salahfoundation.org

KidSafe Receives Matching Grant Challenge from The Salah Foundation

  What's the Worst Type of Sexual Abuse?  Since I started speaking out on sexual abuse at the age of 16, the response I have received from most people is positive. There are those who have felt a connection to my story; shared the similar pain and shame; those who didn't realize how much the abuse affected them until years later; and those who have never told a single soul about the abuse they survived.  Whatever their story was, there was some of sort of connection that we had experienced a violation, not just of the body, but of the mind and spirit.   However, with positive feedback, there oftentimes will be someone who doesn't resonate with my story or doesn't appreciate why I chose to share my story. In particular, after an article had been published about me and the work I've done concerning sexual abuse, someone accused me of just using the abuse to "get my name out there and that my abuse wasn't nearly as bad as others so my story wasn't as legitimate." What this person said did not hurt me. I certainly understood the frustration that perhaps I had not experienced traumatic enough abuse compared to others. There were several times when I heard stories recounted to me after giving a presentation that would absolutely break my heart. It made me question how someone could ever go back to trusting anyone or cultivating a normal and healthy relationship and also how resilient the human spirit must be in order to survive such trauma.  It did make question: how bad does the abuse need to be in order to make it legitimate? What are the requirements for someone to think you've been abused enough in order to speak about the abuse in a way that details the effects it had on you?  I've experienced three assaults on different levels that each affected me in a different way, but also had similar side effects: a molestation that took place over six months when I was 9; a rape at 16; a rape at 18. All three took place with different people. All took place in difference settings. One took place because I didn't know the abuse was abuse; the other took place because I went to an older man's house and he took advantage of my vulnerability; and the other took place because I put myself in an extremely dangerous situation that I could not physically break free from.  I've heard stories of men or women getting mutilated, gang raped, physically beaten and sexually assaulted by a family member. I've heard stories of their rapes getting taped and shared with others. I've heard of people getting sexually assaulted and felt even more helpless and assaulted as others stood by and cheered the rapist on and did nothing to stop the assault.  Every story is different. There is no point in trying to trivialize the abuse someone went through or make it seem like someone "wasn't abused enough" to make their story legitimate.  The symptoms people experience after a sexual assault are similar, no matter what type of assault took place:

  • Depression
  • Flashbacks
  • Self-harm
  • Inability to trust others
  • Anger
  • Shame
  • Helplessness 
  • Self-blame/guilt for the abuse that took place
  • Inability to build health sexual relationships 
These are just a few of the side effects of sexual assault, regardless of the abuse that took place.  Abuse is traumatic. It hurts. It's scary. It's more than just a transgression: it is a literal rape of the soul. How one deals with it and how one is affected by it is completely different from one person to the next. To compare the trauma of one person to another does nothing to diminish the shame that comes along with sexual assault.  After contemplating the question about if my abuse justified speaking out about, I came to a resolution that my story is worth sharing. Too many people have resonated with my story that stepping down and staying silent would do nothing in helping end the shame that many people feel after sexual assault.  I encourage you that if you or someone you know has been abused, to not compare your trauma to someone else's. Instead, if you're able to find a safe place to discuss the abuse, try to find similarities where you can draw from each other strength and resilience and know that you are not alone in your pain, guilt, shame, or hurt. Find common ground to help end the stigma that comes with sexual assault in society.  We are all survivors together in our abuse despite the differences in our stories. Let us unite in the pain and find a way to strengthen each other through it.

Guest Blog from Golf Pro Anya Alvarez

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                      

February 2, 2015                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

The Asofsky Family Foundation Awards KidSafe Foundation a Major Grant to implement a Pilot Project of “Train the Facilitator” for Palm Beach County Professionals working with children.

 

Boca Raton – KidSafe Foundation has been awarded a grant from The Asofsky Family Foundation to implement a “Train the Facilitator” pilot project for professionals working with children in Palm Beach County. This program will allow Palm Beach County School Personnel and other Child Serving Professionals to become trained as KidSafe Certified Facilitators.  Upon completion of the year-long training the participants will become certified to teach KidSafe at their respective schools and organizations.

 

“We greatly appreciate The Asofsky Family Foundation awarding KidSafe with a major grant. KidSafe Foundation has grown over 30% in one year. Due to our remarkable growth our programs have been widely sought after. Thanks to this grant, KidSafe can now train professionals to become certified to provide KidSafe at their organizations and sustain the programs.”  Sally Berenzweig Cofounder and Executive Director of KidSafe Foundation

   

“Since 2009, we have worked closely with KidSafe Foundation and have been supportive of their programs to prevent child sexual abuse, bullying and Internet dangers. This program has been approved and reviewed by The Safe and Drug –Free Schools Advisory Council.  The curriculum has helped promote a safe culture for students. Karen Whetsell, Assistant Superintendent, School District of Palm Beach County.

 

“We are proud to support KidSafe Foundation with this pilot project. This support increases the ability of KidSafe to serve more children, parents and teachers in our community.” Mark Asofsky Director of the Asofsky Family Foundation

 

About KidSafe Foundation

KidSafe is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in 2009 by Sally Berenzweig MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph LCSW – child safety experts, mental health professionals, educators, authors, public speakers, and moms on a mission to keep all children safe from child sexual abuse, bullying and internet dangers.  KidSafe has taught over 40,000 children and has educated over 15,000 adults in sexual abuse prevention, internet dangers and bullying prevention programs. For more information about KidSafe Foundation, visit www.KidSafeFoundation.org

KidSafe Awarded Major Grant from The Asofsky Family Foundation

anya alvarez with KidSafe Golf bag

 

I remember sitting in the police station as an officer started asking me questions about what had happened to me. I was 9-years-old and felt confused. I had no idea what was happening or why. All I had done was tell my dad that Gilbert, a close family friend, had touched me and that it made me feel a cross between violated and unsure if it was normal behavior. 

 

I did not understand the extent of how and why it was wrong. All I knew is that the situation felt strange. I didn't start to feel that way until 6 months after he had started molesting me. 

 

As the investigation continued, details started to come out that this wasn't the first time that Gilbert had been accused of assaulting children. While he worked as a janitor at McDonalds parents often complained about his behavior towards their children. When he worked as a bus driver for the elementary schools, a few parents complained their daughters would come home much later than when the bus was supposed to arrive. 

 

For whatever reason no one ever reported anything to the police. No one ever pressed charges. They remained silent and decided that as long as their child was protected from the abuse it did not matter.  This did not seem to have an affect on me at the time because as a child everything that took place felt disorienting. 

 

As years went by, after the trial and after Gilbert was released from jail, I couldn't help but think that had those parents actually pressed charges,  I would have been spared from the hands of Gilbert. I experienced a lot of traumas as a teenager. My self-worth was nonexistent, I often felt suicidal, and struggled developing healthy relationships with men. I was unaware of how the sexual abuse affected me until years later. 

 

Obviously, the past is the past.  However, it doesn't take away the responsibility those parents had in protecting other children. Here's the deal: if you saw a fire you wouldn't just stand there and let it burn the rest of the city down. You would call the fire-department and tell them, "Hey! There is a fire over here and people are going to get hurt! Come put it out!"

 

That's the way child sexual abuse needs to be addressed. An abuser never just has one victim. An abuser has several, if not dozens upon dozens. A study done showed that male offenders who abused girls had an average of 52 victims each. 

 

Silence is the worst enemy society faces when it comes to child sexual abuse. If we look at the Penn State scenario and the fact that people were aware that Jerry Sandusky was molesting and raping young men, yet they said nothing, they were saying with their inaction that the abuse taking place was permitted and that these children did not need protecting nor did any of Sandusky's future victims. 

 

Silence empowers the abuser. It encourages them to keep abusing because they know many are afraid to speak. I encourage all parents to give their children who have been victims of sexual abuse a voice. Empower them with the option of pressing charges against their abuser. Empower them to know that using their voice will be saving other children from the same abuse. 

 

Give children the chance to be part of the solution to help bring an end to child sexual abuse. Give children a voice to know why certain behaviors are wrong and why it's important to help bring an end to child sexual abuse. Abusers want to believe they have power: it's just as important to take that power away from them. 

Silence EMPOWERS the Abuser – Guest Post By Pro Golfer Anya Alvarez

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Contact form 2

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My Creation

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Guitar Music

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Park Games

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Get Together

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Toddler Care

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With Friends

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Leisure Time

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Trendy Kids

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School Days

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Toddler Style

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Guitar Music

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Let’s Rock

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Spectaculous

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Polka Frock

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Lavender Frills

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Stripe Colors

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Its trendy

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My Style

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Ellents Grade

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Get Ready for Adventure

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Music Hour

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Your Innovations

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Play Time

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Karate Kid

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Our School

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Our Approach

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Active Learning

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Fly with me

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Swim Lesson

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Summer Fun

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KidSafe Foundation:

a 501c3 Non Profit 855-844-SAFE

Broward Address:

5944 Coral Ridge Drive[brs]Suite #241[brs]Coral Springs, FL 33076

Palm Beach Address:

20283 State Road 7[brs]Suite # 300[brs]Boca Raton, FL 33498

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Contact Us

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Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA Cofounder/Executive Director KidSafe Foundation

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Cherie Benjoseph MSW, LCSW Child Safety Expert, Author, Cofounder KidSafe Foundation

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The KidSafe Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization began specifically to protect children from child sexual abuse, bullying and internet exploitation. Since 2009, KidSafe has provided comprehensive prevention education programs to children, parents, educators, and professionals.  Cofounders, Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW, utilized their extensive backgrounds as child safety experts, mental health professionals, educators, authors, public speakers, and moms with over 50 years of combined experience to develop effective prevention education programs. The KidSafe curriculum focuses on awareness, identification, protocols for reporting abuse, and clear strategies for prevention. KidSafe programs, educational materials, tips, online adult training and their Safe and Smart book series all help break down difficult topics in a fun, age appropriate manner and empowers children and their guardians with tools, language and skills they need to stay safe.

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[dt_sc_tab title="Mission:"]
KidSafe provides preventive education to children and adults, empowering them with skills that create a safe society free from sexual abuse, bullying and internet exploitation.
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[dt_sc_tab title="Philosophy:"]
Empowered children become powerful adults.

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In School Program:

“KidSafe for Kids” –an 8-week curriculum designed for children in grades PreK4 – 5th grade. Children learn important safety skills through fun not fear, using developmentally appropriate techniques such as role play, song, art, discussion and the foundation’s two award winning children’s books; “My Body is Special and Belongs to Me!” and “Jack Teaches his Friends to be KidSafe!” (books available in English, Spanish & Creole)

Cherie’s experience which led her to start KidSafe can be found in her blog:
“She seemed “perfect” but something was wrong http://t.co/z9XtnOV

Sally’s experience which led her to start KidSafe can be found in her blog:
“How well do you know your babysitter?” http://t.co/3U9Or4g

“The goal of KidSafe programs and materials is to empower children that they have the right to be safe, to have a voice and learn how to access help. No child should ever have to endure abuse of any kind.”

Sexual Abuse Prevention Training’s:

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    Police Departments

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    Foster Care Agencies

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    Camps

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    After School Programs

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    Child Care

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    Schools

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    Places of Worship

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    Clubs

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    Organizations

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About Us

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KidSafe For Parents

Learn about Parent Seminar Options and Parenting Tips for keeping Your Children Safe.

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KidSafe In Schools

KidSafe Provides Programs to Preschools, Elementary Schools, Child Care Organizations and Middle Schools.

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Video Library

Watch KidSafe educational videos for adults on all topics of safety including sexual abuse prevention, bullying and internet safety.

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Award Winning Books!

Bring the learning home or to your school with KidSafe’s 2 Children’s books.

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Read Our Blog

Read our Blog about current issues all parents face regarding the safety of their children. Looking for a particular topic? Visit our Blog Archive.

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KidSafe has taught prevention education to 50,000+  children and over 20,000+ parents, teachers, counselors and professionals.

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A few safety tips for you this holiday season:

  Along with the wonder and excitement of the upcoming holidays, comes some increased stress and worry.To alleviate some of the stress caused by traveling with the kids and/or having family and friends in from out of town – KidSafe suggests you think about implementing a few simple safety guidelines within your family to avoid some vacation pitfalls. Sit down as a family before your trip or before relatives and friends come into town and have a conversation involving the following: 1. Creepy Relatives Be aware of relatives that make you or your child uncomfortable: Often parents have expressed to us that they are heading to visit family for the holidays and they have a concern about their child’s safety around a certain adult. They can’t quite put their finger on it, nothing concrete has occurred, but a certain relative makes them uncomfortable and they don’t want their children alone with this adult. How do you handle this without insulting the relative or creating a riff in the family? First and foremost, always and we mean ALWAYS pay attention to your intuition!! You are the first line of defense in the safety of your child. Always err on the side of protecting your child. If that means you are watching your child perhaps more vigilantly than usual, explain to your child that as nice and fun as this particular relative or any other relative may be, you must “Check First” before going anywhere with him or her. So what should you do in the unfortunate event that you have someone in your family that you know is definitely unsafe? Obviously you would prefer your children to never be around this type of person, but sometimes the holidays necessitate proximity. For older children, explain that this particular relative or friend of the family is someone you do not trust and you do not want them to be alone with them at any point during this visit. For younger children your eyes need to be on them. Trusting your intuition means that you keep a watchful eye on your children or perhaps not attend the event. And of course, if you are a witness to any type of abuse, or a child reports it to you – take it seriously and don’t hesistate to tell the proper authorities. 2. Hugs and Kisses What if your child does not want to hug or kiss a relative or friend? Please do not force your child. When we force children to hug and kiss or touch an adult that they don’t want to, we are sending them a very clear message that the wants and needs of the adult are more important than your child’s. Empower your children that their bodies belong to them, and although they should be polite, they do not have to hug/kiss/touch anyone if they don’t want to. Our children’s book – My Body is Special and Belongs To ME! (a 2011 Literary Classics Award Winner) – educates children and parents about this concept, and teaches children that they have rights over their bodies. Children are more vulnerable when they are alone. We want to stress the importance of children using the Buddy System when out and about. Even though you may think you already do this, take the time to have a direct conversation about what the Buddy System means. Kids often need concrete examples to understand our expectations. 3. Communication Communication between the adults should be very clear about who is watching the child. We cannot tell you how many times a child goes missing at a theme park or public place, and one spouse turns to the other and says in a panic, “I thought you had your eye on her.”   4.  Public Restrooms Set guidelines before any trip that children of all ages will use the public restrooms only when accompanied by an adult. Please take this precaution especially at highway rest stops and large venues. This of course applies to young children but it also can apply to your 10-year-old son entering the woman’s room with you and vice-versa with a dad traveling alone with his daughter. Have these conversations before the trip so your children understand the expectations and will not be resistant once you are at the crowded bathrooms. 5. Getting Lost Introduce the concept of “Check First.” Say to your children, “We are going to be visiting with family, going sightseeing, etc and I don’t want to lose any of you.” (Humor works great when talking about personal safety). “With that said, kids you might see something that catches your eye while we are walking in the city, for example. Do not stop to look, and do not go in a different direction without Checking First. That means you walk right up to me (or other designated trusted adult) and tell us what you want to do. We will then say yes or no. This will help us avoid getting separated. Also, when we are at the hotel and you want to go visit your cousins in their room, etc – you don’t go anywhere without Checking First with us.” Tell your child that if by chance they do get lost, the safest person to seek help from is another mom with children. Then, explain to kids step by step what they should do. “If you can’t find us, stay exactly where you are and look for a mom with kids and say ‘I am lost, can you please help me?'” Make sure your children know all of the appropriate cell phone numbers. For young children and children with special needs, place a laminated ID card (make it yourself) with their information on it as well as two cell phone numbers where you can be reached and stick it in the bottom of their shoe. Tell your children that if they get separated from you, they should never ever leave the place they’re at, no matter what anyone says. One final guideline that is good to implement during vacation, and quite frankly, all the time, is that when having visitors or visiting elsewhere – when playing in a room all doors stay open and no playing in the parent’s bedroom. This always helps kids and adults make better decisions. We hope you have a Happy Holiday, Great New Year and wishing all your children stay KIDSAFE!!

 

5 tips to keep your children safe this holiday season!

The Boca Raton Regional Hospital Awards KidSafe Grant To Supply Their Award Winning Children’s Safety Books To Families attending Boca Raton Regional Hospital Health Fair On Saturday, August 9, 2014

Boca Raton – KidSafe Foundation has received generous grants from Boca Raton Regional Hospital to provide the families attending the Boca Raton Regional Hospital Health Fair Back to School Bash for underprivileged children in our community with their two award winning children’s safety books –“My Body is Special and Belongs To ME!” and “Jack Teaches his Friends to be KidSafe!” “We are beyond appreciative to receive these grants from the Boca Raton Regional Hospital  so we can provide our safety books to 1,000 families at BRRH Health Fair on August 9, 2014.” Each year it is an honor to participate in this incredible Back to School event and provide books and this year we will be giving out record numbers thanks to two generous grants.” Said, Sally Berenzweig, Cofounder of KidSafe Foundation

About Boca Raton Regional Hospital

Raton Regional Hospital delivers the highest quality patient care with unrelenting attention to clinical excellence, patient satisfaction and patient safety. Our team of professionals demonstrates unparalleled compassion and commitment to those we serve. Born out of compelling community need in 1967, Boca Raton Regional Hospital is a not-for-profit, advanced tertiary medical center with 400 beds, over 2,100 employees and more than 800 primary and specialty physicians on staff. The Hospital is a recognized leader in Cardiovascular Care, Oncology, Women’s Health, Orthopedics, Emergency Medicine and the Neurosciences, all of which offer state-of-the-art diagnostic and imaging capabilities. For more informationwww.brrh.com

The Boca Raton Regional Hospital Awards Grant to KidSafe

For Immediate Release:    November 5, 2014                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

KidSafe Foundation Awarded Grant From The Norman Shulevitz Foundation To Provide KidSafe Prevention Education Programs To Title One Elementary Schools In Our Community.

  Boca Raton, FL—KidSafe Foundation (www.kidsafefoundation.org) has been awarded a generous grant from The Norman Shulevitz Family Foundation to provide KidSafe Foundation’s programs to Title One Elementary Schools in our Community. This grant will provide “KidSafe for Kids” an 8 week in school program for children ages 4 – 12, parent seminars and teacher workshops.  Child abuse is an epidemic with 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually exploited before the age of 18. However, 95% of abuse and exploitation of children is preventable with education. KidSafe believes that every child deserves prevention education and the right to be safe, have a voice and know how to access help. Every adult needs to be the first line of defense in a child’s safety. “The Norman Shulevitz Foundation has been a supporter of KidSafe Foundation for years. We are beyond appreciate of their support for what we do in the community to keep children safe. Their funding has provided hundreds of children, parents, teachers and professionals with KidSafe programs and our two award winning children’s safety books. On Saturday, March 7th 2015 at our 6th Annual “Shine the Light” Gala we will honor The Norman Shulevitz Foundation for their continuous support of KidSafe. “ said, Sally Berenzweig Cofounder and Executive Director of KidSafe Foundation    

The Norman Shulevitz Family Foundation Awards Grant To KidSafe

For Immediate Release:      November 4, 2014                                                                                                                                                                    

The Coulombe Family Foundation Awards Grant to KidSafe Foundation To Provide Prevention Education Programs To Elementary Schools In Our Community

 Boca Raton, FL—KidSafe Foundation (www.kidsafefoundation.org) has been awarded a generous grant from The Coulombe Family Foundation to provide KidSafe Foundation’s programs to Title One Elementary Schools in our Community. This grant will provide “KidSafe for Kids” an 8 week in school program for children ages 4 – 12, parent seminars and teacher workshops.  Child abuse is an epidemic with 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually exploited before the age of 18. However, 95% of abuse and exploitation of children is preventable with education. KidSafe believes that every child deserves the right to be safe, have a voice and know how to access help. Every adult needs to be the first line of defense in a child’s safety.  We thank The Coulombe Family Foundation for their generous grant to KidSafe Foundation to help us provide crucial safety education to Title One Schools in our community. Research shows that underserved and underprivileged children are at a greater risk for abuse and we appreciate their understanding of the importance of providing prevention education. “ said, Sally Berenzweig Cofounder and Executive Director of KidSafe Foundation   About The Coulombe Family Foundation: Coulombe Family Foundation is a private foundation established by the family of Paul G. Coulombe.  The Coulombe Family Foundation’s primary focus is to assist the activities of charitable organizations whose principal purposes involve the medical, educational, economic, social and general welfare of children and young adults.  http://coulombefamilyfoundation.org/  

KidSafe Awarded Grant from The Coloumbe Family Foundation

KidSafe Foundation Awarded Grant From The Schmidt Family Foundation To Provide KidSafe Prevention Education Programs To Elementary Schools In Palm Beach County

  Boca Raton, FL—KidSafe Foundation (www.kidsafefoundation.org) has been awarded a generous grant from Schmidt Family Foundation to provide KidSafe Foundation’s customized prevention education programs to Palm Beach County Elementary Schools. This grant will provide “KidSafe for Kids” an 8 week in school program for children ages 4 – 12, parent seminars and teacher workshops. Empowering our children through the skills taught through KidSafe will make their life a safer reality. Education is the key in prevention and can play a huge part in academic growth, social development and emotional balance.   Child abuse continues to plague our society. The statistics are staggering; 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually exploited before they reach the age of 18. KidSafe is changing these statistics by providing education to children, parents and teachers. KidSafe can’t do this alone and we thank The Schmidt Family Foundation for understanding the importance of providing prevention education to children and adults and helping us to reach so many.” said Sally Berenzweig Cofounder and Executive Director of KidSafe Foundation   “The Schmidt Family Foundation is pleased to support KidSafe Foundation, a valuable organization that is dedicated to the health, education and well-being of this community.” said Karen Krumholtz, Executive Director The Schmidt Family Foundation     About The Schmidt Family Foundation: The Schmidt Family Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to helping people help themselves. By providing an appropriate financial catalyst, the Foundation gives individuals the means to alleviate suffering or to make the most of their given abilities, that they make the greatest returns to society. The Foundation provides funding to local organizations as a way to give back to the community which Charles E. and Dorothy F. Schmidt were a part of for so many years, and is committed  to providing grants to non-profit 501(c)3 organizations that meet our guidelines. http://www.schmidtfamilyfoundation.org/     About The KidSafe Foundation KidSafe is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in 2009 by Sally Berenzweig MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph LCSW – child safety experts, mental health professionals, educators, authors, public speakers, and moms on a mission to provide education to children and adults to prevent child sexual abuse, bullying and internet dangers. www.kidsafefoundation.org  

KidSafe Awarded Grant from Schmidt Family Foundation

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                   Safety- should be on the minds of all parents especially as Halloween is approaching. As child safety experts we are sure you are not surprised to see a blog about safety as Halloween is at the end of the month and we promise this won’t be a long boring blog… Just a short one to give you a few tips to make it a safe and fun evening for all. First: Before you leave your house check out if the area you live in has a sex offender data base

In Florida:

http://www.Offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/homepage.do

  • It may sound obvious – but please don’t go knocking for candy on a registered offenders door.

  • If you are allowing your child to go out alone or with friends, than they should be “old enough” to know and understand what an offender is and that they must stay away from that house (even if they have the best decorations of all the houses and are giving out the “best” candy.

    • Use the Buddy System – seems like common sense, but many kids are telling us they are walking around by themselves.  If your child does not have a group you need to go with them, (many of the kid’s say their moms claim they “have” to stay home to give out candy – REALLY? That is more important than keeping your child safe? NO!) Set a time you will walk around with your child, and then come home and give out candy. A win – win to keeping your child SAFE!

    • Only go to people’s homes you know. (Children tell us they are allowed to go to every house in their neighborhood.) Not all offenders register.

    • Tell your children to NEVER go inside someone’s house. (Children shared some pretty frightening stories about knocking on the door and being told to come in and get candy. We won’t go into details about the frightening situation that occurred, however even if our children may not understand the danger of going into a house – you do!) So before your child goes trick or treating sit down and have a discussion about the rules. Again, we will reiterate because it is too important not to. If you feel  your child is “old enough” to walk around your community by themselves or with friends – than they should be “old enough” to share what the dangers are. You as a parent will never want to say to yourself – “I wish I had told my child ….. "

    • Tell your children NOT eat any candy until you have looked it over and deemed it “SAFE.” (And you have picked out some of the favorites for yourself.)

    • Tell your children to not go near dogs that you do not know. (One student shared a near miss attack by a pit-bull last year.)

    • If your children are going out with their friends and not with a grown-up, make sure you set up designated times for them to “check in” in with you.

    • Walk on the sidewalk if there is one. (If they are walking, especially on the street and wearing dark costumes, a flash light is highly recommended.)

    • Do not talk to anyone driving by in a car. (Remind them that adults they do not know should not be asking kids for help – they should be asking other adults.) If a car comes by them they should automatically take 5 steps back, if spoken to they have right to yell "NO" run and report this person to a trusted adult immediately.

                 For some, Halloween can be an amazing family holiday. We have neighbors that transform their garage into a haunted house and all the kids look forward to the scare and fun. Most of the families walk around in large groups – adults socializing as well as the children. BUT as  child safety experts we also see the not so safe side of Halloween – kids as young as 6 and 7 walking around without grownups, knocking on strangers doors for candy – this is a predators dream…children alone …and coming right to their door. We have to think of the messages we are sending our children.

                        For most families this is the ultimate fun and they celebrate together as a family and everyone has a safe and wonderful time. All we ask is that you read this blog and consider some of the safety issues that may arise and sit down with your children and discuss a plan of action for their safety at Halloween. For more safety tips visit our websitewww.kidsafefoundation.org

Keep your children KidSafe this Halloween!

Education leads to prevention! Reaction leads to inaction:

The story of celebrities who abuse and the organizations that condone that abuse.

           

With the latest headlines about NFL players and their abuse of women and children, it got us thinking about celebrities, the price they pay for the crimes they commit and the statements they make regarding those “crimes.”

 

To us, Cris Carter said it best when discussing the recent news of NFL players and child abuse. He said "This is the 21st century. My mom was wrong. She did the best she could, but she was wrong about some of that stuff she taught me. And I promise my kids, I won't teach that mess to them." Easier said than done of course but the only acceptable option for adults who were themselves abused as children.

 

Domestic violence and child abuse are cyclical in nature and a silent epidemic. If we don’t educate we can’t prevent. If we don’t recognize the wrong, we can’t make it right. Cris Carter’s public call – learn better to do better – really hit home for us at KidSafe.

 

Our goal is to educate to prevent abuse of women and children, and to advocate that all organizations set up an action plan detailing exactly how they will respond to criminal activity by their employees. Instead of cover-ups, knee jerk reactions, or worse, the professional sports industry needs to reflect on their culture of violence and response to abusive players. The NFL, NBA and all celebrity organizations have the opportunity now to be both brave and proactive and to become models for other organizations regarding how to treat those who abuse children and women.

 

Like it or not, our celebrities are role models for children (whether they should be or not is a whole other blog) and with that celebrity comes an obligation to our most vulnerable citizens. You are a role model...act like one. You make a mistake...own up to it. Take your consequences and show the world it is not too late to make a wrong....right. Owners, Leagues etc. need to step up and allow some of those dollars to slip away for the greater good.

   

And to the fans – stop supporting child abusers and men who harm women. Stop wearing their jerseys and chanting their names. Think carefully about what kind of message you are sending to your own children. Right now there is opportunity for action – for change. Let’s not let this moment slip away.

 

Celebrities who abuse and the organizations that condone that abuse!

        For years crimes against children have been perpetrated. For years domestic violence has existed, but not until our sports heroes were revealed as perpetrators has it caused a national media storm like it has right now.

        Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, and Adrian Peterson are just some of the athletes who have been revered and looked up to by millions of fans and we now know are the same men who have allegedly committed horrendous crimes against women and children. And because of their celebrity, they have been allowed to get away with it for far too long. It makes you wonder, how many others we don’t know about.

        Say what you want about the dangers and damage of social media, but in these cases it has helped the country to “see” the abuse in real time. It would be another whole blog to discuss why people have to actually “see” abuse to believe it is happening and do something about it, so we will save our comments about that.....the fact is that the world has now seen through video and pictures, horrific abuse of women and children and we can no longer turn away and say it does not exist. Domestic violence and child abuse exist, are happening right now and we must work now to end the epidemic.

        Let’s discuss the reason for this blog: the real heroes....the doctors who reported child abuse in the Adrian Peterson case. As we have seen through decades of abuse, many mandated reporters have looked the other way and remained silent when it came to celebrities. Money, fame, status, and celebrity have come before the protection of our children. We see it every day and until the media takes hold of the story the world forgets.

        It was not that long ago that Penn State and the Sandusky child abuse scandal made the front page and was the lead story on every news program but it slipped out of the forefront. No one wants to think about it, no one wants to talk about it and the inaction is what causes child abuse to continue.

        So again, back to the real heroes in this case – the doctors who put the protection of children over the celebrity of an NFL player. They saw abuse before they saw “celebrity”, they reported the abuse. If they didn't report we would never know about this one case of alleged child abuse by NFL celebrity, famed “Community man of the year” Adrian Peterson.

        What will happen now? Will these celebrities lose their jobs and go to jail? Will the heads of the NFL and the owners and staff of the sports teams be held culpable for the part they played in hiding criminal activity? Will the world make a statement by not supporting these teams, athletes and institutions that look the other way when it comes to their players’criminal behavior? Up to now, money, fame and winning have come before the protection of our children and the safety of women. We have the chance now to change how we react to child abuse and domestic violence. We need to be proactive not reactive. We the fans need to show the world that we will not support, attend or pay to watch celebrities who are criminals play their sport. Until the NFL and other major league organizations feel it in their pocket, the silence of child abuse and protection of their players will continue.

Written by Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA & Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW - Child Safety Experts, Mental Health Therapist, Educators, Authors, Public Speakers and Cofounders of 501(c)3 nonprofit KidSafe Foundation www.kidsafefoundation.org  

Our Sports Heroes Are Criminals!

Meet our KidSafe Certified Instructors:

As the new school year begins, KidSafe wants to take a moment to thank our team of KidSafe Certified Instructors. Thanks to this amazing, talented, professional, supportive and highly skilled teachers KidSafe has achieved enormous growth and has been able to bring our "KidSafe for Kids" children's programs to over 3,500 children last school year. We look forward to another year of enormous growth with our incredible team!

[caption id="attachment_3733" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Front to Back Debbie Miller, Jaime Engleman, Allyson Linder Standing (Left to right) Marsha Liff, Vicki Messing, Robin Steinman, Fern Rod, Suzi Hill, Lynn Lieberman Front to Back (L-R)
Debbie Miller, Jaime Engleman, Allyson Linder
Standing (L-R)
Marsha Liff, Vicki Messing, Robin Steinman, Fern Rod, Suzi Hill, Lynn Lieberman[/caption]                            

KidSafe Certified & Proud

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KidSafe Certified Adult Trainers:

  • Andrea Clemens, MSW
  • Allyson Linder, MSW
  • Denise Rye, LCSW
  • Tanya Meade

KidSafe Staff:

  • Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA | Cofounder/Executive Director
  • Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW |Cofounder/Executive Adviser
  • Roxana Aghassi, MBA | Director of Operations
  • Laura Askowitz, BS |Director of Progams
  • Elysse Dion, BS | Administrative Associate
  • Kellie Drexl, MS | Volunteer Coordinator
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KidSafe Certified Instructors:

  • Fern Rod, MEd
  • Marsha Liff, MEd
  • Debra Miller, LCSW
  • Suzi Hill, LCSW
  • Lynn Lieberman, MEd
  • Allyson Linder, MSW, Certified Child Life Specialist
  • Vicki Messing, MEd
  • Denise Rye, LCSW
  • Andrea Clemens, MSW
  • Patricia Alessi-Rozzi, MEd
  • Victoria Griswold, M.S.Ed
  • Ronni King, MSpec.Ed
  • Rebecca Verdin, MA
  • Alison Lichter, Police Detective SVU
  • Kellie Drexl, MS Health Education
  • Shari Eydelman, BS Elementary Education/Developmental Disabilities
  • Trameka Cummings, MS School Psychology
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KidSafe Team

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                  

August 22, 2014                                                                                                          

Grant Awarded to KidSafe Foundation

from The Frank L. Weyenberg Charitable Trust

to Provide KidSafe Programs to Four Palm Beach County Preschools

 

Boca Raton – KidSafe Foundation has received a generous grant from the Frank L. Weyenberg Charitable Trust to provide 4 Palm Beach County Preschools with their Flag Ship program “KidSafe for Kids” which includes parent seminars, teacher workshops, 8 week programs for students in prek4 and sets of their two award winning children’s safety books –“My Body is Special and Belongs To ME!” and “Jack Teaches his Friends to be KidSafe!” KidSafe Foundation will collaborate with Family Central of Palm Beach County to facilitate this project.

 

“We are beyond appreciative to receive a grant from The Frank L. Weyenberg Charitable Trust to provide KidSafe programs and materials to 4 Palm Beach County Preschools. 95% of abuse and exploitation of children is preventable with education. It is our belief that prevention education with children needs to start at a very early age and by providing KidSafe to Preschools we have the opportunity to provide crucial life skills to children and to educate parents and teachers to be the first line of defense in a child’s safety.” Said Sally Berenzweig, CoFounder of KidSafe Foundation

 

About KidSafe Foundation

KidSafe is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in 2009 by Sally Berenzweig MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph LCSW – child safety experts, mental health professionals, educators, authors, public speakers, and moms on a mission to keep all children safe from child sexual abuse, bullying and internet dangers.  KidSafe has taught over 40,000 children and have educated over 12,000 adults in sexual abuse prevention, internet dangers and bullying prevention programs. KidSafe believes every child has the right to be safe, have a voice and know how to access help. Every adult needs to be educated to be the first line of defense in a child’s safety.  For more information about KidSafe Foundation, visit www.kidsafefoundation.org

 

 

About Family Central Inc.

Founded in 1971, today Family Central Inc. (FCI) is the epicenter for comprehensive child care, clinical and family strengthening, early learning and training in South Florida.   Nationally-accredited by the Council on Accreditation and certified by the International Association of Continuing Education and Training, FCI continues to transform lives through its mission to promote children’s success by providing quality family support and educational services so that every child and family can succeed.  For more information www.familycentral.org

 

 

For Immediate Release~KidSafe Awarded Grant From Frank L. Weyenberg Charitable Trust

Boca Raton, Florida July 31, 2014 – KidSafe Foundation announced today that it has been honored with a prestigious 2014 top-Rated Award by GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews about nonprofit organizations.

 

We are excited to be named a Top-Rated 2014Nonprofit,” says Sally Berenzweig Cofounder and Executive Director of KidSafe Foundation. We are proud of our accomplishments this year, including growing over 30% in on year. The Top-Rated Nonprofit award was based on the large number of positive reviews that KidSafe Foundation received.

 

For example, one person wrote, “As a mother of a 6-year-old child, I thought I knew a lot about child dangers; but my experience with KidSafe Foundation taught me so much more (and realistic strategies I can share with my son). A parent lecture given by co-founder Sally Berenzweig was how I first came to know KidSafe. Sally's presentation (and her genuine enthusiasm to protect kids) inspired me to get more involved in efforts to thwart child sexual abuse. I've since attended several KS lectures geared for professionals (e.g., mental health providers, teachers, school nurses) and an entire 8-week series geared for kindergarteners; the level of knowledge, ability to convey information, and appropriateness for each audience was stellar. Every child should be privileged to learn from KidSafe instructors. The KS founders and Board members are very passionate about the mission of helping kids: There is no other agenda than educating children, parents and teachers! Of the many organizations I volunteer for, KidSafe is the most rewarding.

 

While the Top-Rated Awards run through the end of October, KidSafe Foundation was part of the inaugural group to qualify for the year. In addition, we’ll been added to GreatNonprofits #GivingTuesday Guide—an interactive guide to top nonprofits throughout the years. Look for this near the holidays.

 

“Savvy donors want to see the impact of their donations more than ever,” said Perla Ni, CEO of GreatNonprofits, “People with direct experience with KidSafe Foundation have voted that the organization is making a real difference.”

 

About KidSafe Foundation

KidSafe is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in 2009 by Sally Berenzweig MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph LCSW – child safety experts, mental health professionals, educators, authors, public speakers, and moms on a mission to keep all children safe from child sexual abuse, bullying and internet dangers.  KidSafe has taught over 40,000 children and have educated over 12,000 adults in sexual abuse prevention, internet dangers and bullying prevention programs. For more information about KidSafe Foundation, visit www.kidsafefoundation.org

 

About GreatNonprofits

GreatNonprofits is the leading site for donors and volunteers to find reviews and ratings of nonprofits. Reviews on the site influence 30 million donation decisions a year. Visit www.greatnonprofits.org for more information.

 

Media Contact

Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA KidSafe Foundation Cofounder & Executive Director

sally@kidsafefoundation.org (561)715-1077

 

KIDSAFE FOUNDATION HONORED AS 2014 TOP-RATED NONPROFIT

roccos tacos lgo   MM logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 29, 2014  

Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar, Minuteman Press of Boca Raton and The Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce team up for Boca Festival Days to support KidSafe Foundation

Boca Raton – Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar and Minuteman Press of Boca Raton will host “Margarita Monday” on Monday, August 11th to support KidSafe Foundation as part of The Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce Boca Festival Days. The event is from 5:30-7:30 pm at Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar in Boca Raton. Tickets in advance are $25 and include two signature drinks and Rocco’s favorite appetizers. www.kidsafefoundation.org/roccos      “A huge thank you to Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar, Minuteman Press of Boca Raton and The Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce for partnering together to help support KidSafe and our work in preventing child abuse, bullying and internet dangers. This is our second year holding cocktails and food for a cause at Rocco’s Tacos during Boca Festival Days. Last year’s event was phenomenal and we are sure this year’s event will be even better. Thank you to our partners for this incredible opportunity. KidSafe Foundation is on a mission to keep children safe. This event gives KidSafe outstanding exposure and provides the community a chance to learn about our mission and to celebrate with us.”Said Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW-Cofounder KidSafe Foundation   WHEN: Monday, April 11 5:30 – 7:30 pm   WHERE: Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar 5250 Town Center Circle Boca Raton, FL 561.416.2131   TICKETS: $25 includes two signature drinks and appetizers www.kidsafefoundation.org/roccos     About KidSafe Foundation KidSafe is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in 2009 by Sally Berenzweig MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph LCSW – child safety experts, mental health professionals, educators, authors, public speakers, and moms on a mission to keep all children safe from child sexual abuse, bullying and internet dangers.  KidSafe has taught over 40,000 children and have educated over 12,000 adults in sexual abuse prevention, internet dangers and bullying prevention programs.     About Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar Brought to life by charismatic co-owner Rocco Mangel, Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar presents a full sensory Mexican dining experience complete with live mariachi bands and free tequila pourings. Sample from over 330 varieties of tequila, either alone or mixed with Rocco’s famous homemade Margarita sour mix, nibble on guacamole prepared tableside and enjoy a traditional Mexican dinner at the playful restaurant that embodies the true spirit of Mexico. Signature menu items include: Jalapeno Rellenos, stuffed fried jalapenos poppers, with cotija, lime crema, avocado ranch; Molcajete Seafood, wild Gulf of Mexico shrimp, scallops, mahi & poblano chiles baked in a molcajete with calabaza squash, charred tomatoes, onions, cilantro; Enchiladas Mole Poblando, pulled chicken breast, mole poblano sauce; and Bistec con Chiles Rajas, grilled adobo skirt steak, grilled green onions, three pepper rajas, red rice, black beans. Rocco’s “welcome to my house” attitude and contagious energy entices locals to return again and again for conversation, great food and friendly service. Visit Rocco at one of five locations in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens, For Lauderdale & Orlando. Coming soon: Brooklyn, NY and Delray Beach! For more information about KidSafe Foundation, visit www.kidsafefoundation.org For more information about Minuteman Press, visit www.mmpboca.com For more information about Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar, visit www.roccostacos.com

For Immediate Release ~ KidSafe Event At Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar

CFB logo FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 23, 2014                                                                                                                            

KidSafe Foundation  Receives Grant

from Children’s Service Council Nonprofit Capacity Fund of

the Community Foundation of Broward

  Broward County – KidSafe Foundation has received a Capacity Building Mini Grant of $3,000 from the Children’s Service Council Nonprofit Capacity Fund of the Community Foundation of Broward.  KidSafe will use the grant to purchase additional technology to be able to enhance and expand their existing programs.    “We greatly appreciate The Children’s Service Council Nonprofit Capacity Fund of The Community Foundation of Broward awarding KidSafe with a Capacity-Building Mini Grant. KidSafe Foundation has grown over 30% in one year. Due to our remarkable growth our programs have been widely sought after. Thanks to this grant, KidSafe can now purchase additional equipment to support our program growth, and bring our prevention education programs to more families in our community.” said Marty Weinbaum, KidSafe Foundation Chairman of the Board. “The Children’s Services Council of Broward County and the Community Foundation of Broward remain committed to improving the capacity of nonprofits throughout Broward,” said Leadership Institute Manager, Jim DeChant. “This support increases the ability of KidSafe to serve more families in Broward today and tomorrow.”   About the Community Foundation of Broward Founded in 1984, the Community Foundation of Broward provides leadership on community solutions, and fosters philanthropy that connects people who care with causes that matter. With more than 450 charitable Funds representing $165 million, it has distributed $65 million during the past 30 years to create positive change. The Foundation convenes citizens around critical issues, and builds the capacity of our community. For Good. For Ever. For more information about the Community Foundation of Broward, visit cfbroward.org or call 954.761.9503.     About KidSafe Foundation KidSafe is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in 2009 by Sally Berenzweig MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph LCSW – child safety experts, mental health professionals, educators, authors, public speakers, and moms on a mission to keep all children safe from child sexual abuse, bullying and internet dangers.  KidSafe has taught over 40,000 children and have educated over 12,000 adults in sexual abuse prevention, internet dangers and bullying prevention programs. For more information about KidSafe Foundation, visit www.kidsafefoundation.org  

KidSafe Awarded Grant

KidSafe Resuites Promo USE 1  

Help Resuites give back to KidSafe Foundation!

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Summer is approaching and suddenly your children will be in a new routine. Whether you are sending them to camp, day or overnight there are some very important questions that need to be asked before you send your children out the door. Do you assume the camp you chose for your kids will be safe? Have you asked the appropriate questions that would give you confidence in the camp? When we asked this question of friends and family sending their kids to camp, most parents with a slight blush and timid smile reported that their main concerns were:

  • Will my child have friends at the camp

  • Expense of the camp

  • Location of camp

  • Activities their children will be experiencing

Not one parent thought to ask – what is the camp’s risk assessment for safety? What is their safety record? Health precautions? Have the counselors been trained? If so what exactly are they trained in? Have they ever experienced any abuse problems in the past? What safety precautions has the camp put in place so my children will be safe? Wow – it’s an eye opener…so ask yourself now have you EVER asked these questions to a director or even thought about them before?

 

What would you do if you had prior knowledge that the camp you are sending your child to had numerous accidents, revolving door of counselors through the years and a counselor that had harmed a child wouldn't you want to know? I think we all can agree that we would want to know and most parents, after having that information would choose to send their child to a different camp….But how do you know the prior safety record of a camp if you don’t ask? You can’t always find all the information you need from Google nor from asking a friend what they think of the camp.

We spend more time trying to find out the safety rating of the car we drive then we do the safety of the camp we are sending our precious children to. So, with that said we have a challenge for you- We want to you to take the safety of your child to a new level by asking the director of the camp the following questions:

 
  • Are criminal background checks performed on all your employees?
  • Is each person checked through the National Sex offender registry?
  • Do you conduct interviews and reference checks on all employees (including teen counselors)?
  • How do you screen for possible sex offenders?
  • During your interview process do you discuss boundaries – appropriate or inappropriate touches? Bullying?
  • Do you offer your employee’s clear policies about sexual misconduct and consequences – are these policies in writing in an employee handbook?
  • What steps are you taking to decrease the risk of sexual abuse at your camp?
  • What steps are you taking to decrease the risk of bullying at camp?
  • What type of training do you offer your staff?
  • Do you offer training to staff to prevent sexual abuse and bullying?
  • Are you licensed by the state?
  • Are you accredited by the ACA?

Your children deserve to go to a camp that takes their personal safety as seriously as you do. So please take the time to ask your Camp Director these questions so you can be satisfied and confident that the camp you are sending your child to is doing everything they can to ensure your child’s safety. But please don’t stop there….Talk with your children about their personal safety. Talk with them about “what if” scenarios so you can see if they will come up with the safest and smartest choices when away from you. Let your children know they can talk to you about ANYTHING!!!

 

We owe it to our children to send them to a camp we feel confident has done its best to educate and train their staff on prevention education so that your child will have a safe and happy summer. We owe it ourselves to allow our children the freedom to experience new things without us and feel that we have done everything we can to ensure their safety.  After all, don't you think your children are worth it?

How do you know your child’s camp is SAFE?

KidSafe Foundation participates in The GREAT GIVE PALM BEACH COUNTY

What is it? The GREAT GIVE is a 24-hour online giving event led by the Community Foundation and United Way designed to raise as much money as possible for local nonprofits in a single day. The GREAT GIVE is part of the largest online giving event in history.  We are joining more than 100 community foundations across the country to raise millions of dollars for the greater good - all on a single day through Give Local America.

 

Please support KidSafe Foundation on May 6th! Every local gift will be multiplied with bonus dollars from a local pool raised by the Community Foundation and a national pool raised by Give Local America. GREAT GIVE will make every hour of May 6th meaningful by providing this unique opportunity for Palm Beach county to raise significant funds that will make a direct, positive impact on the lives of our neediest residents.

http://www.greatgivepbc.org/#npo/kidsafe-foundation

   

May 6th KidSafe participates in The GREAT GIVE PALM BEACH COUNTY

 

KidSafe Foundation participates in The GREAT GIVE PALM BEACH COUNTY

What is it? The GREAT GIVE is a 24-hour online giving event led by the Community Foundation and United Way designed to raise as much money as possible for local nonprofits in a single day. The GREAT GIVE is part of the largest online giving event in history.  We are joining more than 100 community foundations across the country to raise millions of dollars for the greater good - all on a single day through Give Local America.

 

Please support KidSafe Foundation on May 6th! Every local gift will be multiplied with bonus dollars from a local pool raised by the Community Foundation and a national pool raised by Give Local America. GREAT GIVE will make every hour of May 6th meaningful by providing this unique opportunity for Palm Beach county to raise significant funds that will make a direct, positive impact on the lives of our neediest residents.

http://www.greatgivepbc.org/#npo/kidsafe-foundation

   

GREAT GIVE PBC – 24 Hours of GIVING! – KidSafe Foundation Needs your HELP!

Shop the latest fashions at Lord & Taylor, Mizner Park and support KidSafe Foundation!! Just $5.00 per ticket! KidSafe Foundation earns 100% of the ticket sales and you receive: 15% off EVERYTHING in the store INCLUDING COSMETICS AND FRAGRANCES 2x BONUS coupons for 25% off one regular priced or sale item An additional 10% for L & T cardholders An 15% if you open a L & T account

Help Us Earn in additional ways: * The top 3 organizations with the highest ticket sales receive an additional bonus. * Drop off your ticket stub at Lord & Taylor Mizner Park on April 3rd, to automatically enter us for a chance to win the Attendance Sweepstakes * Lord & Taylor will donate an additional $2, to every new and approved charge account open on the day of event * Order your tickets online, the organization with the highest online sales receives a $500 bonus! Thursday April 3rd  9am-11pm Lord & Taylor, Mizner Park Tickets ONLY $5 

Shop at Lord & Taylor in Mizner Park & support KidSafe Foundation!!

FREE FAU KidSafe Day ~ Saturday, March 29 9 a.m – 12:30 p.m

KidSafe's 5th Annual  Gala "Shine the Light" on EDUCATION to PREVENT child sexual abuse, bullying and internet dangers.

When: Friday, March 7,  2014

Where: Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida

Time: 7:00PM - 11:00PM

Ticket Price: $150 Per Person (includes; open bar, food, entertainment, music, live & silent auction, and raffle prizes! Join us to support an amazing cause)

Click here to purchase: http://bit.ly/1pVSBPb

   

KidSafe’s 5th Annual Gala ~ Friday, March 7, 2014

If you would like to have a KidSafe Foundation donation can in your place of work ~ email us at info@kidsafefoundation.org

KidSafe Foundation Donation Cans will be in 36 CVS Stores

Last night we had the distinct pleasure and honor to be part of an audience of more than 1000 people to hear Dr. Maya Angelou speak. She did not disappoint. One clear and poignant moment was when she shared with us that she had been raped at the age of 7 by her uncle. Her uncle told her, “If you tell anyone I will kill your brother.” Maya’s brother was 9 at the time and her superstar, her love, her confident and best friend. She was scared. Her brother could tell something was wrong and persuaded her as 9 years old can to tell him what was bothering her. She did….she told and the uncle went to jail for one day. That’s right,  just one day for taking the innocence of a beautiful 7 year old child.

   

When he was released from jail he was murdered. In Maya’s 7 year old mind she thought because she had used her voice and told, she had killed him. She went mute and stayed mute for a long period of time, convinced that the power of her voice had caused his death.

   

She found solace in poetry, she found comfort in words and finally decided to break her silence and use her voice again, to teach and help the voiceless. For us at KidSafe Foundation hearing her speak was awe inspiring, and gave strength and empowerment to our mission – giving a voice to the voiceless!

   

Her voice gave us something that I am not sure we can put into words. If our passion for keeping children safe was strong before, it has taken new life, new energy and a new found purpose. We at KidSafe Foundation urge you to join our cause. The strength in numbers is obvious  - what one person can do is instrumental. Help us give children a voice. To find out more information about our cause and how you can help www.kidsafefoundation.org

 

Learning from Maya Angelou

KidSafe Foundation Provides Cutting-Edge Sexual Abuse Prevention Training to PBC Health Care District School Nurses with Major Grant from Quantum Foundation

 

Boca Raton, FL— KidSafe Foundation (www.kidsafefoundation.org), with the help of a generous grant from Quantum Foundation, provided over 300 Palm Beach County School Nurses with an intensive 2-hour sexual abuse prevention training seminar, using their award winning children’s safety book – “My Body is Special and Belongs to ME!”

   

KidSafe’s grant from the Quantum Foundation trained School Nurses to increase their knowledge of childhood sexual abuse; Provide understanding of mandatory reporting procedures; symptoms/characteristics of an abused child; recognizing disclosure and response to disclosure; implementation of Prevention Policy in child serving organizations; integration of KidSafe “Language of Safety” and how to apply prevention methods in their organizations. The goal is for each organization to create a new standard and culture of safety for children as a top priority.

   

“As a physician who is new to the area, I contacted KidSafe Foundation to ask if I could attend their Sexual Abuse Prevention Training to PBC School Nurses. It was truly a life-changing experience,” said Heidi Shaeffer, MD.: “Despite many years of medical education, I realized I had not been adequately informed about the epidemic of sexual abuse and what I could do as a doctor to help diagnose and treat these children. I applaud Quantum Foundation for funding one of the most crucial trainings I have ever attended. I will not only use what I learned from Cheri Benjoseph's presentation, but I plan to pass the information on and become an ambassador for KidSafe Foundation's mission as an active Board member.”

   

“Our county’s school nurses are the frontline troops working to care for our children,” said Quantum Foundation’s Senior Program Officer, Randy Scheid. “Equipping them to recognize and deal with the childhood trauma caused by abuse is essential, especially when we, as a healthcare foundation, know that early intervention in these cases prevents a plethora of unhealthy outcomes later in life.”

 

“We want to thank Quantum Foundation for recognizing the importance of Sexual Abuse Prevention training to health care professionals, especially school nurses who can be one of the first lines of protection in a child’s safety,” said Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW and co-founder of KidSafe Foundation.

About The Quantum Foundation

Quantum Foundation is a private grantmaking organization that funds approved charities and certain government agencies serving Palm Beach County, Florida. The foundation’s funding supports those organizations which provide health care, help people who need health care, and educate others about health care. Since its founding over 16 years ago, Quantum Foundation has given away over $100 million in grants to more than 100 organizations based in local communities. http://www.quantumfnd.org

Media Alert ~ KidSafe Foundation Provides Cutting-Edge Sexual Abuse Prevention Training to PBC Health Care District School Nurses with Major Grant from Quantum Foundation

 

South Florida’s KidSafe Foundation Gets Unexpected Holiday Surprise – Law Firm Edwards Wildman Donates to Help Kids

   

Palm Beach County, FL – KidSafe Foundation, the nonprofit that provides personal safety education to children and their families, got an unexpected – but welcome – gift this past holiday. The law firm of Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP presented KidSafe with a donation of $1800.00 as part of the firm’s local philanthropy efforts.

   

“We are surprised and thrilled to get this donation,” said Cherie Benjoseph, cofounder and Executive Director of KidSafe. “To have local support is critically important to our mission.”

 

Edwards Wildman’s West Palm Beach office selects a different local charity each year and raises funds through a variety of in-office events.  “Our philanthropic efforts are focused locally, because we’re dedicated to giving back to our community,” said Irene Rabba, a long-time administrative assistant at Edwards Wildman. “We’re grateful for the work KidSafe does and welcome the chance to support them.”

   

About Edwards Wildman

Edwards Wildman is a full-service international law firm with 600 lawyers in the US, Europe and Asia. We have market-leading capabilities in private equity and venture capital, complex litigation, insurance and reinsurance, IP and technology, and corporate and public finance. We have more than a century of experience as business-minded legal counsel. We share our clients' entrepreneurial spirit and understand their industries, and we succeed because we add value to our clients’ business. We have offices in Boston, Chicago, Hartford, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London, Los Angeles, Morristown (NJ), Miami, New York, Orange County, Providence, Stamford, Tokyo, Washington, DC, and West Palm Beach.

   

About the KidSafe Foundation

The KidSafe Foundation is a 501(c)3 Nonprofit dedicated to providing Prevention Education to children, parents, and professionals to prevent child sexual abuse, bullying, and internet dangers. Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW are the Cofounders of KidSafe, Child Safety Experts, Authors and most importantly two moms on a mission to keep children safe. KidSafe has reached over 35,000 children throughout South Florida and have brought their workshops and seminars to thousands of adults. To learn more about KidSafe Foundation please visit their web site www.kidsafefoundation.org

   

Media Alert: South Florida’s KidSafe Foundation Gets Unexpected Surprise

TONIGHT! Movie Night at Mizner Park Amphitheater- Proceeds to KidSafe Foundation

   

KidSafe Receives Grant from The Walter & Adi Blum Foundation

To Provide Sexual Abuse Prevention Training and Materials to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Palm Beach & Martin Counties

 

Boca Raton, FL—KidSafe Foundation (www.kidsafefoundation.org) has been awarded a generous grant from The Walter & Adi Blum Foundation to provide Big Brothers / Big Sisters of Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Inc. (BBBSPBMC) with KidSafe Foundation’s customized Sexual Abuse Prevention Training and Child Safety Books to Big Brothers Big Sisters staff, mentors and parents in Palm Beach County.

The need for sexual abuse prevention training for staff and parents is crucial. The children involved with BBBS are children who are facing adversity and are at a higher risk for abuse. KidSafe Foundation was honored to be the guest speaker at Big Brothers Big Sisters State Conference this summer (40 participants from across Florida) and after incredible reviews and discussion they requested that KidSafe bring this training to their organization.

Bill Bee, CEO, of BBBSPBMC states that “While BBBS takes great steps in background screening and proactively evaluating potential mentors, they always look for other avenues of methodology to ensure the safety of children. The opportunity to have KidSafe provide their expertise and success in the area of child abuse is a perfect complement to both organization’s focus and commitment to child safety. The material and trainings which KidSafe will provide for the staff, mentors and parents of new matches are welcomed and fully supported by BBBS of Palm Beach and Martin Counties.”

 “It is amazing for us at the KidSafe Foundation to provide Sexual Abuse Prevention Trainings to adults, breaking the cycle of silence, and do this in collaboration with our local Big Brother/Big Sisters organization. Child abuse continues to plague our society when 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually exploited before they reach the age of 18. KidSafe is changing these statistics with education. We thank The Walter & Adi Blum Foundation for understanding the importance of providing prevention education to children and adults,” said Cherie Benjoseph Cofounder of KidSafe Foundation

 

KidSafe Receives Grant From The Walter & Adi Blum Foundation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

KidSafe Foundation Awarded Major Grant from Quantum Foundation to Provide Sexual Abuse Prevention Education Training

to Health Care Professionals Working with Children in Palm Beach County

 

Boca Raton, FL— KidSafe Foundation (www.kidsafefoundation.org), with the help of a generous grant from Quantum Foundation will bring Sexual Abuse Prevention Education training to Health Care Professionals working with children in Palm Beach County.  KidSafe will provide 28 trainings over a two year period to upwards of 2,800 Health Care Professionals working with children in Palm Beach County as well as their award winning children’s safety book – “My Body is Special and Belongs to ME!”  KidSafe will use the grant from Quantum Foundation to train Health Care Professionals working with children to increase their knowledge of childhood sexual abuse; Provide understanding of mandatory reporting procedures; symptoms/characteristics of child being abused; recognizing disclosure and response to disclosure; implementation of Prevention Policy in child serving organizations; integration of KidSafe Language of Safety and how to apply prevention methods in their organization. The goal is for each organization to create a new standard and culture of safety of children as a top Priority.

 

“We can’t thank Quantum Foundation enough for awarding KidSafe Foundation this incredible grant. With their help we are breaking the cycle of silence that surrounds issues of child sexual abuse. The impact of providing Sexual Abuse Prevention Education training to Health Care Professionals working with children is enormous as 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually exploited before the age of 18. Health Care Professionals are on the front line and can be the first line of protection in a child’s safety. 95% of abuse and exploitation is preventable through education, and we thank Quantum Foundation for helping us to provide this crucial education to our community.” said Sally Berenzweig, KidSafe Foundation Co-founder

   

“We are a health care foundation,” said Quantum Foundation President, Eric M. Kelly, “Our mission is for the people of Palm Beach County to enjoy a better life through quality health care and that means we care about the health of the whole human being. Increasingly, data shows that children who experience the trauma of abuse have significant cognitive development issues, which literally affect the physiology of their brains as well as their emotional and psychological health. They’re more likely to have a host of health issues later in life. Training professionals to identify and intervene to protect the whole health of our children is a great supplement to our more traditional health care agenda.”

 

About The KidSafe Foundation

KidSafe is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in 2009 by Sally Berenzweig MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph LCSW – child safety experts, mental health professionals, educators, authors, public speakers, and moms on a mission to keep all children safe from child abuse, bullying and internet dangers.  www.kidsafefoundation.org

 

About Quantum Foundation

Quantum Foundation is a private grant making organization that funds approved charities and certain government agencies serving Palm Beach County, Florida. The foundation’s funding supports those organizations which provide health care, help people who need health care, and educate others about health care. Since its founding over 15 years ago, Quantum Foundation has given away over $100 million in grants to more than 100 organizations based in local communities. http://www.quantumfnd.org

 

CONTACT:

Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA Cofounder KidSafe Foundation 501(c)3 nonprofit sallyb@kidsafefoundation.org 561-715-1077

Click here to see: KidSafe Brochure

Save the Date: Friday March 7, 2014 “Shine the Light” 5th annual Gala

 

 

 

Media Alert: KidSafe Foundation Awarded Major Grant From Quantum Foundation

                   There is no way we can completely insulate ourselves from predators. They appear as parents of our children’s friends, coaches, neighbors, relatives, teens, teachers, clergy, babysitters and most recently a local DJ/Dance instructor who has been hired as a DJ by many families and organizations…… including KidSafe Foundation for one of our adult fundraising events. We didn’t know. One of our committee members said she had a DJ Company who would do our event pro bono. She didn’t know. The point is not that we didn’t know – but as we stated above - child molesters walk among us. Are we surprised yes! But shocked….. NO! But what can we learn from this?  The importance of KidSafe’s mission to educate children and adults to recognize the signs of a potential predator “grooming” a child.  Predators are savvy, and often in abuse of teens there are many layers of complexity built for the teen even before the abuse begins. To gain the trust of children and adults predators use a technique called grooming. This involves various lures – often for teens the appeal could simply be the attention of an adult male, perhaps money, gifts, alcohol and other drugs. Once the teen has crossed a certain boundary the predator knows they have something they can hold against them and they use this to keep the victim under their power. This is when the abuse begins.                 Children who are being abused experience a myriad of feelings including fear of getting into trouble, being at fault, feeling threatened, scared they won’t be believed, confused by what happened, feeling responsible for the predators behavior, fear of the unknown, and so much more, it’s easy to see how they are scared into silence. Most children will never report being abused. We applaud this young girl for coming forward. She is extremely courageous. By reporting, she has stopped this predator from harming others. She got mixed up in a bad situation and hopefully now by sharing her story she will regain some of her power back and begin her own healing process. Why are we sharing this with you? We need to use this story as a teachable moment.. So what can you do as a parent?

Teach your children the difference between a good secret and a bad secret.

         There are good secrets and there are bad secrets. A good secret feels good to know and has a time limit – in fact, the person asking you to keep the secret wants you tell. ( A surprise party, a special gift you helped pick out for your brother, something the team is going to give the coach at the end of season.) One thing these all have in common is that they have a beginning and an end. At some point everyone is going to hear about the secret.          A bad secret is something that you know, saw or experienced and feel afraid to tell, worried, confused, scared, and nervous. The person asking you to keep the secret NEVER wants you to tell - that is the exact kind of secret that you NEED to tell- even if you promised not to.  NEVER keep that secret. The consequence of a child Not Telling is giving the offender exactly what they were hoping for…..a child’s silence. Fortunately, this child found the courage to tell and in telling has saved other children. This story is all too common, happening every day, in every city, every state, every nation and we will continue to share these stories until one day all children and adults are educated, protected and safe from the predators that walk among us.   For more information on keeping your children safe www.kidsafefoundation.org

Predators are everywhere. They are walking among us and on the surface they blend right in.

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                         Halloween is an amazing family holiday. It’s a fun, social outing for all, particularly children who look forward to seeing their neighbors turn their walkways and garages into haunted adventures.   Unfortunately, as child safety experts, we also see the not-so-safe side of Halloween. In most neighborhoods, there are lots of children as young as 6 and 7, walking around without grownups, knocking on strangers’ doors for candy.

                        Don’t let your children become a predator's dream.  Here are four ways to keep your children safe this Halloween.

 

1)    Before you leave your house, check out if your area has a sex offender database. If so, see any registered offenders live in your neighborhood. Make sure your children don’t knock on the registered offender's door for candy. If your child is allowed to go out alone or with friends, then make sure he or she understands what an offender is and to stay clear of that house – even if that house has the best decorations on the block.

 

2)    Use the “buddy system.” It seems like common sense, but many kids are telling us they are walking around by themselves. If your child does not have a group, you need to go with him or her. Moms – don’t stay home to give out the candy. Instead, set a time you will walk around with your child, and then come home and give out candy. And remember while you’re out: the international signal for "no candy" is a porch light turned off.

 

3)    Only go to people's homes you know. We've had children tell us they are allowed to go to every house in their neighborhood. Remember stranger danger. The best thing to do for your family is to know your neighbors before it comes time to trick or treat.

 

4)    Make sure your kids know to never – ever – go into anyone's house. There are some pretty frightening stories about kids knocking on the door and being told to come in and get candy. Even if our children may not understand the danger of going into a house, you do. So before your child goes trick or treating, sit down and have a discussion about the rule.

   

So this Halloween, be sure to sit down with your children and discuss a plan of action for their safety. Make sure this fun, family night doesn’t become a nightmare.

4 Tips to Keep Your Children Safe This Halloween

In light of the recent tragic suicide of Rebecca Sedwick, after being tormented through social media from children ages 12 – 14 and the subsequent arrest of the 14 year old who has allegedly spearheaded the bullying, we at KidSafe Foundation will continue the fight of preventing such tragedies through education of both children and parents.

Are you asking yourself if this could happen to your child? Are you asking yourself if your child could be a part of a group that causes such pain to another child? These are questions that all parents need to be asking themselves – the first step in prevention is awareness. Once you understand that ALL children are vulnerable, you can better address the issues and have open ended dialogue with your children and teens.

Use this tragedy, to listen to your children. Ask them what they think and know about cyberbullying? Have them tell you the stories they hear. Don’t judge… just listen. Ask them how they feel about Rebecca committing suicide. Ask them how they think Rebecca’s mom is feeling. Tell them that no matter how terrible you might feel with challenges that will arise in life there are always people who love you, will help you and that suicide is not a choice.

Open the dialogue about cyberbullying before it becomes an issue so that if your child is struggling they will know that you can handle the topic.

So what is Cyber bullying? Harassment and bullying that takes place through any type of Technology.

Examples include:

  • Spreading rumors/gossip

  • Threatening someone via text, IM, Email, Facebook, anonymous sites, any technology

  • Hurtful comments, threats and rumors through Social networking sites

  • Stealing passwords

    • Sexting

What can teens and parents do?

  • Do not respond to messages that are hurtful, rude, or offensive

  • Don’t retaliate

  • Save messages that could be used by law enforcement as evidence.

  • Teens - Talk to your trusted adults – these issues are complicated and adults need to give you support and guidance to get through it successfully

    • Teens (and adults) If you see it happening to someone else -  be an up stander, not a bystander

  • Block the bully

  • If anything makes you uncomfortable or confused. REPORT!!!

  • Use strong passwords and keep them confidential even from your best friend.

  • Report Bullying to the Authorities – both the school as well as the police.

Please share this information with family, friends and your community. The more we talk openly about the dangers and how to combat them, the safer our children will be.

For more information www.kidsafefoundation.org

Talking to your Children about Cyberbullying and Suicide

The Don’t Talk to Strangers campaign taught generations of children to fear strangers – and don’t get me wrong there are bad strangers out there – but not all strangers are bad. The fact is you can’t tell what is in someone’s heart by the way they look on the outside.  Abductions from strangers is what fears most parents, however, almost 90% of the time the child knows their abductor. This is part of the reason why we need to rethink teaching our children “Don’t talk to strangers.”

 

“Don’t talk to Strangers” is not a skill. It tells children what NOT to do. Children need to also be taught “what TO do”. So imagine this: your child innocently playing in the park and is approached by a stranger. The stranger asks them a non-threatening question (as most strangers, even the bad ones, don’t appear scary), what would your child do? What have you taught your child to do? You may have told them “don’t talk to strangers.” And you probably also told them to listen to their elders and not to be rude. Most children will be confused. They will not necessarily feel threatened by this “stranger” as children’s instincts are not fully developed until adulthood. So technically they might be left standing there unsure of themselves with no clear plan of action. So here is what KidSafe wants you to do:  First, loose the language “Don’t talk to Strangers.”

  • It is not a skill

  • We don’t model “don’t talk to strangers” as we as adults need to talk to strangers every day to function in this world

  • Remember - 90% of the time a child is harmed by someone they know…NOT a stranger

Our advice…..change your language –Teach children what they should do. Teach safety skills by playing the “What If” game. Say to your child: “What if you are approached by a stranger, especially if being asked to be of help or being offered a treat, help me find my lost puppy, help me find my keys, let me buy you an ice cream, etc. what would you do?” Most importantly, listen to your child’s answer. I am sure they will give you the wrong one if you have not had a conversation about this. You should expect the wrong answer and not overreact. Now is your time to teach them how to make the safest and smartest choice.

 

 Most children will want to help find the puppy, will want ice cream and will want to find the hard to reach keys. Children love to be helpful. We recommend you teach your children that adults they do not know should NOT be asking a child for help. They should be asking another adult. It is in situations like this that the children have the right and your parental permission to be rude, and remove themselves from the situation. No need for small talk, they can just walk, or run away, in the direction of other adults – preferably to their trusted adult (which for safety reasons should be in the vicinity.) Teach them that once they get to a trusted adult they should report what occurred. Simply state the facts – (parents don’t get overly emotional). Once your child reports to you – praise them for making the safest and smartest choice. Listen to your gut – if you feel that an unsafe person has just approached your child (also if the occurrence happens with someone in a car) report it to the police.

 

Often as parents we are teaching from a place of fear. Don’t talk to Strangers, Don’t do drugs, Don’t answer the door when home alone. When teaching from a place of fear or negativity keep in mind that you are often not teaching your children a skill. Children need to be told what NOT to do - but more importantly they need be told what TO do. Watch your language. Teaching from a positive proactive approach of what TO do provides for your child, teen and young adult skills for a life time. Kids who have been raised with personal safety skills have an increased level of confidence, responsibility, and often develop a keener sense of intuition at a younger age. The goal at KidSafe is to help you raise the safest and smartest children!

Do you tell your children “Don’t Talk to Strangers?” – Watch your language

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

KidSafe Foundation Receives $6,615 Grant from Community Foundation

BOCA RATON, FL (July 30, 2013) -- KidSafe Foundation is pleased to announce it was awarded a $6,615.00 grant from the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. KidSafe Foundation will use the grant to enhance their instructor training program.  The funds will support their efforts to refine the entire KidSafe teacher training program including updating the teacher training manual, developing and training ten educators to teach the KidSafe program and enhancing all testing procedures. Since 2009 KidSafe Foundation has educated over 35,000 children throughout South Florida to prevent child abuse, bullying and internet dangers.

 

“We are beyond grateful to the Community Foundation and their donor for providing us with this grant, “comments Sally Berenzweig, KidSafe Foundation Co-Founder. “This award will assist us in our unwavering efforts to provide highly qualified, trained instructors to educate our children and prevent child abuse, bullying and internet dangers.”

 

The Community Foundation, together with our donor, is pleased to support the KidSafe Foundation and their program to educate our youth,” comments Daryl Houston, Community Investment Officer.  “Our donor’s charitable wishes are to support programs and organizations that address concerns related to abused and neglected children.  KidSafe’s instructor training program was the perfect match that allowed us to connect our donor to a cause that is meaningful to them.”

 

"Sadly, one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually assaulted by the time they're 18 years old. KidSafe believes that 95% of child abuse and exploitation is preventable through education,” comments Cherie Benjoseph, KidSafe Foundation Co-Founder. “That statistic alone exemplifies why it is important for KidSafe to provide safety education programs to children and adults in Palm Beach and Martin Counties.  We thank the Community Foundation for helping keep our kids safe.”

   

About the KidSafe Foundation

KidSafe is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in 2009 by Sally Berenzweig MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph LCSW – Child Safety Experts, Mental Health Professionals, Educators, Authors, Public Speakers and Moms on a mission to keep all children safe from child abuse, bullying and internet dangers.  In 2012 KidSafe brought education programs to over 5,000 adults and 2,500 children received the full 8 week KidSafe for Kids program.

 

About the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties

As one of Florida’s largest community foundations, the Community Foundation works for Palm Beach and Martin Counties in multiple ways, playing multiple roles.  For donors, the Foundation offers an effective way to manage giving by providing expert philanthropic advice rooted in a deep knowledge of our community and an array of philanthropic vehicles and services. For the community, the Foundation serves as a grant maker and a civic leader and awards grants to the region’s nonprofits to help meet community needs, fulfill donors’ philanthropic wishes and strengthen the nonprofit sector. Using local knowledge, networks, influence and creativity, the Foundation brings people together to improve the community’s quality of life now and in the future.  Founded in 1972, the Foundation has total assets of more than $140 million and has awarded over $94 million in grants and scholarships in Palm Beach and Martin Counties. For more information, visit www.yourcommunityfoundation.org.

KidSafe Receives Grant From Community Foundation

Recently we have been receiving emails, comments and posts asking if child abuse is not as big of a problem as we believe it is. Even some experts in the field of child safety have been quoted as saying “child abuse is on the decline.” Don’t believe it!

 

Yes it’s true that every day you can watch the news and read the paper and more and more there are stories about child abuse. But don’t think for a second that because it’s becoming more mainstream for reporters to write about child abuse or that child abuse is on the decline.  

   

The truth is, researchers and child abuse experts can’t agree about this and the reason is…child abuse is a silent epidemic. The statistics of 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually exploited before they reach the age of 18 is touted, however, those are only statistics from reported and substantiated cases of abuse. The stats are inaccurate as most children don’t report.

 

We have had adults of all ages, female and male, share their history of abuse – some telling their story for the first time to us, after they have heard us speak at a KidSafe seminar. Where are these people in the statistics? They are not included. So think of this….If adults can’t tell until they are much older or never, how could we possibly think that children will?

   

This is why we must NOT believe even for a second that child abuse is on the decline and become complacent. Instead understand that child abuse is a silent epidemic which needs our attention and voice now more than ever. It is essential to every child’s safety and wellbeing to provide education and support so they will feel “safe” to come forward, “learn” skills to protect themselves, “understand” how to access help and most importantly that it is NEVER their fault. Providing prevention education to children and adults is the only way will we be able to make a dent in child abuse and report “this silent epidemic” is on the decline.

For more information on how to help www.kidsafefoundation.org

 

Child Abuse is NOT on the Decline!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

KidSafe Foundation Receives Grant from the Salah Foundation to Bring Safety Programs to Four Elementary Schools

 

Boca Raton, FL—KidSafe Foundation (www.kidsafefoundation.org) has received a generous grant from the Salah Foundation to bring child safety and prevention education programs to South Florida elementary schools. KidSafe will use the grant to provide four elementary schools with safety education programs that aim to prevent child sexual abuse, bullying, and Internet dangers.  Each recipient school will receive a parent seminar, a teacher workshop, and eight-week program for students in grades Kindergarten, 2nd, and 5th.   “We are so grateful to the Salah Foundation for giving us the opportunity to extend our child safety programs to four more South Florida schools,” said Sally Berenzweig, KidSafe Foundation Co-founder.  “KidSafe believes that by arming parents, teachers, and students with the knowledge and tools necessary to keep kids safe, we can eliminate child abuse and exploitation.”   “The Salah Foundation is proud to support KidSafe Prevention Education programs in local elementary schools.  The Penn State Sexual Abuse scandal was a call to action.  It seems odd that fire safety education is mandatory within our children’s schools, but personal safety education is not.  What is more common, schools being destroyed by fire, or school age children being destroyed by sexual abuse?  Until this paradox is resolved, it will be necessary for those of us with common sense to fund personal safety programs for our own children.”  said George Taylor, Esq., Salah Foundation Board Member.   About KidSafe Foundation KidSafe is a 501c3 nonprofit founded by Sally Berenzweig MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph LCSW – child safety experts, mental health professionals, educators, authors, public speakers, and moms on a mission to keep all children safe from child abuse, bullying and internet dangers.  In 2012, KidSafe brought education programs to over 5,000 adults, and 2,500 children received the full eight-week KidSafe for Kids program.   About The Salah Foundation The Salah Foundation is a private foundation that supports non-profit organizations in the United States that strengthen families and communities and advances individuals to become productive and responsible citizens.  There is a special interest in education, medical research, community development and self-sufficiency programs aimed at the economically disadvantaged, the young, the elderly and the disabled.  To learn more about the Salah Foundation please visit their website www.salahfoundation.org

Press Release: the Salah Foundation awards KidSafe Grant to bring Child Safety Programs to Four Elementary Schools

 

Preventing Sexual Abuse in Children

 
How do we go about preventing childhood abuse, bullying, and dangers children face?  If you ask me, I think Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW and Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA, Founders of Kidsafe Foundation are on to a GREAT concept.  I was able to attend Cherie's training on April 17th, 2013.   I was able to easily utilize the books we got at the workshop with the children I work with and their parents.  It helped them create a common language around safety.
    They are strong in their message that childhood abuse can be reduced by teaching and educating kids, parents, and child caring providers i.e. schools, Child Protective Services, teachers, therapists, foster caring agencies, camp counselors, etc to be "KidSafe". Their Mission: "Our mission is to bring Education programs and materials to children and adults to Prevent Child Abuse, Bullying and Internet Safety Dangers. Our goal is to give children a voice and  empower adults to be the first line of defense in their child’s safety. Their concepts, ideas, techniques, and teachings are simple, palatable and easy to implement.  Cherie is a great trainer - funny, charismatic, and serious about her message. Their trainings, classes and workshops teach children and the adults who love and care for them to have clear specific rules, like "check first".  It also teaches kids to empower themselves around secret keeping, listening to their safety voice, and identifying their circle of safe adults. Their training is a need for children and families across all cultures. For more information on their mission and agency go to   www.KidSafeFoundation.org by Katie Lemieux

Guest Post Katie Lemieux, LMFT “Preventing Sexual Abuse in Children”

Preventing Sexual Abuse in Children
How do we go about preventing childhood abuse, bullying, and dangers children face? If you ask me, I think Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW and Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA, Founders of Kidsafe Foundation are on to a GREAT concept. I was able to attend Cherie's training on April 17th, 2013.   I was able to easily utilize the books we got at the workshop with the children I work with and their parents.  It helped them create a common language around safety. 
                                  * IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY I AM IN THE SECOND ROW, SECOND FROM THE RIGHT. 
They are strong in their message that childhood abuse can be reduced by teaching and educating kids, parents, and child caring providers i.e. schools, Child Protective Services, teachers, therapists, foster caring agencies, camp counselors, etc to be "KidSafe". Their Mission: "Our mission is to bring Education programs and materials to children and adults to Prevent Child Abuse, Bullying and Internet Safety Dangers. Our goal is to give children a voice and  empower adults to be the first line of defense in their child’s safety. Their concepts, ideas, techniques, and teachings are simple, palatable and easy to implement.  Cherie is a great trainer - funny, charismatic, and serious about her message. Their trainings, classes and workshops teach children and the adults who love and care for them to have clear specific rules, like "check first".  It also teaches kids to empower themselves around secret keeping, listening to their safety voice, and identifying their circle of safe adults. Their training is a need for children and families across all cultures. For more information on their mission and agency go to   www.KidSafeFoundation.org by Katie Lemieux

Guest Post From Katie Lemieux, LMFT “Preventing Sexual Abuse in Children”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

KidSafe Foundation Appoints Lisa Campanelli to Board of Directors

Boca Raton, FL—KidSafe Foundation, a South Florida 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to preventing child abuse through education, has appointed Lisa Campanelli to the organization’s Board of Directors. Lisa Campanelli is the co-creator of Padme Yoga and the former owner and director of Blue Moon Yoga, a New Jersey yoga studio she successfully ran for nearly eight years. Lisa holds a PhD in Holistic Psychology and her work has been published in several magazines, including Currents and Impression Magazines’ advice column, “Ask Dr. Lisa”.  Before volunteering for KidSafe, Lisa held leadership positions in several other non-profit organizations. “We are thrilled to welcome Lisa Campanelli to the KidSafe Foundation Board of Directors. As a volunteer and event co-chair, Lisa was integral to the success of our 4th annual fundraising event, ‘Shine the Light’. Her experience running a successful business and her whole-hearted devotion to community service make Lisa an incredible asset to KidSafe Foundation,” said Sally Berenzweig, KidSafe Foundation co-founder. “I am honored to join the KidSafe board and I look forward to helping KidSafe bring their unparalleled safety education program to every child and parent in America,” Campanelli said. KidSafe is a 501c3 nonprofit founded by Sally Berenzweig MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph LCSW – Child Safety Experts, Mental Health Professionals, Educators, Authors, Public Speakers and Moms on a mission to keep all children safe from child abuse, bullying and internet dangers. KidSafe has brought education programs to over 30,000 children and thousands of adults throughout South Florida. For more information on KidSafe Foundation, please visit www.kidsafefoundation.org. CONTACT: Sally Berenzweig Cofounder KidSafe Foundation 501(c) 3 nonprofit sallyb@kidsafefoundation.org 561-715-1077

KidSafe Foundation Appoints Lisa Campanelli to Board of Director’s

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

KidSafe Foundation Receives Grant from Community Foundation of Broward

Capacity building mini-grant made possible by the Children’s Services Council of Broward County

 

Coral Springs, FL—KidSafe Foundation (www.kidsafefoundation.org) has received a grant of $3,000 from the Community Foundation of Broward to strengthen the organization’s community engagement strategies. This capacity building mini-grant was made possible by the Children’s Services Council of Broward County.

 

 KidSafe Foundation will use the grant to implement a new customer relationship management (CRM) system. This software will help KidSafe manage and grow their relationships with the volunteers, donors, and supporters who help the organization advance in their mission to prevent child abuse and exploitation through education.

 

Sadly, one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually assaulted by the time they're 18 years old. KidSafe believes that 95% of child abuse and exploitation is preventable through education, which is why it is so important for KidSafe to continue bringing safety education programs to kids and adults in Broward County.  We thank the Community Foundation of Broward for helping KidSafe keep Broward kids safe,” said Sally Berenzweig, KidSafe Foundation Co-founder.

 

KidSafe is a 501c3 nonprofit founded by Sally Berenzweig MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph LCSW – Child Safety Experts, Mental Health Professionals, Educators, Authors, Public Speakers and Moms on a mission to keep all children safe from child abuse, bullying and internet dangers.  In 2012 KidSafe brought education programs to over 5,000 adults and 2,500 children received the full 8 week KidSafe for Kids program.

 

About the Community Foundation of Broward Founded in 1984, the Community Foundation of Broward's mission is to provide leadership on community solutions, and foster philanthropy that connects people who care with causes that matter. A public nonprofit organization with more than 450 Charitable Funds and agency endowments representing $150 million, it has distributed $60 million to support community solutions over the past 29 years. As a community leader, it convenes citizens around critical issues, and builds the capacity of the nonprofit sector to respond to these issues. For more information about the Community Foundation of Broward, visit cfbroward.org or call 954.761.9503.

CONTACT: Sally Berenzweig Cofounder KidSafe Foundation 501(c)3 nonprofit sallyb@kidsafefoundation.org 561-715-1077

KidSafe Receives Grant From Community Foundation of Broward “Capacity Building Mini-Grant” made possible by the Children’s Service Council of Broward County

                     

                     Your 5th grader arrives home from school and tells you that John (and you get a nervous feeling in your belly because John is the boy who picks on her and is known as the class ‘Bully’) took a picture of her with his phone and said he is going to take her clothes off in the picture then post it on Facebook.

                     You are horrified. This creep is tormenting your daughter (and you’re thinking: Is he really capable of doing that?). You keep a poker face so the dialogue with your daughter can continue. Your daughter asks you if he is really able to do that. In the moment - you aren’t really even sure - but the real issues at hand is the threat and the potential fallout from this type of cyber bullying behavior. With a little googling you discover that with today’s technology the answer is YES, this little #$%@** can change the picture anyway he wants to and do with it what he likes. If that means posting on Facebook then he can.

                     Our question is: What is this 11 year old doing on Facebook? This is one of the reasons why there is a recommended age for users of Facebook. Young children are not as capable of seeing and understanding consequences to their actions. They are unable to utilize social networking safely and are often unsupervised in the process -opening up potentially awful results for kids like the ones described above -victim and perpetrator.

                      Your child, (who does not have a Facebook account), says she doesn’t want you to take it to the school administration, for fear of increased retaliation from John. (What will happen to this world if we don’t stand up to protect ourselves and our loved ones? Unfortunately, this child’s reaction is an all too accurate description of why children don’t report bullying in the first place - fear of increased retaliation).

                       So how does a parent handle this? How can we protect and teach our children safe practices in this digital age? And the main question we want to tackle today -Why is a 5th grader, age 11, on Facebook in the first place? How are we as parents feeding into a system that is not safe or in the best interest of our children?

                        Many parents we have spoken with say, “I let my 9 year old on Facebook because I don’t want my child being “left out” socially. All of their friends are on it.” Is having your child keep up socially worth the safety issues that can ensue from being on social networking sites when they are not mature enough to understand the ramifications?

                       If all of these parents would speak to each other instead of conforming to adult peer pressure, many would discover that other parents are like minded and do NOT want their kids on Facebook just yet either. Maybe the parents could all agree - let’s wait till, say, 8th grade -when they are better able to make safe decisions, use it for what it is intended, and we as parents will have had more time to set proper guide lines with them.

                    When we allow underage kids onto sites such as Facebook - we are setting them loose on line to exposure to real life threats, child predators, inappropriate content and increased vulnerability to being involved in cyber bullying. We are putting our children in an unsafe situation.

                    The other point is by allowing our children to lie to open up a Facebook account, we are not sending them a good message. It’s okay to lie? It’s okay to lie about some things? According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, 38% of 12 year olds in the U.S. were using social networks in 2009. Perhaps it seems benign, right now, but the next step…just around the corner could be them lying about underage drinking.

                    Back to our story. Where does John, the “bully” from our story fall into this issue? He has a Facebook account, is underage, and is making verbal threats to others. Do you think his parents know about his account? Should they be notified of his behavior? Should this be parent to parent or should the school get involved? We want to hear your thoughts as the reader - what would you do? Is your underage child using Facebook? What guidelines, if any have you set?

                     If you have a child on Facebook - and this pertains to all ages of our kids on Facebook - We strongly recommend that as part of the privilege and responsibility for using the site is that you have their password and be “friends” with your child. This gives you an open door into what he/she posts, language used by them and others, unfamiliar friends, how much personal info they are sharing and choices they make.

                     Parents need to set guidelines and boundaries from the start. Letting their children know "What you post online stays online forever" therefore nothing is private and I will be checking. Let them know that the privilege of having a Facebook account comes only with complete and open access to you. At the end of the day if they want privacy they have the option of writing in an old fashioned journal...but once online you have the "right" to see it.

Safety Tip from KidSafe ~ May 2013

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Want to keep your children safe? 

 

 

Even though the statistics of 1 in 4 girls and one in 6 boys will be sexually exploited by the age of 18 are staggering and scary – we do not want you to parent from a place of fear. Children from a very young age understand "good" & "evil."

 

Think about cartoons and children's movies, they always have a "Villain" and a "Hero." We don't have to scare our children to keep them safe. We have to talk with our children,teach them they have the right to be safe, to use their voice and let them know you are always there for them. That is the  best way to keeping our kids safe and empowered! 

Child Safety Tip From KidSafe ~ March 2013

Stop telling your children "don't tattle." Instead teach them the difference between tattling and reporting.

Tattling is when you go to a grown up, just to get the other person in trouble. Reporting is going to a grown up when ever it comes to the safety of yourself or the safety of a friend.

   

Every time your children come to you to tell you something - ask "Are you tattling or reporting?" If they are reporting....sit down, turn off your phone, computer, or tv and look them in the eye, listen and tell them "great job reporting."

 

Start this at a young age and see reporting unsafe situations to you become a habit. Imagine you start this when your child is 3...it becomes a habit....Now they are 16 and with friends who are drinking. You are the parent they are going to call, because they have been in the habit of reporting unsafe situations to you since they were little.

 

The safest and smartest children are those that know they can come to their grown ups and share anything with them.

Child Safety Tip From KidSafe ~ February 2013

Yesterday we talked about "adult strangers" and how to keep your children safe. We shared information about strangers as most parents teach their children "stranger danger." The reality is that 90% of the time your child is harmed it is by someone they know and 68% of the time they are harmed by a family member.

   

Your tip of the day: Talk with your children that they always have the right to say "NO" to an adult that makes them feel confused, unsafe, uncomfortable, and scared. Just because it's an adult does not mean "blind obedience."

     

Tell your children, "Your Body is Special and Belongs To You!" Start talking to your children at a young age and often about their bodies and empower them that they get to decide if they want to hug, touch or kiss...even you! Empowering your children that their bodies are special and belongs to them is a gift you give your children for a life time. It will help them in many safety situations.

 

If you want more infomation on how to talk with your children about their personal safety: our award winning children's safety book, "My Body is Special and Belongs To ME!" amazing book for children and a section in the back for adults. www.kidsafefoundation.org/products

 

Child Safety Tip From KidSafe ~ January 29, 2013

Sign saying 'Say no to strangers'

Please teach your children that adults they do not know should never ask them for help. Adults should ask other adults for help.

So if an adult asks your children for help (finding their lost puppy, needing directions or anything else) they have the right to say "NO" to that adult and Run and Report to you.

   

Child Safety Tip From KidSafe~ January 28, 2013

Role play with your child “what if” safety situations.  By role playing with your child you are letting them practice using their voice  - being assertive, and problem solving the many situations children will confront as a part of their everyday life. (Bullying, internet issues, doing poorly in school, fight with a friend, etc)

Child Safety Tip From KidSafe ~ January 24, 2013

Children need to know they have a voice – and it is our role as parents to teach them how to use it.  You are probably saying to yourself, "My child knows how to say "NO" just fine." But will they say "NO" when they need to keep themselves safe?

 

Role Play with your children various "What if" scenarios and teach them how to use their voice in an assertive manner. Teaching your child they have the right to say "NO" to anything that makes them uncomfortable, confused, weird, scared or unsafe (even from someone they know and love) will empower them and can help them with many safety situations throughout their life.

   

Child Safety Tip from KidSafe ~ January 23, 2013

Warning Signs of Grooming

 

Be Aware of any adult who:

 

• Wants to spend time with children alone

• Wants to spend more time with your child than you do • Is giving gifts or money to a child & is always offering to    babysit

• Is using inappropriate language 

• Is allowing the child to get away with inappropriate

   behavior

• Is trying to tickle, wrestle, hold, hug or kiss a child

   (especially when the child does not want to be touched)

• Talks to a child about problems that would normally be

   discussed with adults

• Invades the child’s privacy 

• Talks about sexual topics that are not age-appropriate

• Lets the child “accidentally” see them naked

• Shows pornography and naked pictures to the child

• “Accidentally “touching the child attempting  to touch

     closer to private parts the next time.

 

Child Sexual Abuse Predators tell children the following:

 

 
  • “If you tell I will say you are lying.”
  • “I will do this to your little sister if you say no.”
  • “This would really hurt your parents if they knew.”
  • “If you tell, I’ll go to jail.”
  • "If you tell you will break up our family."
  • "This is our special secret."
  • "This is what people do who love each other."
  • “You misunderstood.”
 

Their goal is to:

 
  • Desensitize your child to their touch
  • Make child feel complicit
  • Make child feel responsible
  • Make child feel ashamed
  • Intimidate and scare child to not tell    
So how can you keep your children safe?
  • Understand the above information
  • Watch adults around your child
  • Trust your instincts
  • If it seems to good to be true it probably is
  • Supervise your children
  • Communicate with your children
  • Talk with your children about safe touch/ Unsafe Touch, body boundaries, secrets and reporting.
  • Let your child know they can always come to you and report any uncomfortable, weird, scary feeling and you will believe them and help them                                               

Adults Need to Understand “Grooming” to Keep KidSafe!

Do you know what the term "Grooming" means?

 

"Grooming” is the name of the process that a Child Sexual Abuse Offender uses to build trust and gain access to your child to abuse them. The process they use is calculating and can take a day, a week, a month or years.

 

Stages of Grooming:

 

Stage 1: Friendship & Trust

Stage 2: Gifts & Rewards

Stage 3: Secrets & Threats

Stage 4: Abuse begins

 

Often adult survivors report that they can’t even pinpoint when the abuse started when they were a child, as the offender was so savvy, confusing and desensitized them to their touch. 

   

Be on the look out this week as we share more information about each stage of the grooming process.

Safety Tip To Keep Your KidSafe ~January 21, 2013

Want your children to tell you about any situation that they feel unsafe, confused or uncomfortable?

 

Tell your child know that you will always believe them and praise them when they report any unsafe situations to you!

Child Safety Tip From KidSafe ~ January 18, 2013

Do you assume your children are SAFE when at a friends house? What kind of "safety" questions do you ask of the adult in charge? Even if you are "friends" with the parents or your children are in the same class does not mean you can “assume” that they share similar safety habits or values.  Here are some questions that you should ask:

 

·         Who will be watching the children?

·         Do you have older children and will they or their

           friends be present?

·         Do you have a gun in your house?

·         What safety rules do you have in your house?

·         Will you be staying at your house?

           What is the plan?

·         Is the TV and internet use monitored?

·         What are the sleeping arrangements?

 

Please don't be embarrassed to ask any adult watching your children the above questions. You are the first line of protection in your child's safety. Your children need to depend on you to ask those difficult questions and listen to your instincts. Don't be afraid to say "no," change plans or share your discomfort with how the adult in charge answers your safety questions. If you are not putting the safety of your children at the forefront of your mind, why would you assume anyone else will?

 

Child Safety Tip For The Day From KidSafe! ~ January 17, 2013

The Safest Children are the Children whose parents talk to them and are available to their children when they have a problem.

 

Why?

Predators are looking for children who are easy targets. An easy target is a child who does not have open communication with their caregivers and look outside their home for someone to talk to. If you are not available, predators are willing, waiting and very able to talk to your children.

 

Lets make all children off limits to predators:

  • Have important conversations with your children on an ongoing basis as a natural part of  your every day parenting. Letting your children know you are available to them and their is no topic that they can't discuss with you.
 
  • Discuss "what if" situations...Ask, "what would you do" in certain safety situations. If they don't give you the safest and smartest choices, discuss other options. Role play a situation with them that makes them uncomfortable and help them by giving them direction on how to respond.
  1. Redefine for them what their Personal Boundaries are and how to respond if someone crosses their boundaries.
  2. Difference between safe and unsafe touches and what to do if they receive an unsafe touch.
  3. Reporting to a trusted adult if they are uncomfortable or feel confused by anything.
  4. Who do they trust to go to if they had a problem.
  5. their bodies are special and belong to them.
  6. they have the right to be safe.
  7. they have the right to say “No” even to an adult they know love and trust when it comes to their safety or the safety of others.

Child Safety Tip For The Day From KidSafe ~ Janurary 16, 2013

A Child who keeps secrets is what a predator is looking for!

For your child's safety talk to your children about secrets and explain the difference between a "good" secret and a "bad" secret.

 

Good Secret - is a secret someone asks you to keep that has a time limit (example a surprise party) makes you feel good, proud, comfortable and you can't wait to tell and you will very soon.

   

Bad Secret - is a secret someone tells you to "Never" tell, don't ever "tell your parents" makes you feel confused, weird, uncomfortable, nervous and scared.

 

Teach your children that if anyone (even someone they know, love or trust) tells them a secret or to keep a secret from you, that they should come and report to you as soon as they can.

   

Explain that nobody should ever ask them to keep a secret from you, a secret you can never tell or one that makes them uncomfortable or confused.  Teach children to turn to a trusted adult – a person in their Circle of Safe Adults – when they have anything on their mind that is making them uncomfortable or confused. For more information on how to talk to your children about secrets www.kidsafefoundation.org/products

       

Child Safety Tip For The Day From KidSafe ~ January 15, 2013

Do you want your child to come to you with their problems? Best way.......Keep a "Poker Face" when your child talks to you. This will make you a more approachable parent.

 

Ask yourself – how do I respond to my child when they tell me things? 

Do I react with an open listening response or do I tend to over react, place judgment and start talking?

   

To be approachable – the less you say the better. Use a poker face so your child will feel comfortable continuing to share. Start this practice young so as they hit the teen years, when children need you the most, they will not only know you are the approachable available parent, but will feel comfortable coming to talk to you. 

Child Safety Tip For The Day From KidSafe ~ January 14, 2013

Tell your children that you are ALWAYS available to them if they need to REPORT any safety situation to you or discuss feeling confused or uncomfortable about ANYTHING!                  

 

 

Have a conversation with your children about who are the trusted adults they would go to if they had a problem. Ask them to name three. See how you feel about the adults they chose. You may find out some information you did not know or you may find someone they chose is not someone you think is appropriate. Calmly discuss why they chose this particular person and help guide them to a more appropriate choice.    

     

Children need to know they have trusted adults to turn to if they have a problem or feel unsafe. Please don't assume your children know that you are available...Tell Them....And tell them often.  If you want more information about how to talk to your children about their personal safety www.kidsafefoundation.org/products

                           

Child Safety Tip For The Day From KidSafe ~ January 11, 2013

Talk to your children about their bodies using proper names for all their body parts. Explain that privates are all the parts of the body covered by bathing suits and are called “private” because they are meant just for you – no one else.

 

Discuss that their bodies are special and belong to them and that no one (not even an adult they know) should ever make them feel confused, uncomfortable, nervous or scared. If they ever do feel this way then they have the right to say "NO" and permission to report to a trusted adult.

 

Remember: Talking to your children about their bodies should not be a one time conversation, but an ongoing natural part of your parenting. Get comfortable with it so your children will be comfortable coming to talk to you.

Page from our children's safety book -

"My Body is Special and Belongs To Me!" www.kidsafefoundation.org/products

         

Safety Tip For The Day From KidSafe ~ January 10, 2013

 Want to help keep your children safe? Empower your children by telling them"Your body belongs to YOU."

 

Show them you mean it when a relative or friend wants to hug, touch or kiss your child and your child does not want to. Do not force your child to give a hug, touch or kiss. If you do "make" your child comply, you are telling your child that the wants and needs of the adult are more important than their own wants and needs. When you let your children know that it is their choice who they want to hug, touch or kiss you empower them that their body belong to them and they have the right to say "No."

 

 

Empowering your children with the message - "Your body belong to you and it is your choice whether you want to hug, touch or kiss anyone," is a gift you give your child for a lifetime. To help you and your child with this important message www.kidsafefoundation.org/products     

A page from our book - "My Body is Special and Belongs To ME!"

               

Safety Tip for the Day from KidSafe ~ January 9, 2013

Understand that 90% of the time a child is harmed is by someone they know. 68% of the time it is a family member. With that said the process of  “grooming” a child for abuse is often done slowly over time right under the nose of trusted adults. The following is a list of potential Red Flag behaviors to watch for.

Be Aware of Adults Who:

·         Single out your child or a few children to be alone

·         Give your child gifts or money

·         Are preoccupied with children

·         Are more comfortable with children than adults

·         Are overly physical with children – hugging, tickling, and handling children.

·         Talk to children about inappropriate topics, their bodies, sexual topics

·         Offer to babysit, tutor or play with your child – especially if they don’t have kids or don’t want compensation

·         Offer to help around the house

·         Contact your children (via text, phone, Facebook etc.)

·         Share their personal information with children

Understand that an adult should NOT want to be with your children more than you do. These behaviors listed are inappropriate, crossing boundaries and gross misconduct.

 

"IF IT SEEMS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE THAN IT PROBABLY IS"

Safety Tip for the Day from KidSafe~January 8th, 2013

You should NOT be scared to talk to children about their bodies, about safe and unsafe touches. You should be scared NOT to talk with your children.

Predators look for children whose parents don’t talk about these important issues.

 

If you would like help in discussing personal safety with your children please look at our children's safety book, "My Body is Special and Belongs To ME!" Included in our books is a section for adults on how to use this books with children.

www.kidsafefoundation.org/products

 

           

KidSafe Tip for the Day! January 7th 2013

     

It has been a horrible few days since the shooting of our precious children and adults in Newtown, Connecticut. Every television station, every paper and just about everybody is talking about this act of evil. How do you explain to children what happened when you can’t understand it yourself? How do you tell your children they will be safe at school, when you are feeling uncertain about their safety? How do you make your children feel safe and secure when you are not feeling safe and secure? These are great questions, with only one answer…You are their parent. Here are some tips to how parents can help their children feel whole and secure.

 

Start with the facts:

  • A horrible tragedy took place but this is extremely rare.
  • Schools are one of the safest places.
  • Teachers and School personnel are trained to keep you safe.
  • It is important to listen to your teacher in times of crisis.

Answer their questions:

  • Never lie to your children, but answer their questions directly, honestly and use developmentally appropriate verbiage when talking to them (depending on their age). Children are naturally ego centric – they need to be reassured of their own safety as they try to make sense of the tragedy.
  • Don’t talk to them the way you would another adult. Short, simple and careful language should be used.
  • Don’t expose children to adult talk and to the news (TV, Internet, Radio etc.).

Act Confident:

  • Remain confident and secure even if you do not feel it. Your children will pick up on your fear. Most of the time if you act like it will be okay, your children will be okay. It is important that we reassure our children that their safety is of the utmost importance and they will be safe at school.
  • Even children as young as 3 can understand from your words, actions, body language, and changes in behavior that something is wrong. Be conscious of the long term message that you are subliminally sending to your children.

Be an Available Parent:

  • Let your child know that you are there for them to talk to about anything. If they have questions answer them directly without drama or detail.
  • Casually check in with your child every day this week, than twice next week, than once a week and then randomly. Some children have delayed reactions from crisis and all children cope differently.
  • If you or your children are having ongoing difficulties please seek professional help.

Talking with Your Children about Tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary

Today’s headlines: “Fourth victim accuses Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of sexual abuse,” “West Palm Beach area man accused of molesting his disabled step daughter,”  “Mom & boyfriend charged with child abuse,” and “A prominent Hasidic counselor was convicted yesterday of sexually abusing a young girl” Have you had enough of reading these stories? I know I have had enough of waking every day to yet another story of innocent children being harmed.

 

From the plethora of headlines it would seem that more children are coming forward and reporting their abuse…but please don’t think that is the majority. Most children do NOT report until they feel safe to do so, and that may take decades. Please don’t become desensitized to these stories or gloss over, because if you do we will never stop child abuse. Thus my fear.

 

I am afraid for our children and you should be too, because the only way that we are ever going to prevent child abuse is to realize children are being abused right this minute, right around the corner, right down the street by someone you know. We have to continue to be outraged that our precious children are being harmed and our current laws protect the offender not our children.

 

It takes a village to keep children safe. KidSafe Foundation is not alone in our work to prevent child abuse. But if the news stories of child abuse don’t fill you with outrage, and spark the impetus for change, nothing will. So, be afraid for our children, be so afraid that it will give you the courage to get involved and help promote the protection and prevention of crimes against children. Then and only then do our children have a chance at being safe.

 

Please join KidSafe Foundation as we work to prevent child abuse. How? Read our educational blogs about how to keep children safe and share them with those you love. Become a fan of KidSafe Foundation on Facebook and spread the word. Follow us on Twitter @KidSafe and spread the awareness of nonprofits like KidSafe that work to prevent abuse.  For more information about KidSafe Foundation www.kidsafefoundation.org

Elmo Puppeteer accused of Child Sexual Abuse by 4th Victim

Today’s headlines: “Fourth victim accuses Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of sexual abuse,” “West Palm Beach area man accused of molesting his disabled step daughter,”  “Mom & boyfriend charged with child abuse,” and “A prominent Hasidic counselor was convicted yesterday of sexually abusing a young girl” Have you had enough of reading these stories? I know I have had enough of waking every day to yet another story of innocent children being harmed.

 

From the plethora of headlines it would seem that more children are coming forward and reporting their abuse…but please don’t think that is the majority. Most children do NOT report until they feel safe to do so, and that may take decades. Please don’t become desensitized to these stories or gloss over, because if you do we will never stop child abuse. Thus my fear.

 

I am afraid for our children and you should be too, because the only way that we are ever going to prevent child abuse is to realize children are being abused right this minute, right around the corner, right down the street by someone you know. We have to continue to be outraged that our precious children are being harmed and our current laws protect the offender not our children.

 

It takes a village to keep children safe. KidSafe Foundation is not alone in our work to prevent child abuse. But if the news stories of child abuse don’t fill you with outrage, and spark the impetus for change, nothing will. So, be afraid for our children, be so afraid that it will give you the courage to get involved and help promote the protection and prevention of crimes against children. Then and only then do our children have a chance at being safe.

 

Please join KidSafe Foundation as we work to prevent child abuse. How? Read our educational blogs about how to keep children safe and share them with those you love. Become a fan of KidSafe Foundation on Facebook and spread the word. Follow us on Twitter @KidSafe and spread the awareness of nonprofits like KidSafe that work to prevent abuse.  For more information about KidSafe Foundation www.kidsafefoundation.org

Elmo Puppeteer – 4th victim accusation of Child Sexual Abuse!

Penn State took its first proactive public step in the healing process since the Sandusky sex abuse scandal broke a year ago and held a 2 day Sexual Abuse Awareness and Prevention Conference. The lineup of presenters specializing in the issue came from across the nation,  addressing an audience of 500 like-minded individuals,  was a testament that this is by no means a new issue – and if anything it needs all of our dire attention to make a dent in this epidemic. 

   

KidSafe attended this first annual event as exhibitors giving us the opportunity to hear all of the speakers while also meeting hundreds of participants and having the opportunity to speak about Sexual Abuse Prevention. At this event there was an extraordinary group of survivors from across the country, male and female, young and older who joined this conference to support the message of prevention and healing. Although all of their stories of abuse are unique there was one continuous thread – their abuser was always a known and trusted adult, often a family member. They noted to us from the point of view of a survivor – there was much discussion at the conference about treatment for victims and non-offending family members (all much needed), and even discussion of treatment for offenders (controversial topic among many, especially survivors), but they wanted to see more dynamic movement on Prevention pieces. We often hear from survivors that if people knew what to look for – the signs of a child being abused and the signs, red flags, from the adult offender behavior – more children could be saved earlier on.

   

One survivor and CEO of VOICE TODAY Angela Williams, states “I believe adults need to take responsibility for the protection of children through education.  A trained, conscientious and vigilant society puts the predator on notice and gives the child a community of safe people to watch over them.   My dream is that one day this silent epidemic will be exposed, leaving no place for a perpetrator to hide.”

Some tips Angela shared in her book, From Sorrows to Sapphires:

  1. Monitor one on one time with adults

  2. Drop in unexpectedly and ask how the visit went.

  3. Learn how to ask a difficult but vital question: “Has anyone ever touched your private parts?”

  4. Monitor online internet use and keep computers in a central public location.

  5. Listen for non-verbal signs and recognize behavioral changes.

  6. Believe your child and report offenders, child sexual abuse is a crime in all states.

So what did we “Learn” from this conference?  We learned that so many people continue to suffer in silence. We learned that we need to work harder to spread awareness about the epidemic of child abuse. We learned that there are so many incredible people doing extraordinary work to help prevent child abuse. We learned that although many survivors who received help are healing - just as many are not. We learned that this conference was just a drop in the bucket – and we need nationwide prevention education standards – mandated for all adults who work with or even in the vicinity of children.

For more information about preventing child sexual abuse visit

www.kidsafefoundation.org.

www.VoiceToday.org

 

Penn State Sexual Abuse Conference – A Step In The Right Direction!

Tonight October 22, 2012  is the last Presidential Debate. We have been listening carefully to all of the politicians over the past months speak about the issues we are facing in today’s world. The economy, housing crisis, failing schools, Medicare…the list goes on and on. Where and when will someone in public office talk about the epidemic of child abuse and what they plan to do about it? Child abuse crosses party lines, crosses states, crosses streets – or in fact it is next-door or going on in your very own home.

 

No matter what your political affiliation is, no matter what you believe, understand this: 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually exploited before they reach the age of 18. These statistics are based on reported cases of abuse. Sadly the majority of children do not report. So it is plain to see that most children will be touched by abuse in some capacity. Isn't this a crisis worth talking about? Can you imagine how incredible it would be if tonight the crisis of child abuse was addressed and each of them at a plan to prevent children from harm?

 

As the politicians time and time again say they are working towards a better America for our children, we are still waiting for one of them to talk directly about how they are going to make our children safer from another threat besides international terrorism? The terror which children are subjected to from all forms of child abuse is experienced by thousands of children daily. It is real, it is happening, it is an epidemic and our leaders need to address it.

 

I think we can all agree across the political spectrum that the underlying theme is to make the world a better place for children – we can make the world fiscally sound, we can turn schools around, fix Medicare and all the other issues on the agenda, but how are you going to help the future leaders of the world feel safe from abuse today? If we could ask them one question is would be: "What is your plan to protect children from abuse?"

 

So we ask: "Politicians please address how you are going to “fix” the epidemic of child abuse. Please speak up for the millions of children that have no voice. Work on the prevention of child abuse with as much effort as you put into working on the fiscal crisis. These children, the future of our country will have such a greater chance of being successful, healthy, contributing citizens if we would address the issues of child abuse today. We in the field of child safety want to change the world – But we need your help to do it." Work with us to help keep KidSafe!

Sally Berenzweig MEd, MA & Cherie Benjoseph LCSW

Cofounders KidSafe Foundation

         

How can we make politicians care about keeping children safe from abuse?

Every day and every night there is a story about a child being harmed. Sometimes I feel as though I am the only one outraged by this. Child abuse has reached epidemic proportions and it seems to me as though no one cares. Yes the economy is suffering and our schools are failing and we have the highest unemployment rate ever and the biggest deficit – so it only goes to reason that when our society is slipping, our children suffer the consequences.

   

Our politicians, our leaders must address the issues of child abuse. Our children are the future leaders of the world. If our children do not have the ability to have a childhood free from abuse – not only are we changing who these children are meant to be, we are not protecting our own – boundaries and decency of human behavior are slipping. You can see this everywhere.

   

Last night watching a show I used to love “Private Practice” – one of the themes of the show was a man going to therapy for pedophilia.  It was beyond disturbing. I tried to imagine how others watching were responding to this show. I have thick skin – I am a mental health professional who has treated women who have been physically and sexually abuse and now run a nonprofit in which we provide education to adults and children to prevent child abuse. I have heard the worst of the worst stories over two decades – unfortunately not much keeps me up at night – this did.

     

So for the average TV viewer – how do you feel watching “entertainment” about pedophilia? Why and how did abuse of children become a main stream television topic? I am disturbed – I am outraged – quite frankly I am scared for the children of this world. They are growing up in a world where it is common place to see on the cover of Huffington post – “Man has sex with a horse again!” “Teacher molests students!” “Coach has decades of children he abused.” It’s seems never ending.

   

The United States is often on a mission saving other countries from their own people – why don’t we rethink our priorities and focus on the war we should be waging right here in our own country- saving our children from sexual abuse.  If even the media gave a quarter of the amount of funding and attention to prevention vs. ratings for sensationalism – the trickle down effect to keeping children safe would be greatly impacted.

   

My life’s work is protecting children – there are many other amazing people that are trying to do the same. But we can’t do it alone. So I ask again – and I will keep on asking until someone listens – when will our leaders start protecting our children?

Private Practice – Why and how did abuse of children become a main stream television topic?

One of the most devastating articles on the subject, written by one of the influential intellects of our time.

   

IN PLAIN VIEW: How child molesters get away with it.

BY MALCOLM GLADWELL SEPTEMBER 24, 2012

     

Jerry Sandusky built a sophisticated grooming operation, outsourcing to child-care professionals the task of locating vulnerable children—all the while playing the role of lovable goofball.

 

In a 2001 book, “Identifying Child Molesters,” the psychologist Carla van Dam tells the story of a young Canadian elementary-school teacher she calls Jeffrey Clay. Clay taught physical education. He was well liked by his students, and often he asked boys in his class to stay after school, to do homework and help him with chores. One day, just before winter break, three of the boys made a confession to their parents. Mr. Clay had touched them under their pants.

   

The parents went to the principal. He confronted Clay, who denied everything. The principal knew Clay and was convinced by him. In his mind, what it boiled down to, van Dam writes, “is some wild imaginations and the three boys being really close.”

   

The parents were at a loss. Mr. Clay was beloved. He had started a popular gym club at the school. He was married and was a role model to the boys. He would come to their after-school games. Could he really have abused them? Perhaps he was just overly physical in the way that young men often are. He had a habit, for example, of grabbing boys in the hallway and pulling them toward him, placing his arms over their shoulders and chest. At the gym club, he would pick boys up and turn them upside down, holding them by the legs. Lots of people—especially gym teachers—like to engage in a little horseplay with young boys. It wasn’t until the allegations about Clay emerged that it occurred to anyone to wonder whether he might have been trying to look down the boys’ shorts.

   

“We weren’t really prepared to call the police and make it into a police investigation,” one of the mothers told van Dam. “It was an indiscretion, as far as we were concerned at this point. It was all vague: ‘Well, he put his hands down there.’ And, ‘Well, it was inside the pants, but fingers went to here.’ We were all still trying to protect Mr. Clay’s reputation, and the possibility this was all blown up out of proportion and there was a mistake.”

   

The families then learned that there had been a previous complaint by a child against Clay, and they took their case to the school superintendent. He, too, advised caution. “If allegations do not clearly indicate sexual abuse, a gray area exists,” he wrote to them. “The very act of overt investigation carries with it a charge, a conviction, and a sentence, a situation which is repugnant to fair-minded people.” He was responsible not just to the children but also to the professional integrity of his teachers. What did they have? Just the story of three young boys, and young boys do, after all, have wild imaginations.

   

Clay was kept on. Two months later, after prodding from a couple of social workers, the parents asked the police to investigate. One of the mothers recalls an officer interviewing her son: “He was gentle, but to the point, and he wanted to be shown exactly where Mr. Clay had touched him.” The three boys named other boys who they said had been subjected to Mr. Clay’s advances. Those boys, however, denied everything. A new, more specific allegation against Clay surfaced. He resigned, and went to see a therapist. But still the prosecutor’s office didn’t feel that it had enough evidence to press charges. And within the school there were teachers who felt that Clay was innocent. “I was running into my colleagues who were saying, ‘Did you know that some rotten parents trumped up these charges against this poor man?’ ” one teacher told van Dam. The teacher added, “Not just one person. Many teachers said this.” A psychologist working at the school thought that the community was in the grip of hysteria. The allegations against Clay, he thought, were simply the result of the fact that he was “young and energetic.” Clay threatened to sue. The parents dropped their case.

   

Clay was a man repeatedly accused of putting his hands down the pants of young boys. Parents complained. Superiors investigated. And what happened? The school psychologist called him a victim of hysteria.

When monsters roamfree, we assume that people in positions of authority ought to be able to catch them if only they did their jobs. But that might be wishful thinking. A pedophile, van Dam’s story of Mr. Clay reminds us, is someone adept not just at preying on children but at confusing, deceiving, and charming the adults responsible for those children—which is something to keep in mind in the case of the scandal at Penn State and the conviction, earlier this year, of the former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on child-molestation charges.

   

Jerry Sandusky grew up in Washington, Pennsylvania. His father headed the local community recreation center, running sports programs for children. The Sanduskys lived upstairs. “Every door I opened, there was a bat, a basketball, a football somewhere,” Sandusky has recounted. “There was constant activity everywhere. My folks touched a lot of kids.” Sandusky’s son E.J. once described his father as “a frustrated playground director.” Sandusky would organize kickball games in the back yard, and, E.J. said, “Dad would get every single kid involved. We had the largest kickball games in the United States, kickball games with forty kids.” Sandusky and his wife, Dottie, adopted six children, and were foster parents to countless more. “They took in so many foster children that even their closest friends could not keep track of them all,” Joe Posnanski writes in “Paterno,” his new biography of Sandusky’s boss, the former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno. “Children constantly surrounded Sandusky, so much so that they became part of his persona.”

   

Sandusky was a hugger and a grabber and a cutup. “He liked practical jokes and messing around, knocking a guy’s hat off his head, making prank calls, sneaking up behind people to startle them,” Posnanski goes on. People at Penn State thought of him as “a knucklehead.” Much of Sandusky’s 2000 autobiography, “Touched,” is devoted to stories of his antics: the time he smeared charcoal over the handset of his chemistry teacher’s phone, the time he ran afoul of a lifeguard for horseplay with his children in a public pool. Four and a half pages alone are devoted to water-balloon fights that he orchestrated while in college. “Wherever I went, it seemed like trouble was sure to follow,” Sandusky writes. He was a kid at heart. “I live a good part of my life in a make-believe world,” he continues. “I enjoyed pretending as a kid, and I love doing the same as an adult with these kids. Pretending has always been part of me.” There was a time when one of the kids he was mentoring became “cold and unresponsive” to him. It upset him. He writes:

   

“You know it’s not right to treat people like this,” I told him. “You should talk to me.” The boy laid into me, screaming from the top of his lungs. “Get out of here! Get out of here!” His voice echoed into the hallway and staff people came rushing into the room. I looked at him with sincere tears in my eyes. “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me,” I said quietly as I walked out of the room.

   

In 1977, Sandusky and his wife started a nonprofit called the Second Mile, to help troubled and disadvantaged boys. At its height, the Second Mile had a budget of millions of dollars and programs that reached tens of thousands of children. Three times, Sandusky was offered head-coaching jobs at other universities. Each time, he said no. The kids came first. “We had a young foster child whose name was Christopher staying with us,” Sandusky writes, of the time he considered whether to accept a job offer from Marshall University:

   

I spotted Christopher at the bottom of the stairs. He had a ball in his hands, and as he looked at me, he said, “P’ay ball! P’ay ball!”. . . Christopher threw me the ball, and as I tossed it back, I came to the realization that we wouldn’t be able to take him with us. . . . Seeing Christopher at that moment kind of told me all I needed to know.

   

We now know what Sandusky was really doing with the Second Mile. He was setting up a pipeline of young troubled boys. Just as important, though, he was establishing his bona fides. Psychologists call this “grooming”—the process by which child molesters ingratiate themselves into the communities they wish to exploit. “Many molesters confirmed that they would spend anywhere from two to three years getting established in a new community before molesting any children,” van Dam writes. One pedophile she interviewed would hang out in bars, looking for adults who seemed to be having difficulties at home. He would lend a comforting ear, and then start to help out. As he told van Dam:

   

I was just a friend doing things a friend would do. Helping them move, going to baseball games with them. What I found myself doing was getting close to the kids, becoming more of a father figure or a mentor, doing things for them that the parents weren’t doing because the parents were out getting drunk all the time. And, of course, it made it easy for me to baby-sit. They’d say, “Oh yeah. We can off-load the kids with Jimmy.”

     

One of the most remarkable and disturbing descriptions of the grooming process comes from a twenty-two-page autobiography (published as a chapter in a book about pedophilia) by a convicted pedophile named Donald Silva. After graduating from medical school, Silva met a family with a nine-year-old named Eric. He first sexually molested Eric on a ski trip that the two of them took together. But that came only a year after he befriended the family, patiently insinuating himself into the good graces of Eric’s parents. At one point, Eric’s mother ordered an end to the “friendship,” because she thought Silva’s friends had been smoking pot in her son’s presence. But Silva had so won over her husband that, he writes, “this beautiful man found it in his heart to forgive me after I assured him that such a thing would not happen again.” Silva describes an unforgettable night that he and Eric spent together after they were “reunited”:

   

I had recently broken up with Cathy [his girlfriend] when Evelyn, my future wife, arrived for a visit. In that month, Evelyn met Eric’s family, and she and his mother became good friends. Evelyn stayed with me at my parents’ house, and we enjoyed an active sex life. Eric slept over one night, and the three of us shared a bed for a while. He was going to pretend to be asleep while Evelyn and I made love, but Evelyn declined with him there and went to sleep elsewhere.

   

To recap: A man uses his new girlfriend to befriend the family of the ten-year-old boy he is molesting. He orchestrates a threesome in a bed in his parents’ house. He asks the girl to have sex with him with the ten-year-old lying beside them. She says no. She leaves him alone with his victim—and then he persuades her to marry him.

   

The pedophile is often imagined as the dishevelled old man baldly offering candy to preschoolers. But the truth is that most of the time we have no clue what we are dealing with. A fellow-teacher at Mr. Clay’s school, whose son was one of those who complained of being fondled, went directly to Clay after she heard the allegations. “I didn’t do anything to those little boys,” Clay responded. “I’m innocent. . . . Would you and your husband stand beside me if it goes to court?” Of course, they said. People didn’t believe that Clay was a pedophile because people liked Clay—without realizing that Clay was in the business of being likable.

   

Did anyone at Penn State understand what they were dealing with, either? Here was a man who built a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar, fully integrated grooming operation, outsourcing to child-care professionals the task of locating vulnerable children—all the while playing the role of lovable goofball. “If Sandusky did not have such a human side,” Sports Illustrateds Jack McCallum wrote, in 1999, “there would be a temptation around Happy Valley to canonize him.” A week later, Bill Lyon, of the Philadelphia Inquirer, paid tribute to Sandusky’s selflessness. “In more than one motel hallway, whenever you encountered him and offered what sounded like even the vaguest sort of compliment, he would blush and an engaging, lopsided grin of modesty would wrap its way around his face,” Lyon wrote. “He isn’t in this business for recognition. His defense plays out in front of millions. But when he opens the door and invites in another stray, there is no audience. The ennobling measure of the man is that he has chosen the work that is done without public notice.”

   

In 1990, the Second Mile was awarded one of President George H. W. Bush’s Points of Light awards. After the formal ceremonies were over, Sandusky grabbed the microphone and shouted out, “It’s about time, George!”

   

“I had reverted back to the days of my mischievous youth,” Sandusky writes, in “Touched.” “I had always professed that someday I would reap the benefits of maturity, but my lifestyle just wouldn’t let me. There were so many things I had done in my life—so many of them crazy and outlandish. . . . My time on this earth has always been unique. At the times when I found myself searching for maturity, I usually came up with insanity.” Years later, at Sandusky’s criminal trial, a Penn State coach said that he saw Sandusky showering with boys all the time—and thought nothing of it. Crazy Jerry and his horseplay. Who knew what he would get up to next?

   

On the afternoon of May 3, 1998, Sandusky called the home of an eleven-year-old boy he had met through the Second Mile and invited him to a Penn State athletic facility. Sandusky picked him up that evening. The two wrestled and worked out on the exercise machines. Sandusky kissed the boy on the top of his head and said, “I love you.” Sandusky then asked the boy if he wanted to take a shower, and the boy agreed. According to the formal investigation of the Sandusky case, conducted by the law firm of the former F.B.I. director Louis Freeh:

   

While in the shower, Sandusky wrapped his hands around the boy’s chest and said, “I’m gonna squeeze your guts out.” The boy then washed his body and hair. Sandusky lifted the boy to “get the soap out of” the boy’s hair, bringing the boy’s feet “up pretty high” near Sandusky’s waist. The boy’s back was touching Sandusky’s chest and his feet touched Sandusky’s thigh. The boy felt “weird” and “uncomfortable” during his time in the shower.

   

This is standard child-molester tradecraft. The successful pedophile does not select his targets arbitrarily. He culls them from a larger pool, testing and probing until he finds the most vulnerable. Clay, for example, first put himself in a place with easy access to children—an elementary school. Then he worked his way through his class. He began by simply asking boys if they wanted to stay after school. “Those who could not do so without parental permission were screened out,” van Dam writes. Children with vigilant parents are too risky. Those who remained were then caressed on the back, first over the shirt and then, if there was no objection from the child, under the shirt. “The child’s response was evaluated by waiting to see what was reported to the parents,” she goes on. “Parents inquiring about this behavior were told by Mr. Clay that he had simply been checking their child for signs of chicken pox. Those children were not targeted further.” The rest were “selected for more contact,” gradually moving below the belt and then to the genitals.

   

The child molester’s key strategy is one of escalation, desensitizing the target with an ever-expanding touch. In interviews and autobiographies, pedophiles describe their escalation techniques like fly fishermen comparing lures. Consider the child molester van Dam calls Cook:

   

Some of the little tricks that always work with younger boys are things like always sitting in a sofa, or a chair with big, soft arms if possible. I would sit with my legs well out and my feet flat on the floor. My arms would always be in an “open” position. The younger kids have not developed a “personal space” yet, and when talking with me, will move in very close. If they are showing me something, particularly on paper, it is easy to hold the object in such a way that the child will move in between my legs or even perch on my knee very early on. If the boy sat on my lap, or very close in, leaning against me, I would put my arm around him loosely. As this became a part of our relationship, I would advance to two arms around him, and hold him closer and tighter. . . . Goodbyes would progress from waves, to brief hugs, to kisses on the cheek, to kisses on the mouth in very short order.

   

Sandusky started with wrestling, to make physical touch seem normal. In the shower, the boy initially turned on a showerhead a few feet from Sandusky. Sandusky told him to use the shower next to him. This was a test. The boy complied. Then came the bear hug. The boy’s back was touching Sandusky’s chest and his feet touched Sandusky’s thigh. Sandusky wanted to see how the boy would react. Was this too much too soon? The boy felt “weird” and “uncomfortable.” Sandusky retreated. The following week, Sandusky showed up at the boy’s home, circling back to test the waters once again. How did the boy feel? Had he told his mother? Was he a promising lead, or too risky? As it turned out, the mother had alerted the University Police Department, and a detective, Ronald Schreffler, was hiding in the house. According to the Freeh report:

   

Schreffler overheard Sandusky say he had gone to the boy’s baseball game the night before but found the game had been cancelled. The boy’s mother told Sandusky that her son had been acting “different” since they had been together on May 3, 1998 and asked Sandusky if anything had happened that day. Sandusky replied, “[w]e worked out. Did [the boy] say something happened?” Sandusky added that the boy had taken a shower, and said “[m]aybe I worked him too hard.” Sandusky also asked the boy’s mother if he should leave him alone, and she said that would be best. Sandusky then apologized.

   

A few days later, the mother asked Sandusky to come by the house again; the police were once more in the next room. She questioned him more closely about what had happened in the shower. According to the Freeh report: Sandusky asked to speak with the son and the mother replied that she did not feel that was a good idea as her son was confused and she did not want Sandusky to attend any of the boy’s baseball games. Sandusky responded, “I understand. I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won’t get it from you. I wish I were dead.”

   

Put yourself in the mind of the detective hiding in the house. Schreffler was there to gather evidence of sexual abuse. But there was no evidence of sexual abuse. Sandusky didn’t rape the boy in the shower. That was something that might come only after several weeks, if not months. He gave the boy an exploratory bear hug. Now he was back at the boy’s home. But he didn’t seem like an aggressive predator. He was carefully soliciting the mother’s opinion and apologizing, with all his considerable charm. “I wish I were dead,” he says to the mother. Is that an admission of guilt? Or is Sandusky saying how mortified he is that he—savior of young boys—could possibly have alienated a child and his mother? Sandusky had been caught in the subtle, early maneuvers of victim selection, and what Schreffler witnessed was Sandusky aborting his pursuit of the boy, not pressing forward. Sandusky had looked for vulnerability and hadn’t found it.

   

The episode was, as the parent said of the first allegations against Mr. Clay, “all vague.” The mother saw her son come home from the gym with his hair wet. He told her that he had showered with Sandusky. He seemed upset, and showered again the following morning. The mother called a psychologist, Alycia Chambers, who had been working with her son, and one of her questions to Chambers was “Am I overreacting?” She wasn’t sure what had happened. Nor, for that matter, was her son. Here is the Freeh report again:

   

Later that day, Chambers met with the boy who told her about the prior day’s events and that he felt “like the luckiest kid in the world” to get to sit on the sidelines at Penn State football games. The boy said that he did not want to get Sandusky in “trouble” and that Sandusky must not have meant anything by his actions. The boy did not want anyone to talk to Sandusky because he might not invite him to any more games.

   

Chambers wrote a report on the case and gave it to the University Police Department and Child and Youth Services. She thought that Sandusky’s behavior met the definition of a “likely pedophile’s pattern of building trust and gradual introduction of physical touch, within a context of a ‘loving,’ ‘special’ relationship.” But Jerry Lauro, the caseworker assigned to the incident by the Department of Public Welfare in Harrisburg, disagreed. He thought that the incident fell into a “gray” area concerning “boundary issues.” The boy was then evaluated by a counsellor named John Seasock, who concluded, “There seems to be no incident which could be termed as sexual abuse, nor did there appear to be any sequential pattern of logic and behavior which is usually consistent with adults who have difficulty with sexual abuse of children.” Seasock didn’t think Sandusky was grooming. Someone, he concluded, should talk to Sandusky about how to “stay out of such gray area situations in the future.”

   

Of all those involved in the investigation, only one person—the psychologist Alycia Chambers—recognized Sandusky’s actions for what they were. Here was someone with the full authority and expertise of psychological training, who identified a prominent man with virtually unlimited access to vulnerable children as a “likely pedophile.” But what more could she do? She had told the police. Patient confidentiality constrained her from going to the media, and her responsibility to her client made her wary of turning him into a public victim. Then, there was the fact that two other trained professionals had seen the same evidence she had, and reached the opposite conclusion. She was in the grip of the same uncertainty that afflicts even the best people when confronted with a child molester. She thought Sandusky was suspicious. No one agreed with her. Maybe she decided that she could be wrong.

     

Lauro and Schreffler—the man who had hidden in the other room—met with Sandusky. He told them that he had hugged the boy but that “there was nothing sexual about it.” He admitted to showering with other boys in the past. He said, “Honest to God, nothing happened.” Everyone knew Sandusky, and everyone knew that he was a bit of a saint and a bit of a knucklehead. For all we know, he quoted those lines from his book: “At the times when I found myself searching for maturity, I usually came up with insanity.” Penn State officials had been apprised of the investigation from the beginning. After the meeting between Lauro, Schreffler, and Sandusky, Gary Schultz, Penn State’s senior vice-president for business and finance, e-mailed Graham Spanier, the university’s president, and Tim Curley, the school’s athletic director, and told them that the investigators were dropping the whole matter. Sandusky, Schultz wrote, “was a little emotional and expressed concern as to how this might have adversely affected the child.”

     

Joe Paterno, Sandusky’s boss, was a football obsessive. He played quarterback at Brooklyn Prep and at Brown University, which he attended on a football scholarship. Aside from a short stint in the Army, he never held a job outside of football. He began at Penn State as an assistant coach in 1950 and never left. He talked and thought football, around the clock. “At night,” Posnanski writes, “he wrote countless notes (all his life, he was a compulsive note-taker) about football ideas he wanted to try, plays he wanted to run, techniques he wanted to teach, improvements he wanted to make, thoughts about leadership that crossed his mind.” Shortly after Paterno arrived in State College, he moved into the basement of a fellow assistant coach, Jim O’Hara. Finally, O’Hara confronted him. “Joe, you’ve been with us ten years. Get the hell out of here.” Paterno, puzzled, replied, “Have I been here that long?”

     

Paterno was strict and uncompromising. “Even as a boy, when he played quarterback on his high-school football team back in Brooklyn, he would lecture his teammates in his high-pitched squeal when one of them unleashed a swear word,” Posnanski writes. “ ‘Aw gee, come on, guys, keep it clean!’ They thought him a prude even then. He had lived a sheltered life—not by accident but by choice. The Paternos never even watched any television except ‘The Wonderful World of Disney’ on Sunday nights.”

   

He scripted practices down to the minute. He did not like distractions. “He would scream at us all the time, ‘Would you just let me coach my football team,’ ” a friend tells Posnanski. “That’s all he wanted to do. Every other thing made him crazy.” Once, while hard at work drafting a new defensive scheme, he all but disappeared. “We could have moved out, and he wouldn’t have noticed,” his wife, Sue, said. “He might have noticed when he came out and there was no dinner for him. But he might not even have noticed that. He was in his own world.”

 

 

Paterno did not like Sandusky. They argued openly. Paterno found Sandusky’s goofiness exasperating, and the trail of kids following him around irritated Paterno no end. He considered firing Sandusky many times. But, according to Posnanski, he realized that he needed Sandusky—that the emotional, bear-hugging, impulsive knucklehead was a necessary counterpart to his own discipline and austerity. Sandusky never accepted any of the job offers that would have taken him away from Penn State, because he could not leave the Second Mile. But he also stayed because of Paterno. What could be better, for his purposes, than a boss with eyes only for the football field, who dismissed him as an exasperating, impulsive knucklehead? Pedophiles cluster in professions that give them access to vulnerable children—teaching, the clergy, medicine. But Sandusky’s insight, if you want to call it that, was that the culture of football could be the greatest hiding place of all, a place where excessive physicality is the norm, where horseplay is what often passes for wit, where young men shower together after every game and practice, and where those in charge spend their days and nights dreaming only of new defensive schemes.

   

In 1999, Paterno made it plain to Sandusky that he would not be the next head coach of Penn State. Sandusky retired and took an emeritus position. On February 9, 2001, a former Penn State quarterback named Mike McQueary saw Sandusky in the shower with a young boy at a Penn State athletic facility. What exactly McQueary witnessed is still in dispute. That evening, he spoke to a family friend—a local doctor—and told him he had heard “sexual” sounds. The doctor asked him several times if he had seen any sexual act, and each time McQueary said no. Eleven years later, in his grand-jury testimony and at Sandusky’s criminal trial, McQueary’s memory grew more explicit: he had seen Sandusky raping the boy, he now said. What is clear, though, is that whatever McQueary saw or heard upset him greatly. He went to Paterno. Paterno called Tim Curley, the Penn State athletic director.

   

Posnanski, in one of his final interviews with Paterno, asked him if he had considered calling the police. “To be honest with you, I didn’t,” Paterno said. “This isn’t my field. I didn’t know what to do. I had not seen anything. Jerry didn’t work for me anymore. I didn’t have anything to do with him. I tried to look through the Penn State guidelines to see what I was supposed to do. It said I was supposed to call Tim [Curley]. So I called him.”

   

Curley met with McQueary and Paterno. Then he and Gary Schultz, the university’s vice-president for business and finance, went to the Penn State president, Graham Spanier. Here is the Freeh report again:

   

Spanier said that the men gave him a “heads up” that a member of the Athletic Department staff had reported to Paterno that Sandusky was in an athletic locker room facility showering with one of his Second Mile youth after a workout. Sandusky and the youth, according to Spanier, were “horsing around” or “engaged in horseplay.” Spanier said that the staff member “was not sure what he saw because it was around a corner and indirect.” . . . Spanier said he asked two questions: (i) “Are you sure that it was described to you as horsing around?” and (ii) “Are you sure that that is all that was reported?” According to Spanier, both Schultz and Curley said “yes” to both questions. Spanier said that the men agreed that they were “uncomfortable” with such a situation, that it was inappropriate, and that they did not want it to happen again.

   

Horsing around in the shower? That was Jerry being Jerry. It did not occur to them that the goofy, horseplaying Sandusky they thought they knew was another of Sandusky’s deceptions. Those who put all their ingenuity and energy into fooling us usually succeed. That is the lesson of a world-class swindler like Bernard Madoff, and of Donald Silva, in his parents’ bed with a ten-year-old boy and the woman he later married—not to mention Jeffrey Clay. Clay, van Dam writes, got his teaching certificate reactivated. He went on to teach the handicapped and take foster children into his home. “Needless to say,” she adds, “his expertise, enthusiasm, and exceptional generosity to those who are needy has been very much appreciated by the community in which he now lives.”

   

Tim Curley and Gary Schultz currently face criminal charges. Graham Spanier was forced out of office last November, a few days after the grand-jury indictment of Sandusky was released. At the same time, someone came to Paterno’s house with an envelope. According to Posnanski:

   

Paterno opened the envelope; inside was a sheet of Penn State stationery with just a name, John Surma, and a phone number. Surma was the CEO of U.S. Steel and the vice chairman of the State Board of Trustees. Paterno picked up the phone and called the number. “This is Joe Paterno.” “This is John Surma. The board of trustees have terminated you effective immediately.” Paterno hung up the phone before he could hear anything else. A minute later, Sue called the number. “After sixty-one years,” she said, her voice cracking, “he deserved better.” And then she hung up.

 

Paterno died two months later. ♦

How child molesters get away with it – BY MALCOLM GLADWELL

Jupiter, FL – Meghan Marks, Miss Delray Beach Teen USA 2013 hosts "Strike Against Bullying" fundraiser Friday, September 21st 6:00pm till 8:00pm, Jupiter Lanes, 350 Maplewood Drive, Jupiter, 561-743-9200.

 

Bullying affects everyone. Those who are bullied, the bully and those who witness bullying. Each suffer the effects of bullying that can cause damage to everyone's physical, mental and emotional health. Meghan Marks believes no one should endure the tragic effects of bullying and is going to do something to stop the bullying. 

   

Meghan Marks, Miss Delray Beach Teen, USA 2013 has committed to use her celebrity status to eliminate the tragedies of bullying by bringing an awareness and an education to all in our communities. As part of her campaign, Ms. Marks hosts "Strike Against Bullying" fundraiser Friday, September 21st, 6:00pm till 8:00pm, at Jupiter Lanes, 350 Maplewood Drive, Jupiter, 561-743-9200

   

Your support of this event will give Meghan the tools she needs to continue her fight against bullying. A tax free donation of $20 person make you part of the solution to this problem and earns you a place in that group of attendees committed to striking out bullying. As a plus, you also get 2 hours unlimited bowling, including shoe rental.

 

All proceeds got directly to Kidsafe Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit with a mission to empower children, teachers and parents with the education and life skills to make safer and smarter choices. As partners, our goal is to decrease the incidents of child abuse, bullying, peer pressure, abduction and Internet safety issues to create confident skilled children who can be the first line of defense in their own safety.

 

For more information on this event visit the front desk or call Jupiter Lanes at 561-743-9200.

 

For more information on the Kidsafe Foundation visit www.kidsafefoundation.org.

USA 2013 Beauty Queen Strikes Against Bullying and Helps KidSafe Foundation!

Join KidSafe at Old Navy Kids Safety Event!

 

Contact: Jonny Rose

(954) 753-8000

             jonny.rose@wholefoods.com

Luciana Salamé

(305) 573-0658

luciana@brustmancarrinopr.com

 

WHOLE FOODS MARKET® – CORAL SPRINGS CELEBRATES 14 YEARS OF GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY

Saturday, September 15 & Sunday, September 16, 2012

 

Join Whole Foods Market – Coral Springs as it celebrates its 14th anniversary in Coral Springs on Saturday, September 15 and Sunday, September 16, 2012. The two-day celebration titled 14 Years of Giving Back will include fun, interactive activities for customers of all ages and chances to win prizes beginning at noon to 4 p.m. Schedule of activities follows:

Saturday, September 15

  • Customers have one spin at a prize wheel for a chance to win a Whole Trade gift basket.*

  • Kids can take pictures with Wade – the Whole Trade Banana!

  • Customers can meet past recipients of charitable events such as 5% Day and Donate Your Dime and have the chance to nominate a charity of their choice.

  • 2 pm: Kid’s Club – Terrariums with Tammy for the first 20 kids (ages 16 and under) who register at customer service. 

  • 3 pm: “The Voice of Coral Springs” contest. Team Members compete by imitating announcements of the man behind the voice of Whole Foods Market Coral Springs. The winning Team Member gets to choose the store’s next 5% Day beneficiary.

 

Sunday, September 16

  • Sampling of products throughout the store.

  • Prize registrations throughout the store – customers receive an entry form at the front of the store and select a prize to enter to win.*

  • Representatives from America’s Moms for Soldiers will collect non-perishables and toiletries for care packages to be sent to soldiers, marines and airmen serving overseas. 

  • 2 pm: Cake cutting honoring Lisa Boccard from Lisa Boccard Breast Cancer Fund.

In the past, the following organizations have benefitted from various fundraising efforts at Whole Foods Market – Coral Springs: KidSafe Foundation, In Jacob’s Shoes, Horses & The Handicapped, Abi’s Place, Veterans in Need Foundation, Grateful Paws, Sawgrass Nature Center, Lisa Boccard Breast Cancer Fund, JAFCO, SOS Children's Villages – Florida, Kids of Love and more.

*No purchase necessary. See store for Official Rules.

 

Whole Foods MarketCoral Springs is located at 810 University Drive. Telephone: (954) 753-8000.

 

About Whole Foods Market®

Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market (wholefoodsmarket.com, NASDAQ: WFM), is the leading natural and organic food retailer. As America’s first national certified organic grocer, Whole Foods Market was named “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” by Health magazine. The company's motto, “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet”™ captures its mission to ensure customer satisfaction and health, Team Member excellence and happiness, enhanced shareholder value, community support and environmental improvement. Thanks to the company’s more than 64,000 Team Members, Whole Foods Market has been ranked as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America by FORTUNE magazine for 15 consecutive years. In fiscal year 2011, the company had sales of more than $10 billion and currently has more than 315 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

KidSafe Foundation at Whole Foods Coral Springs 14 years Giving Back To The Community!

This is what many parents tell us when we discuss the importance of asking “safety questions” to another parent/friend /adult before sending their kids to a play date, sleep over, or off to sports practice.  With all of the stories in the media lately about seemingly “trusted adults” in children’s lives who have broken that trust and abused children, it is important to ask yourself as a parent, “Is my discomfort with asking safety questions more important than my child’s safety?”  “Is the chance of “offending” someone by asking these questions more important than my child’s safety?”

 

Perhaps a year ago you might not have even thought to ask – but now that you have woken up to the epidemic of child abuse happening everyday across the nation, now that you know that 90% of the time a child is harmed by someone they know, you can’t just bury your head in the sand or say that would never happen to my child…because it can and it does.

 

We want your children to be safe. We want you as parents to feel that you have done all in your power to keep your child safe. We want you to feel confident that you have taught your child what they need to know, so when they are not with you they will make the safest and smartest choices…and if anything “unsafe” does happen, that they would report it to you immediately.

With that said, below are some questions/discussions that are important to ask the many other people you entrust with your child.

 

Play date/Sleep over:

  • Who will be watching the children?

  • Do you have older children and will they or their friends be present?

  • Do you have a gun in your house?

  • What safety rules do you have in your house?

  • Will you be staying at your house? What is the plan?

  • Is the TV and internet use monitored?

  • What are the sleeping arrangements?

At the end of the day we hope that your child will be having a play date or sleep over with a family you know well and is like minded when it comes to safety. Asking these questions does not ensure your child will be safe, but how the adult answers the questions is important to your child’s safety.

Are they offended?  Do they tell you that you are too overprotective?  Are they giving you the answers that make you feel your child will be in a safe environment? One of the most important ways to keep your child safe is to trust your own instincts. If you are not comfortable with the answers the adult is giving you, it is your right to decline the invitation for your child. You are the first line of defense in your child’s safety.

 

Conversations with your child:

  • Your body is special and belongs to you

  • You are in charge of your body and nobody should touch you in any way that makes you feel confused, weird, uncomfortable or on your private parts

  • You should not touch or look at anyone’s privates

  • When over a friend’s house clothes must always stay on

  • No one should take pictures of your privates or show you pictures of naked people

  • No playing in the master bedroom

  • No one should ever ask you to keep a secret from us – or keep a secret that makes you uncomfortable and you are NEVER allowed to tell

  • Let your child know that you will always believe them and praise them when they report unsafe situations to you

  • Model and role play situations so your child will know what to do and how to respond

  • Ask “what if” questions to see if your child will make the safest and smartest choices

  • Discuss your safety rules and they should be followed when you are at another’s house

  • Have a code word your child can say to you over the phone so if your child wants to leave they don’t have to be embarrassed.

After reading that lengthy list and having these conversations it does not mean your child will be safe, or that your child will follow your directions, but you open the door to conversations that should be had on a regular basis as a natural part of your parenting. If you, your friends, and your children’s friend’s parents all start speaking the same language of safety and are excepting to openly discuss these questions your children will be safer. So are you still embarrassed to ask these questions? If you answered yes…get over it! Nothing is more important than your child’s safety!

Are you embarrassed to ask safety questions? Not asking could put your child in harms way!

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Media Contact:

Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA

sallyb@kidsafefoundation.org

561-715-1077

NEWS RELEASE

Andrea S. Garcia Appointed to KidSafe Foundation Board of Directors

 Aims to take child abuse prevention non-profit organization to national level

 

Boca Raton FL- KidSafe Foundation, a South Florida 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to prevent child abuse, has appointed Andrea S. Garcia to its Board of Directors. Garcia is a Senior Sales Consultant at Oasis Outsourcing, Inc. in Boca Raton and actively involved in the Junior League of Boca Raton, where she has held leadership positions since 2005.  She is currently on the Junior League’s Board of Directors as the Vice President of Community Issues where she oversees 12 committees.

   

“I am thrilled and honored to be elected to the board. I am very passionate about KidSafe as I have a 2 year old son and a ton of family and friends with young children. I want to do everything in my power to help everyone be KidSafe.  This organization is coming into a very exciting time with so much growth and opportunity not only locally but nationally as well. I feel with my nonprofit experience I will be able to help their internal structure and strategically move this organization forward to more national exposure. I am looking forward to working with an incredible board to achieve the many goals of The KidSafe Foundation. “

 

Established by child safety experts, Sally Berenzweig MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW, KidSafe Foundation provides Prevention Education programs and materials to children and adults to decrease child sexual abuse, bullying, and internet dangers. KidSafe has educated over 30,000 children and provided seminars to thousands of adults throughout South Florida.

For information on KidSafe Foundation programs and books visit www.kidsafefoundation.org or call 1-855-844-SAFE.

###

 

About KidSafe Foundation:

KidSafe Foundation a 501c3 nonprofit #27-1067698 www.kidsafefoundation.org, was founded in September 2009 by two Mothers, Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW, Child Safety Experts, Mental Health Professionals, Educators, Public Speakers and Authors of KidSafe for Kids - an 8 week in school program for children 4-12 and two children’s books used in their program, Jack Teaches His Friends To Be KidSafe! and 2011 Literary Classics Award Winner - My Body is Special and Belongs to ME!   KidSafe has educated over 30,000 children and provided seminars to thousands of adults throughout South Florida.  95% of abuse and exploitation of children is preventable through education and we believe every child and adult deserves the right to learn how to keep themselves safe.

 

 

Rebecca Coleman

EUREKA! PRODUCTIONS

http://eurekaworldwide.com 

561-445-4442  

 

Andrea S. Garcia Appointed to KidSafe Foundation Board of Directors

Slowly and methodically I am seeing all the news, editorials and comments about Penn State and Jerry Sandusky child abuse case disappearing from the headlines. I am feeling that people have had enough of reading and thinking about the horrible abuses against children that went on for decades by Jerry Sandusky. Thus, my fear.

 

The world in the beginning of the abuse allegations denied this could happen, came to realize it did in fact happen and now just wants to close the door to thinking about what really transpired – again my fear.

 

I am afraid for our children and you should be too, because the only way that we are ever going to prevent child abuse is to realize children are being abused right this minute, right around the corner, right down the street, and most likely by someone you know. We have to continue to be outraged that our precious children are being harmed and our current laws protect the offender not our children. We have to collectively work on keeping these stories alive as that is the only way education, awareness and advocacy for preventing child abuse can happen.

 

Please join KidSafe Foundation as we work to prevent child abuse. How? Read our educational blogs about how to keep children safe and share them with those you love. Become a fan of KidSafe Foundation on Facebook and spread the word. Follow us on Twitter and spread the awareness of nonprofits like KidSafe that work to prevent abuse.

 

It takes a village to keep children safe. KidSafe Foundation is not alone in our work to prevent child abuse. But if the news stories of child abuse disappear so will the outrage and the impetus for change. So be afraid for our children, be so afraid that it will give you the courage to get involved and help promote the protection and prevention of crimes against children. Then and only then do our children have a chance at being safe. For more information about KidSafe Foundation www.kidsafefoundation.org

I am afraid for our kids and you should be too!

In this record breaking hot summer, a number of children have been dying due to adults “forgetting” about them in the car. As we are parents of older children (the youngest being 9) we had to think back to those early days of waking every two hours to feed the baby…”Try to nap when your baby does” is what everyone says, but it rarely works (at least for us it didn’t)...and being so physically, emotionally and mentally tired that you can barely see straight.

 

Never Say Never:

 

We remember those days. You are so tired you have to ask yourself: Did I shower today? Did I take my vitamin? Pill? When we think back to being that exhausted and we (Cherie and I) have to think that for a parent to “forget” their child – the most precious thing in the world …you must be tired beyond belief! We are asking ourselves could we have ever left our child in the car? Could that have happened to us? Ask yourself – could you do that? We would like to think NO – that could never happen, but, if you have been a parent long enough you have learned to say to yourself…..never say NEVER. So our take on this is: Forget about "could you do it." Let's discuss prevention strategies to help you NEVER do it!

 

Strategy #1

Leave your pocketbook or wallet and cell phone in the backseat next to your child in the car seat. By doing this you are not only ensuring that you won’t forget your child, but you can also now sign up for Oprah’s no phone zone because if your cell is in the backseat you are not talking or texting.

 

Strategy #2

Put a stuffed animal in the car seat when your child is not in it – when you go to put your child in the seat – you take the animal out and put it next to you as a reminder your child is in the car seat.

 

Strategy #3

Write yourself a brightly-colored sticky note on the dashboard of your car – baby in back! 

 

Strategy #4

Buy yourself the child safety mirror that attaches to your rearview mirror so that you can see your child at all times.

 

Easily Preventable

This tragedy is so easily preventable – just by using the above strategies, you could save a life. Please relay this information to friends, family and coworkers so no more families have to suffer from this awful tragedy.

Don’t leave your child in the car!!! Strategies so you never do!!!

June 23, 2012                                                                                          

Media Contact: Sally Berenzweig, 855-844-SAFE

 

Child Safety Experts Sally Berenzweig and Cherie Benjoseph Cofounders of

KidSafe Foundation Comment on Jerry Sandusky’s Guilty Verdict

 

“This is an important day in the world of child safety. The survivors showed enormous strength to come forward and to be believed by a jury of Jerry Sandusky's peers sends a clear message that the tide is changing. Children you will be believed! I hope that healing can begin and for all who have been abused by Jerry Sandusky and those who have yet to come forward from this case or any other.  I hope seeing Jerry Sandusky found guilty, may give them the strength to tell. The world has woken up to the fact that child abuse is an epidemic and those of us in the field of protecting children from harm will not let them ever sleep again. We will put more advocacy, awareness, training and education into prevention and always put the safety of children first. 95% of abuse and exploitation of children is preventable with education. All children deserve the right to be safe. KidSafe Foundation is on a mission to provide every child and adult with prevention education, so no child will ever be harmed again”                                                                                                                                              Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA

 

“We hope Jerry Sandusky’s guilty verdict will help those who have been abused start their healing process and raise awareness of the importance of prevention education for all adults and children. Protecting children must be a priority. We are grateful to the jury for telling the world children YOU are believed and Justice will be served. Now is the time for all schools, institutions, organizations and parents to provide Prevention Education training to all adults who work with children. Show the world that you will put the safety of children first. Please reach out to KidSafe Foundation and we will help you.”                                                 Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW

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KidSafe Foundation

The KidSafe Foundation is a 501c3 Florida Nonprofit working to bring Safety Prevention Education to children, and adults to decrease abuse, bullying, abduction and instruct about online safety issues. To learn more about The KidSafe Foundation or to order KidSafe books, please visit http://www.KidSafeFoundation.org

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Press Release: KidSafe Foundation Comments Jerry Sandusky Guilty Verdict!

In light of the Publicity Surrounding the Sandusky Trial, KidSafe Foundation South Florida based 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to empower children and adults with Education to prevent child abuse, urges Parents to Protect their Children from Pedophile Predators through Sex Abuse Prevention Training. As you hear testimony from the survivors and they share their stories, all of them are similar as Sandusky’s MO is pure Pedophile grooming and pure Pedophile Speak.

 

A Pedophile does think what they are doing is wrong and thinks a child is a willing participant and therein lies why most children do not tell. 90% of the time a child is harmed by someone they know, 68% of the time it is a family member. The children Jerry Sandusky abused were no match for a skilled Pedophile whose goal is to make a child feel it is their fault, no one will believe them, especially when it is someone so revered as Jerry Sandusky was at Penn State.

   

What is important for adults reading all the media coverage surrounding Jerry Sandusky is that to best protect children we must educate all adults especially those working with children in Sexual Abuse Prevention Education. We must change the culture of institutions, organization, schools and universities in which the protection of children is at the forefront. Not only will this help the adults recognize the red flags of an offender when they are in the process of grooming our children, it will teach them what do and how to respond to protect children. Through educating children we can help them understand they have the right to be safe, have a voice, and access help. We must as a society recognize that child abuse is an epidemic and put as much time, money, advocacy and training into teaching all how to protect our children. Then and only then will our children, the future leaders of the world have a chance to be safe.

         

Protecting children from Pedophiles

As the child abuse charges against Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno and Penn State University administration as a whole first surfaced everyone seemed to be astounded, denied it could happen and responded by initially supporting Sandusky.

 

For people in the field of child abuse prevention and for the survivors of any abuse we were appalled by the support of Jerry Sandusky and Penn State at large. We asked ourselves, how do they not see what we see? How do they not hear what we hear? Don’t they understand children don’t lie about abuse? Thankfully this weekend I watched Sports Reporters with Host John Saunders and commentators Bob Ryan, Mike Lupica, and Israel Gutierrez. Not only did they talk about Sandusky but they called him out, Stop this continuation of abuse and exploitation of these survivors – admit your guilt so they don’t have to suffer through this trial. As they looked directly into the camera, holding back tears, asking Mrs. Sandusky, Where the hell were you?  How did you not stop this? Wow – this was a powerful moment for me watching these grown men finally “get it” and now as outraged as everyone should be. Grown men, their hearts seemingly broken over what happened to these children, and not over the breakdown of the beloved Penn State.

 

I have been waiting and hoping that this would happen before the survivors had to go through the painful experience of sharing their abuse in a court room.  I was wishing that someone, anyone would advise Jerry Sandusky that he has done enough harm – admit your guilt and go away and do one decent thing for not only those you abused but for the world. When the commentators turned to the camera and called the Sandusky’s out – “I am talking to you Mary Sandusky” tears rolled down my eyes, I clapped, feeling maybe just maybe if these men now get it…the world might get it too.

 

 If Jerry Sandusky was listening, if his lawyer was listening, I can only hope there will be a turn of events this week, and the unthinkable becomes real – Sandusky will admit his guilt. Survivors and everyone touched by this abuse can begin their healing process and Sandusky will go directly to jail and the world will have one less pedophile free to harm children.

Support for Jerry Sandusky Diminishing – Finally!

Do you assume the camp you chose for your kids will be safe? Have you asked the appropriate questions that would give you confidence in the camp? When we asked this question of friends and family sending their kids to camp, most parents with a slight blush and timid smile reported that their main concerns were:

  • Will my child have friends at the camp

  • Expense of the camp

  • Location of camp

  • Activities their children will be experiencing

Not one parent thought to ask

  • what is the camp’s risk assessment for safety?

  • What is their safety record?

  • Health precautions?

  • Have the counselors been trained? If so what exactly are they trained in?

  • Have they ever experienced any abuse problems in the past?

  • What safety precautions has the camp put in place so my children will be safe?

Wow – it’s an eye opener…so ask yourself now have you EVER asked these questions to a director or even thought about them before? What would you do if you had prior knowledge that the camp you are sending your child to had numerous accidents, revolving door of counselors through the years and a counselor that had harmed a child  wouldn’t you want to know? I think we all can agree that we would want to know and most parents, after having that information would choose to send their child to a different camp….But how do you know the prior safety record of a camp if you don’t ask? You can’t always find all the information you need from Google nor from asking a friend what they think of the camp.

 

We spend more time trying to find out the safety rating of the car we drive then we do the safety of the camp we are sending our precious children to. So, with that said we have a challenge for you- We want to you to take the safety of your child to a new level by asking the director of the camp the following questions:

  • Are criminal background checks performed on all your employees?

  • Is each person checked through the National Sex offender registry?

  • Do you conduct interviews and reference checks on all employees (including teen counselors)?

  • How do you screen for possible sex offenders?

  • During your interview process do you discuss boundaries – appropriate or inappropriate touches? Bullying?

  • Do you offer your employee’s clear policies about sexual misconduct and consequences – are these policies in writing in an employee handbook?

  • What steps are you taking to decrease the risk of sexual abuse at your camp?

  • What steps are you taking to decrease the risk of bullying at camp?

  • What type of training do you offer your staff?

  • Do you offer training to staff to prevent sexual abuse and bullying?

  • Are you licensed by the state?

  • Are you accredited by the ACA ? (http://www.acacamps.org/)

Your children deserve to go to a camp that takes their personal safety as seriously as you do. So please take the time to ask your Camp Director these questions so you can be satisfied and confident that the camp you are sending your child to is doing everything they can to ensure your child’s safety. But please don’t stop there….Talk with your children about their personal safety. Talk with them about “what if” scenarios so you can see if they will come up with the safest and smartest choices when away from you. Let your children know they can talk to you about ANYTHING!!!

 

Most importantly have a conversation with your child about

  • Personal Boundaries

  • safe and unsafe touches

  • Reporting to a trusted adult if they are uncomfortable or feel confused by anything

  • their bodies are special and belong to them

  • they have the right to be safe

  • they have the right to say "No" even to an adult

We owe it to our children to send them to a camp we feel confident has done its best to educate and train their staff on prevention education so that your child will have a safe and happy summer. We owe it ourselves to allow our children the freedom to experience new things without us and feel that we have done everything we can to ensure their safety.

After all, don’t you think your children are worth it?

Is your child’s camp safe?

[caption id="attachment_2091" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="           KidSafe Foundation Cofounders Sally Berenzweig & Cherie Benjoseph"][/caption]

 

KidSafe Foundation’s 3rd annual “Cocktails for a Cause” was the place to be on Thursday April 26, 2012 at Red, The Steakhouse – Rosso, Boca Raton, Florida’s Hottest New Restaurant. Over 200 guests attended the event from 5:30 – 8:00 PM while provided Open Bar, Food, Auction and Raffles.

 

Boca Raton, FL - The KidSafe Foundation, a Florida 501(c) 3 nonprofit working to bring Prevention Education Safety Programs to both children and adults to Prevent Child Abuse, Bullying and Internet Dangers, raises over $21,000 in donations at their annual fundraiser “Cocktails for a Cause.”

 

“We are extremely grateful to the over 200 KidSafe supporters who attended our event. It was an incredible night brought together by our generous sponsors: Greenberg Traurig P.A., Kennesaw Fruit and Juices, Herman, Mermelstein & Horowowitz P.A. and Sky Salon. We are beyond appreciative of the staff and owners of our new favorite restaurant Red, The Steakhouse – Rosso. Our Guests were treated like royalty and the food was incredible. We plan to partner with them again to host many more events in the future.”

Sally Berenzweig, Cofounder KidSafe Foundation

 

“The team at Rosso and Red wants to send a special thank you to all of the supporters who came to The KidSafe Foundation Fundraiser. We were so happy to host “Cocktails for a Cause” for an amazing nonprofit that works so hard to prevent children from harm. We look forward to hosting future events as we strongly believe in their cause.”

Rosemary Staltare, Director of Marketing and Sales at Red Restaurant Group

 

 

“I attend KidSafe’s event every year because not only is it a cause near and dear to my heart but I always have an incredible time. The food was incredible, the space was perfect and the auction and raffle items were one of a kind.”                       

Robyn Salk, guest

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About The KidSafe Foundation

The KidSafe Foundation is a 501(c) 3 Nonprofit dedicated to providing Education to children, parents, teachers and guidance counselors to Prevent Child Abuse, Bullying, and Internet Dangers. Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW the Cofounders of KidSafe, Child Safety Experts, Mental Health Professionals, Educators, Public Speakers, Authors and most importantly two moms on a mission to keep children safe. They have taught over 30,000 children throughout South Florida and have brought their workshops and seminars to thousands of adults. To learn more about KidSafe Foundation please visit their web site www.kidsafefoundation.org

 

Press Release: KidSafe Foundation’s “Cocktails For A Cause”

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                       Her name is Anya. She is smart, kind, eloquent, beautiful, philanthropic, pro golfer and a survivor of childhood sex abuse. She is sharing her story to break the silence and to raise awareness to prevent others from suffering sexual abuse.

                       A man, a friend of the family, slowly over time groomed her when she was 9. He helped the family out by offering to take Anya golfing while her parents worked. Every time he visited with her he brought her gifts of her favorite foods and candy. She trusted him, as did her parents. Over time in their car rides together this man began to talk with 9 year old Anya about a man’s body and a girl’s. Although Anya had never had conversations with her parents about her body, safe touches and unsafe touches, secrets and boundaries, instinctively she felt something was ‘strange’ but she did not know yet that this was crossing a line of personal safety.

                       The abuse went from verbal to sexual abuse – often occurring in the car. She didn’t tell as he abused her for 6 months. He did not “hurt” her and she was so confused as she loved this man. On one hand he cared for her, brought her things she loved and spent time with her. On the other he sexually abused her. Her confusion also stemmed from her body. The touch sometimes felt good. Our bodies are programmed to respond to touch and therein is where Anya’s and many children become confused, uncomfortable, nervous, and they have inner turmoil over the abuse.

                      Ayna shares feelings of being ashamed and not sharing her secret until this man abused her in a way that made something snap inside her. She immediately ran from the man directly to her father to report. She was scared, but he believed her immediately. The abuser was literally saying to the father as she is disclosing the abuse that Anya was lying. Imagine the courage it took Anya to stand strong to an authority figure. Her father believed her immediately. This gift (and it is a gift) of her father’s utter belief in Anya’s story became the strength that would start her healing.

                     Anya Alvarez has become our spokesperson for KidSafe Foundation as she believes, had she had a program of prevention education at a young age she would have recognized that something was not right very early on and would have spoken to her parents about it. Anya has joined forces with KidSafe sharing her story in the hopes that together they can prevent child abuse.

                    Last night at a presentation they provided together at Boca Helping Hands, parents asked amazing questions. Anya clearly had an enormous impact. We want to share the main points:

  • Start at a young age (4) and talk with your children about their bodies, boundaries, safe and unsafe touches and secrets.

  • Empower children that their bodies are special and belong to them.

  • Empower your children that they have a voice and can say “NO” if something does not feel right or is uncomfortable.

  • Tell your children they can talk with you about anything and you will not be uncomfortable with what they say.

  • Listen and remain “poker faced” no matter what they say so communication does not break down.

  • Do NOT use the terms “good touch” or “bad touch” – it is too confusing as sexual abuse can feel good. Use Safe Touch  and Unsafe touch.

  • Reporting is crucial and adults need to trust their instincts and always err on the side of protecting children.

  • Disclosure – always believe your children if they tell you they were abused (they will often tell indirectly). It is so rare for children to lie about abuse and your belief can make them feel powerful and give them strength to start their healing.

  • Tell your children it is never ever their fault if they are abused. It is ALWAYS the abusers fault.

  • Counseling immediately is important. Not just for the survivor but for the whole family.

    Anya’s final words – "Don’t treat survivors as victims and become overprotective of them."

                    It is common for parents to want to put their child in a bubble when they have been hurt, but Anya says this can make a child feel more alienated then they already feel. KidSafe and Anya are on a mission together to prevent child abuse. They believe that 95% of abuse and exploitation of children can be prevented with education. Please join us on our mission and share this blog with your family and friends and together we will break the cycle of child abuse. You can watch Anya Alvarez on the golf channel on May 14 2012 starring in The Big Break http://www.golfchannel.com/media/big-break-atlantis-player-photo-gallery/#24

Golf Pro Anya Alvarez: One Survivor’s Story & Her Goal To Stop Child Abuse!

                  I am standing at the counter checking out at the pharmacy when my almost 11 year old son standing with me says “Wow!” I turn to see what he is wowing about and he has picked up the new Sports Illustrated Swim Suit magazine and it going crazy telling me how gorgeous these women are, as he is franticly turning the pages. My first reaction was laughter, so was the reaction of the people in line; and then he says “Mom are these free? Can I keep this?” “No, they are not free...you have to pay for them, why?” I ask , already knowing the answer.

                 “Are you kidding me, these women are amazing – this is crazy, I can’t believe I can almost see real breasts!” Again, all the people in line are laughing…but now I am not. He begs for the magazine, like it’s an app for his Itouch. He says if I buy it for him he will never ask me for an app again (not)..there is a long line, I can’t do my parenting right now and provide a “teachable moment” I throw it on the counter to buy it and we leave the store – with my son telling me “You are the best, Mom!”

               We get into the car and he is flipping through the magazine like a crazy person when I pull it away, saying I need to look through it first to make sure it’s appropriate for you to see (though he has already now seen it all) and he says “Mom, do you have to be so “KidSafe?” I just want to see these women, it’s normal, it’s okay, what’s the problem?”

              I need time to think…what is the problem? (I know when we get home that is what my husband will say.) I say, “Do you think women really look like that?” “What do you mean?” he asks. I say, “When you look at those pictures these women have perfect hair, perfect bodies, but most women don’t really look like that. He says “I know, I have seen you.” (I breathe.) Now I’m outraged but I practice what I preach and I remain calm with a poker face.

               I say, “Honey, I am 45 years old, the women in this magazine are maybe 20, and their job is to make their bodies look good by working out and eating right (or not eating at all). At the end of the day the magazine works with photo shop to make them look “perfect” – his answers, “I know all that, and the problem is?” I feel a teachable moment coming, but I am uncertain as to what I should be teaching him. 

  • Not all women look like that? (that he knows)

  • It’s not appropriate for him to look at beautiful women? (no, that’s not it)

  • Don't objectify women (he is not)

  • He’s too young?

             For what? We have had numerous sex talks, we have had safe and unsafe touch talk…in fact we talk all the time about how to treat women with respect, about boundaries, about his body and girls’ bodies, the differences, and that’s when I realize the teachable moment is for me.

            I have to realize that my son is growing up, he appreciates beautiful women, understands not all women look like that, and photo shop can be a great tool. He knows he can ask us anything, say anything about his body and the changes happening to it without any discomfort. He can say “Mom, I want to look at these women."  He can say all that and more to us because we have brought him up to talk to us about anything and we will answer as honestly as we can, or seek the information if we don’t know the answer.  But most importantly we make him feel comfortable letting us know his thoughts and feelings.

         We open the door to our house and he is pulling the magazine out to show his dad. My husband looks at me and grins. I say, “I didn’t know if it was appropriate for him to look at, but he sold me on all the reasons it was okay, what do you think?” My husband says “You are kidding right?” and they proceed to sit together and turn the pages. I realized as they turned the pages, that we have also turned a page in our lives. 

Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Magazine & My Almost 11 Year Old Son!

This is a letter to Athletes, Singers, Actors, Actresses, and anyone in the spotlight!

 

While I believe in freedom of expression and speech, there are many children in the world that idolize and look up to you. With your celebrity and all that it gives you it puts you in the spotlight and makes children want to emulate you. In this day and age when parenting children is tougher than ever, as they are exposed to the world through an abundance of technology, I ask that you think twice before you tweet naked pictures of yourself, drive drunk, do drugs, fist fight, bully and all the other horrific things we have seen you do of late that have made the news.

 

How are we to teach our children that; Sexting is wrong, Don’t drive Drunk, Don’t do drugs, Think before you speak, Think before you post… When adults can’t do it?

 

It is important to model for children appropriate behaviors and as parents that is our responsibility, but when you are in the spotlight and you know that children look up to you, don’t you think you have some type of responsibility to try to make good decisions?

 

I am not a “prude” but when I wake up in the morning to read headlines like:

 

"Rihanna tweets topless photos"

“Hulk Hogan doesn't know who is in sex tape with him”

“Bounty payments in football”  and so much more…I have to ask:

 

“Do you think about things before you do them?” “Do you understand you have been given a gift and with that gift you could do so much good in the world?” “Before you tweet, make a sex tape, get paid to hit, bully, drive drunk, please consider your good fortune of being where you are in life and think of all the children watching what you are doing and wanting to be “YOU”, and maybe just maybe that might make you stop and think and make a smarter choice.” Just one parents thoughts!

An Open Letter To Celebrities

                     KidSafe Foundation was extremely fortunate in 2010 when we held a fundraiser. We were having a great time and were being quite loud and spirited using a microphone – calling out raffle winners, when a man (not a guest of our event) came over to our sign in table and asked what was going on at the restaurant as he was trying to have a quiet business dinner in the dining area. You see, we only had use of the restaurant bar and lounge and this man was trying to conduct an important business meeting and was not able to hear his guest. Our board member explained we are a 501(c)3 nonprofit this is a fundraiser…He simply stated, “If you turn off that microphone, I will match whatever you bring in.”

                 Hence (we are not dummies) the microphone was turned off! To you skeptics out there who might be thinking this man would never make good on that promise (and I have to admit, my husband was one of them) not only did this amazing generous man send us the promised donation, but this interaction sparked a relationship in which he has become a mentor, a donor, a support system and a friend. This is an incredibly smart, savvy, generous, wealthy, busy man with a huge heart!

               Yesterday we received the privilege of meeting his wife who is beautiful inside and out and we were not surprised at all to find the same generous spirit of wanting to give back and help. She is one of the original supporters who helped start the Adam Walsh Foundation – which now is the Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  During our lunch with this truly amazing couple who work so hard for a living on two coasts, and support 7 different charities, they were not only kind enough to take us to lunch, but sit with us as we described our goals for the next five years. (These are people who value their own and others time, so you can imagine as a nonprofit getting the chance to share our passion for our cause with people that can actually help us get there…we didn’t waste a second.)

            In conversation, we explained how much we use social networking for our nonprofit and how Twitter in particular has been incredible for opening doors, sharing information, selling our children’s books and blogging for online parenting magazines. They are somewhat “old school” and by that I do not mean “old” as they are not….they just have not embraced twitter, facebook, google+ as all of you reading this have. He challenged us to raise $5000 in two weeks through the use of twitter to see for himself the power of social networking and he will match up to $5000! This is where you all come in – it could mean as little as $2 per our 3500 followers within the next 14 days. We implore you to help us meet this challenge! http://www.kidsafefoundation.org/donate/

           We promise to share totals on a daily basis (g-d willing we get donations) and we will stop tweeting about it when we reach his designated match of $5,000. If you have read this far, you love this story as much as we do, you can’t believe our good fortune of meeting this couple (neither can we) you want to stop child abuse as much as we do, and you realize when you give back expecting nothing in return it is the truest form of giving. However, 100% of the monies received go directly to providing prevention education programs and our safety books to children and adults. Thank you for taking the time to read about this incredibly philanthropic couple who are doing so much “good” in this world.  Please pass this on and ask your friends and families to spare a $1.00 – if they choose not to, that’s okay…It’s a great story and can give hope to skeptics out there who don’t believe people like this exist. They do! Please help us reach this challenge – donate now the countdown has begun - http://www.kidsafefoundation.org/donate/

Do things like this really happen? Read about our Donor Twitter Challenge!

KidSafe Foundation in collaboration with Kristi Kernal of The OAASIS Organization in Oregon (Oregon Abuse Advocates & Survivors in Service) is continuing the important discussion of child sexual abuse by trusted adults in our schools. The following is an interview Kristi had with a survivor – now an educator herself, who is sharing her story in the hope to provide adults with insight into the vulnerability of children, the grooming process, and tips to prevent abuse from occurring to your children.   “When I met Shannon Jones a few years ago, I quickly discovered that we had many things in common.  We share a love for children, a passion for excellence in education, a faith that sustains us, and a compelling desire to raise awareness about child sex abuse.  Shannon agreed to meet with me to share a story that is deeply personal to her, with the hopes that it will help other parents take necessary steps and precautions to keep children safe in schools.” Kristi Kernal, Vice President OAASIS   Kristi:               “Shannon, one of the reasons why I love working in the public school system with elementary-aged children is that for me, as a child, school was my “safe place.” “Home” for me was an oftentimes violent, unpredictable, and terrifying place to be.  When I was at school, I felt safe, happy, and cared for.  Because of my early experiences, I’m passionate about working now to create a school culture that is safe, positive and nurturing for children.  It’s heartbreaking to me that school was NOT a safe and happy place for you.  How did you feel about school as a child?”   Shannon:         “When I first started school I felt the same way you did.  It wasn’t until we moved overseas those feelings were replaced with ones of fear, mistrust, and isolation.”   Kristi:               “How would you describe yourself as a child?  What were some of the things you loved and were interested in?  What was your personality and temperament like?”   Shannon:         “I was an only child up to the age of 9.  During the first 5-6 years of my life I lived with my maternal grandparents as my mother was a young single mother. My grandparents were amazing and very protective; being raised in a house full of adults made me pretty mature for my age.  My aunt once said, “Shannon is a 30 year old in a child’s body.” I didn’t play with dolls or things like that.  I loved animals, reading, singing with my Papaw. I also liked going to antique stores and learning about history. I was a pretty easy going child and really wanted to please people. I was also very tender hearted.  My mother will tell you that I was opinionated and had no problem “educating” people on things they didn’t know. I think it was more that I had never been talked down to by my grandparents so I was conversing like I would with them.”   Kristi:  “How would you describe your family of origin?  What were some of the specific challenges your parents and family had, when you were a child?”   Shannon:    “My mother was very young when she had me so I was raised primarily by my maternal grandparents, Nanny and Papaw.  When I was 6 she met and married my step-father.  He was a fighter pilot in the Air Force.  Shortly after they were married we moved overseas to England.  This was extremely hard for me because I was moving away from my grandparents. During the first 2 years in England, my mother had two critically ill children. One with a birth defect called gastroschisis and the other with Downs.  Both spent much of the beginnings of their lives in hospitals in London.  (This was about a 2 hour drive from where we lived.)  My mother would spend her weekdays in the hospital with them and then my step-father and I would go up on the weekends or she would come home.  During this time my step-father would also be gone on Temporary Duty to various other countries in Europe.  When he was not home I would stay with other families in our squadron so that I could still attend school.  This left me alone on many fronts; it was sort of like being in foster care and I think I suffered from some of those same feelings of isolation, lack of family support and the sense that everyone was so much more important than myself.  Even at the young age of 9, I felt my siblings needed our parents more than I and my parents were already stressed to the tenth degree. I truly don’t know how my Mother survivedI am not sure I could have.  The character resolve that we were going to “make it,” and things were going to get better sort of became her mantra. I know her faith carried her when her body couldn’t.  My step father also began attending church.”   Kristi:   “That must have been a lot for you to carry, as a child.  Did you feel like you had any safe adults in your life that you could go to for support?”   Shannon:   “It was a lot for a child my age, or any age really, to carry.  Because I knew firsthand how sick my siblings were and they needed my parents, even more than me, I didn’t ask for much.  Unfortunately, I felt I was alone and had to deal with everything myself. There was no one to talk to about anything.  Because I was a pleaser I am sure my parents thought, “Oh, we don’t have to worry about Shannon.  What could she possibly do?  At school there was no one to talk to either.  When my abuse started I had a terrible 4th grade teacher who kind of sealed that fate for me.  I can remember helping a kindergartener take off her skates at recess.  Of course this made me late getting back to class myself.  I walked in the door and my teacher yells across the room, “YOU ARE LATE!!!! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?”  I told her exactly what had happened and she called me a liar right in front of the class.  She wouldn’t accept my truth and kept telling me to tell the truth or she was going to call my parents.  For me, that was something I didn’t want to happen so I told her the lie she wanted to hear.  She called my parents after school and told them what a liar I was and yes, I got in trouble for lying from my parents. I didn’t tell them the real story either because I didn’t want to get my teacher in trouble and figured it would be easier on everyone if I took the punishment and said nothing.  I also thought the repercussions from this teacher would have been even more severe than that of my parents. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I told them what really happened. I think it was on this day that my abuser picked me out to be his next victim.”   Kristi: “What kind of hurtful and potentially dangerous messages did that experience with your 4th grade teacher send to you as a child?”   Shannon:  “I think it told me that even if you tell the truth you are going to be seen as a liar. It was far better to just hold things in and not make waves about anything.  I truly believe that I shut down and became a shell of the little girl I had once been.”   Kristi:  “Soon after, an adult in your school did appear to care about you, and reach out to you when you were hurting inside, and needed someone to care about you and validate you.  Can you talk about that?”   Shannon:  “Now that I am an adult I can look back on what happened to me and see that this man groomed me.  He had seen me in the library on the day that my teacher had called me a lair and came over to ask what was wrong.  You have to understand that this man was very close in age to my grandfather so I instantly felt comfortable and wanted to unburden myself with what had just taken place.  He told me he would help me.  He talked with me about how hard it must be not having my family around and being in a different country.  He seemed to genuinely care about me.  He knew so much about my life that I am not sure how much I really even revealed to him.  He offered to have me come and help him in the Library so that I didn’t have to be in class with, “the monster teacher.”  He also added that he would let me have first pick at the new books.  Having a veracious love of reading, this synched it for me.  At first I don’t think I could have asked for a better, “protector.”  He would get me out of class, talk with me and then just do really nice things that made me feel special; something that I hadn’t felt since leaving the states.  He also said things like, “You remind me so much of my granddaughter.”  He also shared with me that his wife was very ill and handicapped. (I am not sure if that was really true or he was looking for sympathy from me.) I can remember giving him a hug and saying I was so sorry for him.  He knew just the right buttons to push. (that is what predators do to gain trust of children and is called “grooming”)   It all began to change when school was out and the library was open for the summer.  One day when I came to the library he said he found a new book for me.  He asked me to stay after the other visitors were gone and I could, “Open the box and be the first.”  I stayed and he took me over to a quiet part of the library with no windows and gave me the box.  As I opened it he stood behind me and put his hands on my shoulders and sort of whispered/kissed my ear.  I froze.  This began a 1 year of sexual abuse that I didn’t even really have the words for.  It wasn’t until I was sitting in my 5th grade Sex Ed class that I knew correct words to explain what was happening to me.  I wanted to cry.  I felt so dirty, ashamed and powerless.  I can remember telling myself that we only had a few more months and then we would be moving back to the States.  I could handle it.”   Kristi: “Looking back, are you able to see how the school building, the staff, school culture, and other factors may have inadvertently created an environment where a child predator could succeed at gaining access to children? “   Shannon:  “Yes!  I believe our building was built in the mid-70 and the library was in an L shape with an entire section with no windows or exits.  It was located on the second floor so the side with the windows really didn’t help.  No one could see in.  Many on the staff didn’t seem to take a great interest in the lives of their students and no one made an effort to reach out to me except, of course, my abuser.  I don’t remember ever being told about stranger danger or safe and unsafe touch.   Kristi:  “When survivors like you bravely tell their stories, it helps bring much needed awareness to this issue.  When we talk about educating the public and parents on child sex abuse, it’s important for them to hear about the impact of abuse on a child (and the adult that child later becomes).  How would you say that your experience as a victim of child sex abuse impacted you?”   Shannon:  “Holy cow, where do I begin… I think I have strong trust issues and constantly feel the need to do things on my own; never depending on anyone because I feel they will only disappoint.  I have panic attacks about my own children being hurt and not being there to protect them.  I have control issues that border a little on OCD.  At times I battle with depression. I stress every time I hear about another innocent child being hurt because it takes me right back to being that child. And this is me after counseling.”   Kristi:  “At what point did you tell your parents about the abuse?  How did they respond?” Shannon:  “I didn’t tell my parents until I was an adult.  They were crushed, flooded with guilt and ashamed that they had done nothing about it.  As they reflected back and knew they had seen changes in my personality but were so absorbed in their own personal struggles that it was sort of just on the edge of their consciousness.  This, I think was the hardest part, thinking something was wrong but not doing anything about it.  My step-father, who I love so much, felt like a complete failure as a father and protector.”   Kristi:   "Let’s talk about healing, because I know we both believe it’s possible to heal from many of the wounds and damages we experienced because of child abuse.  How has that happened in your life?  Do you think it’s an ongoing process?”   Shannon:  “After my oldest son was born I started going to a counselor because I was afraid something would happen to him.  This wasn’t postpartum issues; it was more similar to post traumatic stress.  It took me a long time to open up to my counselor about what had happened to me as a child.  I would talk about everything else but the abuse.  Finally she flat out asked me.  Dealing with the ugliness of abuse is very difficult.  There is so much misplaced shame and pent up anger/frustration that you have to work through.  It is so worth it but very painful and draining.  Healing is really an ongoing process.  Every day I have to lay my fears down or they will overpower me.  I know I could not do this if it wasn’t for my faith and the promises I have in it.  My amazing husband and children also play a HUGE part in my healing.  I think if it weren’t for them I would not be where I am today. “   Kristi:  “Shannon, you endured this abuse about 30 years ago.  Since then, society has become more aware of the issue and prevalence of child sex abuse.  Laws have changed and improved in that regard, including the fact that educators are now mandatory reporters, and trained here in the State of Oregon on mandatory reporting.  School buildings are constructed differently, with security and child safety in mind.  As an educator, parent, and survivor, do you believe children are safe from child sex abuse in our schools today?  If not, what do you think needs to happen in our schools to make children safer?”   Shannon:   “Good question.  I am not sure they are safer but hopefully their parents are more aware.  I believe we need to be equipping families and children with information to help protect them.  A great start would be adding curriculum to their coursework that deals with the direct topic of child abuse and exploitation starting at age 4.  It would be age appropriate and give children the tools to help protect themselves or at least know when they could possibly be in danger.  But ultimately, parents need to make the safety of their children a priority.  Find out who the adults in your child’s life are and look for warning signs.  Don’t just assume because a person is a school or church employee that they are safe adults. Parents need to learn how to have these discussions with their children. I know the anguish and guilt my own family feels and it is heart wrenching.  Lastly, in my opinion, the laws limiting when a person can come forward about their abuse needs to change.  There should NEVER be a Statute of Limitations to report sexual abuse. Most children do not feel safe reporting abuse until they are out of the abusive situation – that is why our laws about statute of limitations must change! Survivors deserve the right to seek justice no matter how many years have passed since their abuse.”  (For more information on the Statue of Limitations on reporting abuse in your state, visit http://www.sol-reform.com)   Kristi:  “I know that the safety of your own children is a deep concern of yours, as it is for the majority of parents.  In response to the sexual abuse tragedy recently discovered at an elementary school in Los Angeles, The KidSafe Foundation in Florida recently published an excellent piece on keeping children safe in schools. http://bit.ly/zpuo72   In this piece, KidSafe talks about the importance for parents to be having open and ongoing conversations with their kids about this subject.  What steps have you taken to keep your children safe at school, and other places?”                         Shannon:  “When my boys were younger we discussed stranger danger and that their bodies are their own.  No one else should touch them without their permission.  As they have gotten older we have talked about safe adults and then basically everyone else.  I found an excellent series put out by, Safe Side, and they use the term “Kind of know them”.  Safe adults are people that I have total faith in; my best friend and my parents, for example. “Kind-of-know them,” would be teachers, coaches, and the parents of other friends.  In the case of school situations my children know that if they ever feel uncomfortable they are to call me immediately and I will be there.  We have also role-played situations that might happen at school.  For example we have pretended that a teacher they know very well comes to call them out of class to go to the office, let’s say.  They can go with them but if that person deviates any little bit, then they are to run straight back to class and tell the teacher. They also know they are never to be with an adult at school alone.  Finally, they know they can tell me anything and we have an open line of communication.  We have even practiced them telling me some of the most “shocking things” (at this age its stuff like, I ate the last cookie and you told me not to) so that they can see my reaction and the way that I will talk through things with them.  These are hard conversations to have with your children but you must have them.  Sometimes I feel like I have taken away a little of their childlike innocence because we have told them people might act like they love you but they might be hurtful. They need to know if they are confused or uncomfortable by anyone’s words or actions they can come to me to check first and talk about it.  They need to know because it will keep them safer.  They need to know that I do this because I do love them and want them to be safe and happy; not carrying my scars.  I think we have found a good balance in our house.”                         Kristi:   “Is there anything else you’d like to share or add that you think would be helpful to parents and educators, in regards to the safety and well-being of children?”             Shannon:   “I think the biggest thing is to be aware and have those conversations with your children.  Tell them every day that you love them, that you can handle whatever they have going on, their bodies are special and belong to them, if they ever receive a touch that is confusing or uncomfortable they should report to you immediately and it is never their fault if they receive an unsafe touch (even if they are not able to tell right away), and they are valued and precious to you. “   Bios:  Kristi Kernal is a wife and the mother of two teen-agers, works as a Para educator with special needs children in Hillsboro, OR, and serves as Vice-President of O.A.A.S.I.S (Oregon Abuse Advocates and Survivors in Service). www.oaasisoregon.org Shannon Jones grew up in an Air Force family spending much of her childhood overseas. She went to college at Montana State University where she received her B.S. in Education with an option in Special Education. Shannon has a post graduate Endorsement in ESOL-Bilingual Education and has taught for 14 years in both private and public school settings. She has authored and received educational grants from companies such as Intel, Target, Lowes, and Kohl's. She has also been nominated for Disney’s Teacher of the Year, and is currently teaching 3rd grade in Beaverton, OR. “This is one person sharing her story; however 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 6 boys will be sexually exploited before the age of 18. 90% of the time by someone they know. Those numbers are just the “reported” statistics and as we said above, most children do not report until they are out of the abusive situation, which may mean many years later. This is why we believe that there should NOT be a statute of limitations to reporting child abuse. The more we break the cycle of  silence of child abuse by sharing personal stories, the more we can all learn from these brave individuals to best keep all children safe. We thank both of these courageous and amazing women, Kristi Kernal and Shannon Jones for sharing this interview with us.”             Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA & Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW Cofounders of KidSafe Foundation          

An interview with a survivor of sexual abuse by an educator: What parents can learn to protect their children!

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                   “Two Elementary School Teachers: Mark Berndt and Martin Springer were arrested and charged with committing lewd acts upon children.” Are you outraged by this story as well as the daily news of heart breaking stories of child abuse at the hands of people we entrust with our children? This recent story of  Miramonte Elementary school in California with not one – not two, but maybe 3 or more adults who abused children is one of those stories that can literally make you feel sick to your stomach.

                    We can’t help but think of all the children who have been through this school. How many may have been abused? Will we ever really know as most children do not report abuse?  But, what we do know is once again, this is another story of adults turning a blind eye and not protecting children. What is it going to take to get the world to understand that child abuse is an epidemic – a sickness that invades our schools, sports fields, places of worship and our homes?  A sickness difficult to sometimes ‘see’ but, life threatening as the consequences for survivors is felt forever. .

                   Child abuse has reached epidemic proportions and it NEEDS be treated. We believe the treatment is Prevention Education. However, that can only happen when the world understands this is not going away, it is just getting worse and that these children being harmed are the future leaders of the world. We need them safe, we need them whole and more importantly they deserve to be safe and have joy in their life. We must start by educating all adults. Thus, the reason for this blog: The following are some tips for parents to help keep their children safe at school.

 

Be Aware of Adults Who:

  • Single out your child or a few children to be alone

  • Give your child gifts or money

  • Are preoccupied with children

  • Are more comfortable with children than adults

  • Are overly physical with children – hugging, tickling, and handling children.

  • Talk to children about inappropriate topics, their bodies, sexual topics

  • Offer to babysit, tutor or play with your child - especially if they don’t have kids

  • Contact your children (via text, phone, Facebook etc.)

  • Share their personal information with children

    • It is inappropriate

    • It is crossing boundaries

    • It is gross misconduct

 

Most important you need communication with your children:

               

               In KidSafe we talk to parents and discuss listening to your gut instincts, your intuition – please don’t suppress it in an attempt to believe that everybody is decent and good because when you do, you put your children at risk of harm.  If it seems too good to be true….it is too good to be true. (Which is unfortunately why when a story of abuse breaks, the teacher, coach, babysitter was often known as the “Best” most wonderful person and people are shocked and have difficulty believing they could have done what they are accused of. This is all part of their grooming process.)

 

These topics should be open and ongoing conversations:

  • You cannot be scared to talk to children about their bodies, about safe and unsafe touches. You should be scared NOT to talk with your children. (Predators look for children whose parents don’t talk about these important issues.)

  • Discuss proper names for body parts and that privates are all the parts of the body covered by bathing suits and are called “private” because they are meant just for you – no one else.

  • Discuss that their bodies are special and belong to them and that no one (not even an adult they know) should ever make them feel confused, uncomfortable, nervous or scared. If they ever do feel this way then they have permission to report to a trusted adult.

  • Discuss the importance of reporting and how to report to a trusted adult if they receive an unsafe touch or are asked to keep a secret that makes them feel confused or uncomfortable.

  • Discuss the “red flags of behavior” (discussed above) and “red flags of secrets”

    • Good secrets have a happy ending, a time limit, the person asking you to keep the secret wants you to tell (and example is a surprise party)

    • Bad secrets makes you feel uncomfortable, confused, nervous, scared, has no time limit as the person telling you to not tell or keep the secret NEVER EVER wants you to tell (example a friend shares with you that her older brother hits her)

      • If someone says “Don’t tell a parent” that is a sure sign that you should report to a trusted adult.

The Reality:

                        At the end of the day, every child is vulnerable to child abuse. However, a child who has open communication with their parents, a child who is taught to not keep secrets, that just because it is an adult does not mean they have to have blind obedience, a child who is taught safe and unsafe touch and boundaries has become a much harder target for a predator and as savvy as the predators can be …they are looking for an easy target.

                        Let’s cure the epidemic of child abuse by empowering our children and educating ourselves and all adults about signs, symptoms what to be aware of to prevent abuse.  Let’s make our children hard targets for predators. For more information www.kidsafefoundation.org to learn how to talk to your children about these sensitive topics please read our 2011 Award Winning Safety Book – “My Body is Special and Belongs To ME!” www.kidsafefoundation.org/products

Child Abuse at Miramonte Elementary School & Keeping Children Safe!

KidSafe Foundation, a South Florida nonprofit, and G-Team, the philanthropic arm of Groupon, announced the launch of a local campaign to supply every elementary school in South Florida with prevention education materials. Additionally, the Greenroom Salon matched donations up to $500. The KidSafe in the Community campaign was available on Groupon South Florida’s G-Team page from Jan. 10 through Jan. 12. Utilizing G-Team’s collective action model, Groupon subscribers were able to pledge support for the KidSafe in the Community initiative in increments of $10 with each donation providing the KidSafe book, My Body is Special and Belongs To Me! to children. This initiative supports KidSafe’s mission to bring the book and their prevention education to kids and schools across the nation. One hundred percent of the G-Team campaign proceeds will be used to provide the books for local schools.

KidSafe Foundation partners with G-Team

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KidSafe offers a 4 or 6 week Internet Safety Program

Program is taught through realistic role plays, computer safety contract and discussion

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Program Covers:

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  • What it is
  • Why we don't share - Privacy
  • Rules about personal information

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  • How can you tell
  • Check First
  • Reporting

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  • Understanding good and bad secrets
  • Importance of sharing with trusted adult
  • Keeping online life open to your parents

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  • What you post stays online forever
  • Check First with your parents for appropriateness
  • Online reputation
  • Cyber bullying

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Internet Safety Program

This letter was sent to us after we did a Sexual Abuse Prevention Training with Foster Families thanks to an amazing grant we received from The Paul Palank Memorial Foundation and the Broward County Sheriffs Office. We are posting as a blog so you can read about how effective prevention education can be and the REAL necessity for it. We will reread this when we are overwhelmed and asking ourselves - "Can we really make a difference?" They answer is YES! So please read and pass on so that we can make this world a safer place for all children.

 

“I want to take a moment to explain what an impact Cherie Benjoseph and her book “My Body is Special and Belongs to ME” had on my family, without breaching the confidentiality of my case.  After our training class (on Saturday, 1/28/12) I went home and discussed the book with my kids.  They were very engaged and asked a lot of questions about "unsafe touches" as well as actions that made them feel confused and uncomfortable.  That night they revealed some additional information to me that was not mentioned before in this case.  Five days later (at the most inopportune time I might add) the girls revealed a plethora of incidents that they were exposed to.  I believe that without the combination of the book and the "poker face" training and me building a trusting relationship with the girls we may have never gotten to this point.

 

I can go on all day talking about how much we love these kids and the actions we take to protect them, but we were missing an extremely important element that could have very easily gone unnoticed.  I cannot express how grateful I am that these kids will never be part of the statistics that don't speak up.  I don't know how I would have reacted to receiving what they were telling me if I wasn't told to have a poker face and reassure them about how brave they are and how happy I was that they felt like they could trust me with that information.  They started the conversation shy and uncomfortable and at the end they were smiling and looked as if a huge load was taken off their shoulders.  They were proud of themselves.  And now they tell me every little thing that ever happens :)  I don't think that there was ever a lack of trust.  I feel that perhaps it never dawned on the girls that these things that happened to them were wrong and needed to be reported.  Whatever the reason, I plan to read this book to every child I ever come in contact with.  I have already shared it with family, coworkers and friends (but I told them that they had to buy their own!). Thanks again! G”

 

For more information about KidSafe Foundation www.kidsafefoundation.org

Prevention Education Can Save Children

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           Recently, most likely due to the Penn State sex abuse scandal, we have seen an increase in information online about how to talk with your child about touches to prevent child abuse. It is wonderful that parents realize that they MUST talk with their children about their bodies and touches because that is one important way we are going to prevent children from harm.

           But we are disappointed to see that much of this information is outdated. Although that might sound strange – what it means is that the language we teach children to help them understand different types of touching has changed over the years as we have realized the complexities of sexual abuse. Many of us were raised with the “good touch/bad touch” verbiage. That verbiage is decades old and should stop being used because it may be very confusing to children as sexual abuse can physically feel good. This might be shocking to you, but it is very reasonable if you think about it…as our bodies are programed to respond to touch.

        Please use the words SAFE and UNSAFE Touch or appropriate or inappropriate touch. If you are unsure how to discuss this with your child and/or feel any discomfort (subliminally your children will feel your discomfort) please visit our website www.kidsafefoundation.org for information and take a look at our 2011 award winning children’s book – My Body is Special and Belongs to Me! A fun yet educational book for children to be read with their parent – it is the conversation all parents want to have with their children to open up those important lines of communication about personal safety and might not know how to start. The book also provides an extensive adult section to help provide important answers to questions children might ask and most importantly how to continue the learning the book offers.

         We hope you don’t misunderstand what we are saying by writing this blog. We are thrilled to see that through Twitter, Facebook, Blogging etc. child safety is being talked about and organizations are able to spread their missions and the work they are doing to keep children safe, it’s amazing! We admire anyone helping to break the cycle of silence that surrounds child abuse. It makes us feel wonderful to know that there are organizations out there like ours trying to prevent child abuse through education. We just want to make sure, in the best interest of all of our children, the most up to date information is being shared.

 

The words to use to teach your child about touch?

 The death of the beloved Joe Paterno has left many people with conflicted and confused emotions. Many would only like to think of all the good he has done in his life. Others can only see how many children he turned a blind eye to who could have been saved had he chosen a different path. But the majority is somewhere in the middle and are confused about how they should feel. On one side, it is very sad when someone passes and suffers from a life threatening illness. On the other, the timing of Joe Paternos death makes some feel he died of more than just cancer, but of a broken heart by the child abuse scandal at the center of his beloved Penn State.

                 If adults are confused by how to feel, imagine the children and adult survivors of Sandusky’s abuse and how they are feeling right now.  When a child is abused they are often made to feel responsibility for their abuse because that is what a “savvy” child predator wants them to feel. Predators do this to ensure a child/teen’s silence. Remember statistics show 90% of the time a child is sexually abused by someone they know and 68% of the time it is a family member. Often the messages being told to the child/teen by the predator/”trusted adult” will scare a victim into silence.

  • “Don’t tell”

  • “You will hurt our family if you tell”

  • “I will go to jail”

  • “I will do this to your sibling”

  • “You misunderstood”

  • “You enjoyed it”

  • “I do this because I love you”

               There are so many more confusing statements meant to make a child/teen feel guilt, shame, embarrassment, and even confusion as though they in some way caused this to happen…they are at fault, which all leads to not telling “A Predators Dream Child.” But one of the most important things to remember is that even though this person can be a monster part of the time, the other part of the time the child may love this person or at least depend on them. Feelings are not right or wrong they just are and because of that, we can all (adults and children) have many feelings at one time. So even though the child wants the abuse to stop, they often love (need) their dad, mom, brother, cousin, uncle, favorite coach, mentor, etc. – whoever is doing the abuse. It’s so confusing for a child…let’s face it…it’s confusing for adults.

               So please be careful as you write and share your stories about the man, Joe Paterno – who was just a man…who did good things…and did awful things…and died a terrible death. Your comments have an impact on the survivors who are still living and still dealing with the trauma of child abuse he let continue. Let’s not put him on a pedestal – he did not cure cancer, he coached football.  But more importantly let’s learn from his dreadful mistake. He chose to protect himself, his institution and his wallet rather than to protect children and deal with the “fall out” that reporting sexual abuse would have caused.

                But imagine the legacy he would have left if he had done the right thing at the time? He would be remembered as the college football coach of all time plus a huge advocate for child abuse prevention and intervention. Perhaps by doing the right thing at the right time the school and therefore other schools would have put into place more stringent guidelines to keep children safe and create an environment of empowerment for people to speak out about suspected abuse in their own places of work.

              I too am conflicted by his death, I know Joe Paterno did many positive things in his life, yet I am horrified by what he allowed to happen at Penn State. Although we cannot turn back the clock and undue what has been done – we can move forward and make changes by educating adults about what to do when a disclosure has been made. We want adults to also think – what do you want YOUR legacy to be? However you want to be remembered, you now have the chance to make changes…Are you doing good? Can you do better?  Are you not doing anything?  Joe Paterno said it himself, he wishes he did more and perhaps had he lived longer he would have done more. It is unfortunate that we will never know. But the point of this blog is when someone dies it is an opportunity for each of us to take stock of our own lives…of our own legacy and start doing and being that person you want people to remember.

Joe Paterno’s Legacy

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Conversation Starters - RESPECT

Below are sample conversation starters on the topic of respect. Please take a moment to read through the questions prior to their use over the course of the month. Don’t forget to have fun with this type of “Table Talk.” This is a time for children to learn how to express themselves. Warning: you might not like all of their answers J, or they might have difficulty at first expressing themselves about specific topics regarding values – please, for now, huld back on “correcting” them. Think of this as an exercise in sharing of ideas, an opportunity for you as parents to model for them. This is a terrific opportunity to see how our children think, feel, what they observe, and how we as the adults in their lives are teaching our children family values.

Suggestion: One meal a week end with question number 10.

Have each person in the family take turns answering the various questions according to their ability.
  • What does Respect mean? (This could also be made into a poster to be hung in the home.) Take turns adding to the list.
Sample ideas for defining respect: Being kind to your friends and family Using a kind voice and choosing kind words Using good manners Not hitting or hurting others Talking to your Circle of Safe Adults* about your problems Recognizing and respecting differences in myself and others
  • How does Daddy show respect for mommy? How does Mommy show respect for Daddy? (ex. answers: talk to each other with a kind voice, offers to be helpful, listens when the other speaks, helps sulve problems, etc)
  • How do I show respect for myself? (I take care of myself, take care of my belongings, eat healthy, exercise, I stand up for myself, I get help when I need to, etc)
  • How do I (or my family) show respect for education? (We have books in our home, we see mommy reading, parents help us with our homework, etc)
  • How do I show respect for my teachers?
  • How do I show respect to my friends?
  • How do I show respect for kids at schoul that aren’t my good friends? Do I have to show respect for them?
  • What would you feel if you saw someone being disrespectful?
  • What could/would you do if you saw someone being disrespectful to a friend? (to a parent? to a teacher?)
  • End with this fun and positive activity:

Conversation Starters for Parents and Children (Respect)

“Let’s take 28 days of the month and each day I want you to think of one thing you can do each day to be kind to someone else.” This is what we ask 4th & 5th graders to do as a “homework” assignment during our KidSafe program. I was somewhat shocked recently by the student’s responses such as, “I don’t have time.” “Twenty eight, that’s so many!” “We really have to do this?” My initial internal emotional response was outrage and great disappointment, how dare these privileged children tell me they don’t have time to be kind! But I remained poker faced and instead of anger and disappointment I asked them to explain to me what they thought I was asking them to do – so we could clarify the assignment.

 

As hands raised, one student thought he had to come up with all 28 in one day, as I took a deep yoga breath, I explained that no, not all 28 in a day. Others thought they needed to take on big service projects. I explained the concept of small acts of kindness. I suggested that as they are brushing their teeth in the morning (assuming they are doing this J) this is a great time to take a moment and think about one way they can be kind today. I explained that I am not even asking them to do it. I just want each student to start their day thinking about it. If they do an act of kindness that is a wonderful thing. If they don’t that is okay too – I just want them to think “what can I do today to be kind to someone else?”

I could practically see the little light bulbs coming on above their heads, the tone in the classroom changed. One student asked if they should write down their acts of kindness. The positive tone was palpable. We then brainstormed ideas of what “kindness” looks and feels like during the day at school. Once we got started they understood the concept of small gestures of kindness having a huge impact on another human being. As I looked at the class I did notice that for many this was a topic that many of the children do not discuss at school or at home.

 

What kind of children are we raising? Math, Science, Reading – all important, but what about “Character Education?” Who is teaching our children (or not) about being good people? Good citizens? We at KidSafe want to reach out to Parents. We implore you to model kindness but also to have the conversations with your children that will shape the adults they will become. Parents NEED to be teaching and modeling for their children how to be a good person, how to be kind, how to be fair and how to give back.

 

We as parents can not only help keep our children safe by talking with them about their personal safety as is KidSafe’s goal – but we as parents can help turn around the national scourges our children are experiencing, bullying, abuse, and suicide to name a few. To get us started we have created Table Talk Conversation Starters – easy to use with children of all ages. There is a topic a month, for example Fairness, Compassion, Respect. Visit KidSafe to download the Conversation Starters (place link here to the exact page) under parent tips. Enjoy taking the time to start a new tradition of Table Talk.

Conversing about Kindness with Kids

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KidSafe & Groupon working together

to keep KidSafe!

 

KidSafe needs YOUR HELP RIGHT NOW! 

We have only 18 hour left for the chance to raise money through GROUPON to donate our "Award Winning Book" to Elementary Schools in South Florida.

DONATE $10.00 NOW & 1 school receives our book! 

         click on this link to donate and make a difference: 

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The Greenroom Salon in Boca Raton, Florida

ROCKS & matched the 1st $500 in donations!   

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 Get Good Karma, Bring Safety Books to Children, Only $10 dollars to make a difference.....Donate now!

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Thank you!!!

Sally & Cherie

 

Want Good Karma? Help KidSafe!

"I’m embarrassed to ask that…what will they think of me?"

This is what many parents tell us when we discuss the importance of asking “safety questions” to another parent/friend before sending their kids to a play date or sleep over, or off to sports practice.

 

With all of the stories in the media lately about seemingly “trusted adults” in children’s lives who have broken that trust and abused children, it is important to ask yourself as a parent “Is my discomfort with asking safety questions more important than my child’s safety?” “Is the chance of “offending” someone by asking these questions more important than my child’s safety?”

 

Perhaps a year ago you might not have even thought to ask – but now that you have woken up to the epidemic of child abuse happening everyday across the nation, now that you know that 90% of the time a child is harmed by someone they know, you can’t just bury your head in the sand or say that would never happen to my child…because it can and it does.

 

We want your children to be safe. We want you as parents to feel that you have done everything in your power to keep your child safe. We want you to feel confident that you have taught your child what they need to know, so when they are not with you they will make the safest and smartest choices…and if anything “unsafe” does happen, that they would report it to you immediately. With that said, below are some the important questions/discussions that are important to ask the many other people you entrust with your child.

Play date/Sleep over:

  • Who will be watching the children?

  • Do you have older children and will they or their friends be present?

  • Do you have a gun in your house?

  • What safety rules do you have in your house?

  • Will you be staying at your house? What is the plan?

  • Is the TV and internet use monitored?

  • What are the sleeping arrangements?

At the end of the day we hope that your child will be having a play date or sleep over with a family you know well and is like minded when it comes to safety. Asking these questions does not ensure your child will be safe, but how the adult answers the questions is important to your child’s safety. Are they offended? Do they tell you that you are too overprotective? Are they giving you the answers that make you feel your child will be in a safe environment? Would you say "NO" if your gut told you it would not be a safe situation for your child?

 

Conversations with your child:

  • Your body is special and belongs to you

  • You are in charge of your body and nobody should touch you in any way that makes you feel confused, weird, uncomfortable or on your private parts

  • You should not touch or look at anyone’s privates

  • When over a friend’s house clothes must always stay on

  • No one should take pictures of your privates or show you pictures of naked people

  • No playing in the master bedroom

  • No one should ever ask you to keep a secret from us – or keep a secret that you are NEVER allowed to tell

  • Let your child know that you will always believe them and praise them when they report unsafe situations to you

  • Model and role play situations so your child will know what to do and how to respond

  • Discuss your safety rules and they should be followed when you are at another’s house

  • Have a code word your child can say to you over the phone so if your child wants to leave they don’t have to be embarrassed.

After reading that lengthy list and having these conversations it does not mean your child will be safe, or that your child will follow your directions, but you open the door to conversations that should be had on a regular basis as a natural part of your parenting. If you and all your friends, your children’s friend’s parents all start speaking the same language of safety and are excepting to openly discuss these questions your children will be safer. So are you still embarrassed to ask these questions? If you answered yes…get over it! Nothing is more important than your child’s safety!

I’m embarrassed to ask that…what will they think of me?

             As the hoopla and media coverage dies down about the Penn State, Syracuse, Citadel Child Sex Abuse Scandals, I worry that our attention span for the next salacious article has made many forget that underlying the headlines of the cover up, unraveling of institutions and the take down of “model” citizens – the real story is about the horrible crimes against children.

            The institutions are recovering, the players go on with their lives, participants in the child abuse cover up still have their jobs, and some of these criminals can now go back into hiding. But we can tell you that there are many children out there right now still suffering in silence, being abused, scared and unsure how to reach out for help. Scared they won’t be believed, fearful of stirring the pot and having the lid blow off (as 68% of the time a child is harmed by a family member). Those children, and advocates for children’s rights are hoping that these stories don’t go away so quickly.

            At this juncture the media wields a lot of power – they control what we all deem headline news.  Of course, we are certainly not hoping to hear of more children being abused – but when survivors come forward an extraordinary thing happens, it empowers others to know they are not alone and gives them the extra strength needed to come forward too. My fear....and we see it happening right now,  is as the next big story comes to the media and child abuse gets put on the back burner again – these children and adult survivors stay in hiding, keeping their secret, feeling that they do not have a voice, thinking they deserved what is happening to them and believing everything their abuser is/has been telling them.

            We can’t let that happen!!  We need to treat child abuse like an epidemic – because it is one. If there was an outbreak of any other “epidemic” every stone would be overturned to stop it. We must turn over every stone to stop and prevent child abuse. So please as you pick up the paper, turn on your computer and the TV and you don’t hear another “sex abuse newsworthy big media” story hitting the front page, remember there are children out there being abused (every 10 seconds a report of child abuse is made) that still need your attention, your outrage and your help to end child abuse.

           We ask you to help us in a call to action – Take a few minutes and raise your own awareness so you can at least know better how to protect your own loved ones. Learn and understand the process of grooming and continue this dialogue with your coworkers, friends and family. Let’s keep this “news” on our own front headlines even if the media does not deem it newsworthy anymore.

          Why? because there are children out there right now being abused.  There are survivors of abuse reading the same news you are and they are hoping that the public still cares,is still outraged and is not going to put child abuse on the back burner just because the media found another story to cover. Lets make the year 2012 the year we raise awareness and prevent child abuse. Remember as you finish reading this blog there are children being abused at this very moment, hoping and praying someone cares - get involved with the cause and help save a child from abuse.

Is the Media letting down survivors of child abuse?

Every day in the news we hear story after story of children being bullied. Bullying has become so bad that many children are committing suicide rather than take one more day of abuse – and yes bullying is abuse. As this New Year is upon us, we at KidSafe Foundation want to share with you about a special young teen, who once the target of bullying turned it around and is now on a mission to change the world and help others who are suffering from bullying and other personal challenges  with her “positive pocket”. To fully understand who she is, what she created and why we feel she is a hero, we share with you below the letter we received from her parents 2 years after they all went through the KidSafe Program.

 

Meet Rebecca here is her story:

        “My husband and I cannot express how KidSafe has impacted our entire family.  It was almost 2 years ago that KidSafe held a parent-child night at my daughter’s elementary school. Having been a teacher for 18 years at the time, I didn't know what to expect from a 'KidSafe Family Event.' Your presentation was shocking even to a seasoned teacher about the safety issues kids are faced with every day. 'Prevention Education' is what KidSafe calls their programs– which I wasn't sure quite what that meant just yet. My husband and I went and learned about; empowering children to keep their bodies safe, empowering your children that they are in charge of their bodies, teaching our kids they have the right to be safe, the right to have a voice, the need for rules and guidelines for my children being on the Internet, the prevalence of bullying and cyber-bullying even in elementary school.  Most important was learning how to talk with your children in a different way, to keep communication and dialogue open. This seminar was completely shocking, life changing, and provided a learning experience that unbeknownst to me I would NEED to use that very night.

          That night our children, Rebecca, 10 and Hannah 6 participated in the children’s KidSafe workshop.  After it was over, dialogue began immediately in the car in which both girls shared their drawings about their 'Circle of Safe Adults' (the trusted adults they would go to if they had a problem) Rebecca shared about situations she had witnessed in school where bullying took place.  She also disclosed some very private concerns that she had finally felt comfortable enough to share with us.  I remember KidSafe’s recommendations that when your child wants to share – no matter what they say (and how you want to respond) to keep a poker face, do not over react, don’t interrupt so as not to cut off communication, as it would encourage them to keep talking.  KidSafe taught us to validate what our child was saying, without giving an opinion, and to always believe your child. We responded to our daughter – just the way we were taught, and guess what? It worked. That night was the beginning of a complete life change in our whole family dynamic.

            Flash forward 1 year.  Rebecca is now in Middle School and suddenly she became the target of a bully.  She was bullied by an 8th grader, who was in one of her classes. Then, one morning outside the classroom at school in front of her peers and other students, Rebecca was ridiculed, demeaned and told not to tell anyone.  This incident forced her to hold in her tears, get sick in the bathroom and have to spend the day with this on her shoulders, taking tests and later in the day, seeing this person again.

          When I picked up Rebecca from school, she was quiet, and looked emotionally beaten.  I asked her what was wrong and she said that although she was "not supposed to tell" she told me about the bully, because she had learned from KidSafe, that if anyone ever tells her not to tell and it makes her feel bad, confused or uncomfortable that she needs to go to an adult she trusts and tell. She feared she might be tattling but remembered how strongly KidSafe stated that whenever it comes to safety it is not tattling but REPORTING. She realized she needed to report.

         For several days my husband and I attempted to build up her confidence, do positive activities to make her feel good about herself, but things did not change.  Our attempts at school to address the issue didn't prove as positive as we had hoped.  A slight reprimand and parent notification, and the 'bully' was back in her class everyday as a student aid.  Yes- Rebecca had to face her every day for the rest of the year and deal with some others due to the backlash. 

            Then came the 'Positive Pocket.'  A few days after the incident, I picked up Rebecca from school.  She seemed different; less tense.  I asked her how her day was and she said, 'It was a great day.'  I was shocked and confused.  I asked her why and then she pulled out of her pants pocket, a piece of paper with positive affirmations and designs...she said,  'Because I had my positive pocket with me.'   Rebecca explained that she was unable to sleep, felt bad about things so she went on her computer to type up some of these positive affirmations in the event she began to feel anxious or down on herself.  She pulled out the paper in math class, and her teacher, asked her what she was holding.  Her quick response was, 'It's my positive pocket...to keep good thoughts in my pocket wherever I go.'

            The rest is history!!!  Positive Pockets are now in schools, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and are helping to make others feel good about themselves.  Rebecca has a website where guests share about their experience with the Positive Pocket.  She is making a difference and credits the KidSafe Foundation for giving her the tools to stand up for herself and have open lines of communication with my husband and I.  

        KidSafe has had an immense impact on our family and because of you, Rebecca is helping not only herself, but others.  She has spoken out about bullying in several classes in her school and will be speaking at some other venues to address bullying. Thank you, thank you , thank you, for helping to make parents more knowledgeable, for helping to keep our children healthy, emotionally and physically and for keeping our Kids safe!!!"

 

Rebecca has taught us all that finding your voice, and becoming a more positive assertive person is an amazing way to improve your everyday life. (Many adults don’t figure this out until their forties).  She has turned this negative bullying experience into a positive proactive mission! Of course having supportive adults in her life – her Circle of Safe Adults – is hugely important, as it is for all children. We thank Rebecca for sharing her inspiration and the skills she has learned in KidSafe with other children and adults. What Rebecca is doing with the Positive Pocket is making a difference, and that  is what the world should be about. Each person learning and passing it on. To us at KidSafe Foundation, Rebecca is an inspiration, hero and future leader.

For more information about Rebecca and Positive Pocket please visit her website www.positivepocket.org 

       

One Middle Schooler’s response to Bullying is Having a Positive Impact on Thousands of People

 Along with the wonders and excitement about the upcoming Holidays, comes some increased stress and worry. To alleviate some of the stress caused by traveling with the kids and/or having family and friends in from out of town – KidSafe suggests you think about implementing a few safety guide lines within your family to avoid some vacation pitfalls.  Sit down as a family before your trip or before relatives and friends come into town and have a conversation involving the following:

 

Use the Buddy System: Children are more vulnerable when they are alone.  We want to stress to you the importance of children using the Buddy System when out and about. Perhaps you are thinking well of course we already do. This time change it up a bit by taking a few minutes to have a direct conversation about what using the Buddy System means. Kids often need concrete examples to understand what our logical expectations mean.

 

1. Communication between the adults should be very clear as to which adult is minding what child and when. We cannot tell you how many times a child went missing at Disney (or some such place) – and the spouse turns to the other spouse and says in a panic “I thought you had your eye on her.”

 

2.  Public Restrooms: Set the guide lines before the trip that children of all ages will use the Public Restrooms only accompanied by an adult. Please take this precaution especially at Highway Rest Stops and large venues. This of course applies to young children but it also can apply to your 13 year old son entering the woman’s room with you and (vice-versa) with a Dad traveling alone with his daughter. Have these conversations before the trip so your children understand the expectations and there will not be resistance once you are at the crowded bathrooms.

 

3.  Getting Lost: At your planning meeting with your family (which you are having to decrease potential pitfalls of vacation therefore increasing the fun!) introduce the concept of Check First. Say to your children – we are going to be visiting with family, going site seeing, etc and  I don’t want to lose any of you. (Humor works great when talking about personal safety). With that said, kids – you might see something that catches your eye while we are walking in the city for example – do not stop to look, and do not go in a different direction without Checking First. That means you walk right up to me (or other designated trusted adult) and tell us what you want to do. We will then say yes or no. This will help us avoid getting separated. Also – when we are at the hotel (for example) and you want to go visit your cousins in their room etc – you don’t go anywhere without Checking First with us.

 

If by chance you do get lost – the safest person to seek help from is another mom with children. (Explain to the kids step by step what they should do.) If you can’t find us – walk up to a mom with kids and say – I am lost can you please help me. Make sure your children know all of the appropriate cell phone numbers. For young children, and children with special needs, place a laminated ID card (make it yourself) with their information on it as well as two cell phone numbers that you can be reached at and stick it in the bottom of their shoe. Tell your children if they get separated from you they should never ever leave the store no matter what anyone says.

 

4.   Relatives that make you or your child uncomfortable: Often parents have expressed to us that they are heading to visit family for the holidays and they have a concern about their child’s safety around a certain adult. They can’t quite place their finger on it, nothing concrete has occurred, but a certain relative makes them uncomfortable and they don’t want their children alone with this adult. So how do you handle this without insulting the relative or creating a riff in the family – but yet be true to your intuition? First and foremost always and we mean ALWAYS pay attention to your intuition!! You are the first line of defense in the safety of your child. Always air on the side of protecting your child and if that means you are watching your child perhaps more vigilantly than usual, explain to  your child that as nice and fun as this particular relative or any other relative may be you must "Check First" with me before going any where.

 

In the unfortunate event that you are actually surrounded by someone in your family that you know is definitely unsafe - for older children explain that this particular relative, friend of the family is someone you do not trust and you do not want them to be alone with them at any point during this visit. If the person wants to talk to you or take you somewhere you tell them NO and you need to Check First with your Mom/Dad or whoever is the designated trusted adult. For younger children your eyes need to be on them. The best case scenario of course would to NEVER EVER let your children near or around anyone that you know is unsafe. However, as we know that 90% of the time a child is harmed by someone they know, during holiday celebrations you may come across this unsafe person that others seems to have blinders on as to their harm to children. Trust your intuition and that means you keep a watchful eye on your children or perhaps not attend the event.  Always err on the side of protecting your children.

At your family meeting set some guidelines:

 

Have your children Check First with you before they go anywhere with an adult. Example – an adult relative asked an 11 year old at the family gathering to go for a walk – Boy then said he has to check first with his parent. Boy checked first and parent had to make the decision – you can say no, you can say I’ll come with, or another option – take a group of kids instead of one on one. Parents again, follow your intuition. Some parents have expressed that they don’t feel comfortable with their young child sitting on a certain relative’s lap. To avoid this you can set a general guide line that when we sit with our relatives we sit next to them instead of on their laps.

 

What if your child does not want to hug or kiss a relative or friend? Please do not force your child. When we force children to hug/kiss or touch an adult that they don’t want to we are sending them a very clear message that the wants and needs of the adult are more important than your child’s.  Empower your children that their bodies belong to them, and although they should be polite they do not have to hug/kiss/touch anyone if they don’t want to. Our children’s book – My Body is Special and Belongs To ME! a 2011 Literary Classics Award Winner - educates children and parents about this concept, and empowers children that they have rights over their bodies. Our book also has an educational section for parents and is available for purchase on our site.    Another good general guideline to implement during vacation and quite frankly, all the time is, when having visitors or visiting else where when playing in a room all doors stay open and no playing in the Parent’s bedroom. This always helps kids and adults make better decisions. If you have any questions please email us at info@kidsafefoundation.org

 

We hope you have a Happy Holiday, Great New Year and wishing all your children stay KIDSAFE!!

Keeping Your Kids Safe during the Holidays!

With the media spotlight right now on child abuse accusations, scandals and cover ups, you might be wondering what is happening to all of the survivors out there reading these stories? Many are reporting they are having a visceral reaction. While we (or others that have not been through this trauma) are outraged, disgusted and want to make a change.   Survivors are feeling very different than most and we feel it is important to gain some insight into a survivor’s perspective. At the end of each and every adult Prevention Education Seminar we provide, we are always approached by a handful of people, male and female, who share their personal story of sexual abuse with us. For some they are sharing their story for the very first time – adults in their 40’s and 50’s who have kept the secret all of this time. Adults who have up to this point in their life have been unable to tell about their abuse, after hearing us speak they report feeling a desperate need to share with us. Why? Well the importance of reporting abuse is highlighted in our seminar, trusting your instincts, breaking the cycle of silence, helping other children by telling  and perhaps sitting for an hour and hearing story after story gives them the strength to share.  But we believe that it is the emphasis we put on disclosure and believing a child when they tell you they have been abused. We share (though it does happen) how rare it is for a child to lie about being sexually abused. So maybe for the few that share they know we will believe them. Many survivors are  explaining that these stories all over the media are bringing up all sorts of issues for them as they watch these tragedies unfold daily in the news. Don’t get us wrong, most share how happy they are that child abuse is making headlines, that perhaps this secret epidemic is finally out in the open. But for some survivors reading these stories can bring up the past trauma they experienced.  It can also have confusing and devastating effects;  bring flashbacks of their own abuse, literally a visceral feeling of being abused, difficulty with daily living, trouble sleeping, problems with eating, and an overall sense of emotional imbalance. What is happening for some people who have been fully functioning survivors (our friends and family) is that they may be having a hard time functioning at the present time. We are writing a blog about this because it’s important for loved ones, colleagues, and friends to understand what a child sexual abuse survivor goes through when hearing others’ stories. Although it ca n be different for each and every person, hearing others speak out does help some heal, it does give many strength to come forward and tell their own stories.  But for others who (may or may not have ever told) – they are somewhat in a fugue state for a little while as images and memories they have suppressed to deal with daily life start to break through. This is a completely normal occurrence for anyone who has been through trauma. Imagine (and we pray this never happens again) if a plane struck a building in the United States by a terrorist, we would all go back to 9/11 and start reliving and remembering that day.  But for the people who were directly impacted (lost loved ones, were in the tower or near it) would feel this in a whole different way – possibly suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, in which they would have feelings of it actually happening in present time. So as we applaud the media outlets for their coverage and helping to break the silence of the epidemic of  Child Abuse –Please don't forget compassion and understanding needs to be extended to those who have survived abuse or may be in the midst of being abused.  They read your comments, your posts, your soundbites and we need to be sensitive to what they may be experiencing. We don't want the media to stop covering these stories, we believe the more knowledgeable the general public is about the issues that surround sexual abuse the more we can prevent it.  We just want people and the media to have an understanding of what you say and do has an impact on survivors of abuse in ways you might not have imagined.

Media & Survivors of Abuse

For Immediate Release Contact: Sally Berenzweig
sallyb@kidsafefoundation.org
Phone 561-715-1077
December 8, 2011
  KidSafe Foundation Empowers Penn State Students through a Wristband Awareness Campaign to Prevent Child Abuse Boca Raton, FL - The KidSafe Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit working to bring Prevention Education Safety Programs to both children and adults nationally, announces partnership with Penn State Students to raise awareness of child abuse. KidSafe Foundation received numerous emails from Penn State students about Penn State Football Administrative Staff’s Child Abuse Cover Up and their sense of feeling powerless and eager to “make a difference.” Penn State students, led by sophomore, Briana Hauser, partnered with KidSafe Foundation to distribute blue rubber wristbands to students that state “Prevent Child Abuse” to continue to raise awareness. The KidSafe Foundation’s website is printed on the wristbands for more information on Prevention Education Programs, decrease child abuse, education tools for adults and additional resources. Education is key since one out of three girls and one out of six boys will be sexually exploited before the age of 18. KidSafe believes that children deserve the right to be safe, the right to have a voice and to learn how to access help. Adults need to know how to talk to children (in a non-threatening or scary way) and how to openly talk with their children about personal safety. “When the Penn State Scandal broke the world woke up to the epidemic of child abuse. This was not ‘new’ news to those of us in the field of child safety, as we know child abuse is happening everywhere, it is just not making the headlines. The Penn State students began reaching out to us for information and ways they can help prevent child abuse. That’s why we are so excited that Briana Hauser is spearheading the distribution of the wristbands. We hope students will wear them and continue to raise awareness of child abuse - it’s an epidemic and we need to treat it as one - all children and adults need prevention education” - Sally Berenzweig, M.Ed, MA Founder KidSafe Foundation “This is not a local isolated problem. This is a global problem. The Daily Collegian’s reporter Danae Blasso also got involved by writing a piece on KidSafe and student Briana Hauser and their joint effort to raise awareness of child abuse. We are so proud of the Penn State student body for their pro-active involvement in this awareness campaign and making a difference. They have joined together to show the world they care - making strides to Keep Kids Safe!!!” - Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW Founder KidSafe Foundation ### About The KidSafe Foundation The KidSafe Foundation is a 501(c)3 Nonprofit dedicated to providing Prevention Education to children, parents, teachers and guidance counselors to decrease abuse, bullying, abduction and online safety issues. Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW the Cofounders of KidSafe, Child Safety Experts, Educators, Public Speakers, Authors and most importantly two moms on a mission to keep children safe. They have taught over 20,000 children throughout South Florida and have brought their workshops and seminars to thousands of adults. To learn more about KidSafe Foundation please visit their web site www.kidsafefoundation.org      

Press Release: KidSafe Foundation Empowers Penn State Students

    Last night I had this very weird dream….I dreamed I was in a huge moral dilemma I can’t for the life of me remember what it was about,  I just woke feeling the weight of the world on my back. In trying to figure out what the dream meant – what I was thinking about that could actually cause me to have a visceral feeling that I had not made the “right” choice as I awoke. I think back to the dinner conversation last night.

                  My husband’s aunt and uncle came for dinner; they are extremely well educated, philanthropic, wonderful people who like a good discussion. We talked about the Penn State Child Abuse story, and that then lead to thinking back to Cain and Able, the beginnings of the Catholic Church and how far back abuse of children really goes.

                   It made me feel overwhelmed. It made me think about my life’s work protecting children through our prevention education programs. Is child abuse just always going to be around? Are we making a difference? I think back to what my husband’s uncle has said to me “You are doing amazing work, but you are not going to be able to save the world and you have to understand that so it doesn’t affect every part of your life.”

                  I knew what he meant, to be honest this is not the first time those very words have been said to me. There is a apart of me that thinks if I don’t do everything I can then who is? I know that’s ridiculous – there are so many other amazing organizations similar to KidSafe Foundation that are doing extraordinary work to help protect children and deal with the aftermath of abuse and the healing process.

                 All I can think is that despite my job as a psychotherapist decades ago in which I treated women who had been physically and sexually abused and heard stories that haunt me to this day – this Penn State Cover up of Abuse has hit me hard. Why is it hitting me so hard when I read stories every day about child abuse?

                 The only answer I can come up with is my disappointment in people and their moral compass. The anger I feel towards even the students who went outside Joe Paterno’s home in “support” of him - the man who could have saved children from being abused by the monster Jerry Sandusky. I am actually annoyed with the human race – even as I read what I just wrote I know it might sound ridiculous to some people reading this blog.

                Our children are the future leaders of this world and right now at this moment they are learning that “It’s okay to turn a blind eye when a child is being harmed,” “Money is more important than the safety of children,” “that our beloved sports heroes have more say when a crime is committed than the police who have sworn to support and protect us?” Is this the kind of world you want your children, grandchildren and future children to be living in?

               I know I don’t, and that is why I will continue to try to prevent children from being harmed.  I will continue to educate adults and I just ask that you join us in our efforts, because although we used to say it takes a village to keep children safe.... It actually takes each and every individual to look inside themselves and ask:

“If I was a child being harmed, would I want someone to just turn away?” "If it was my child or grandchild would I want someone to help?” Even as an adult “If someone was harming you, would you want help?" I think we would all unanimously say YES!…so all we can ask,  from this day forward, if you suspect a child is being harmed - reach inside yourself and ask yourself these questions and help that child. They are counting on you to do the right thing…and so am I.

 

Child Abuse Making Headlines: Making Us Look At Our Own Morals!

Anya Alvarez

 

      Anya Alvarez: Professional Golfer and KidSafe Spokesperson

 

"As a survivor of sexual abuse, I have always believed in educating parents and children to help prevent sexual abuse from occurring. I have spoken on national forums such as Dr. Phil, The Early Show on CBS News, and USA Today bringing awareness to abusive relationships. Through public speaking I have had the great opportunity to meet parents who wanted to learn more how to protect their children from abuse.  I believe in the message of KidSafe, to give children a voice and to help parents realize the signs of abuse and to save their children of the emotional hardship of sexual abuse. Since playing golf professionally I have traveled around the country and I have met parents who have heard my story and always ask me what they can do to protect their children. After hearing about KidSafe, and learning more about their work, I refer parents to their nonprofit Foundation because,  KidSafe can provide the materials needed to keep children safe. We can prevent sexual abuse, all we need to do is know how!"                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Anya Alvarez

   

Anya is on tour spreading awareness with KidSafe Bracelets:

You can get one too!

Your minimum donation of $3.00 +s/h will go directly toward helping to support the Kid Safe Foundation. In appreciation of your donation, we will send you a customized KidSafe Foundation silicon wristband to help prevent Child Abuse and showcase your support!

Price: $3

  

Pro Golfer Anya Alvarez, Survivor of Child Abuse & Now KidSafe Spokesperson!

 The child abuse scandal and subsequent cover up at Penn State by Jerry Sandusky and the rest of the football administration has made the world wake up to the silent epidemic of child abuse. Those of us that work in the field of child safety have always known this was happening, every day, everywhere, as a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds. 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually exploited before the age of 18.  90% of the time children are harmed by someone they know. Now the world understands why it is so difficult for a child to report they are being abused. They know their abuser, may love them, and even trust them as 68% of the time a child is harmed by a family member.

                  We at KidSafe Foundation make our life’s work providing children ages 4 – 5th grade and adults prevention education to decrease child abuse. We feel strongly that education is the key to decreasing children from harm. This is why this particular story has made us so incredibly outraged.Why?  

               We are incredibly disappointed in Penn State’s administration’s lack of morality, turning a blind eye to child abuse and protecting the abuser instead of the children.  Our children are the future leaders of this world and right now at this moment they are learning that “It’s okay to turn a blind eye when a child is being harmed,” “Money is more important than the safety of children,” “Beloved sports heroes have more say when a crime is committed than the police who have sworn to support and protect us?” Is this the kind of world you want your children, grandchildren and future children to be living in?

             We at KidSafe Foundation don’t and stories like this just make our mission stronger to provide education to prevent children from being harmed. You are awake now, and  can no longer turn a blind eye and pretend this isn't really happening. It is, it does and nonprofits like our's need your help. Please join us in our efforts, because although we used to say” It takes a village to keep children safe!”…. It actually takes each and every individual to look inside themselves and ask: “If I was a child being harmed, would I want someone to just turn away?” “If it was my child or grandchild would I want someone to help?” Even as an adult “If someone was harming you, would you want help?” I think we would all unanimously say YES!…so all we can ask,  from this day forward, if you suspect a child is being harmed – reach inside yourself and ask yourself these questions and help that child. They are counting on you to do the right thing…and so are we!

The world has woken up to the EPIDEMIC of Child Abuse……….. Now What?

               

Since the Penn State child abuse cover up has been exposed and the public is responding for the most part with outrage that Jerry Sandusky was able to abuse so many children and many adults knew and turned a blind eye, we have been getting calls and emails from many parents asking: “What do I tell my child to keep them safe?” “How can I Keep my child Safe?” “Tell me what to do?” We wrote this blog in the hope that we can answer those questions.

 

First and foremost is to continue to be outraged over adults not protecting children. It is that energy which will make many parents take proactive steps toward teaching their children personal safety and being more aware and educated as to how to recognize the dangers – noting that 90% of the time a child is harmed it is by someone you/they know and trust.  But in front of your children remain calm as one of the reasons they don’t want to talk to you (their parents) about questions they might have or things they are hearing about is because they think you are going to overreact.

 

So for starters we ask that you keep a poker face when talking and listening to your children. This is great technique to use with children of all ages. And as you read through the suggestions below – please note – these are not band aid fixes in response to the Penn State tragedy – these are skills, language, and concepts to integrate into your everyday parenting. They are just as important for our toddlers as for our teens.

 

10 things every parent should tell and talk to their children about – starting as soon as they begin to speak, but developmentally around 3 years of age

 

1. From a young age instill in your children that their bodies are special and belongs to them. (This can relate to everything from taking care of our bodies nutritionally, keeping us physically healthy, as well as beginning the conversation about private parts and safe and unsafe touching.)

 

2. Children should know and use proper names for body parts. An elbow is an elbow and a penis is a penis. We as adults need to be comfortable ourselves otherwise we are passing down the message that it is “taboo” to talk about our private parts. Note: if they ever have to report abuse, saying Uncle Joe touched my “cookie” will make it more difficult to understand what occurred.

 

3. Discuss with children how various touches make them feel. Note the difference between the feelings of a safe touch – comfortable, warm, cozy, special, loved and the feelings of an unsafe touch – awkward, nervous, scary, confusing, sad, and mad, etc. Directly say to children that if you receive a touch – even from someone you love, and you are confused by it – then you can always report it to another adult to help you understand if it was a safe touch or an unsafe touch. This is called reporting. (Similar to reporting bullying.)

 

4. Discuss the difference between tattling and reporting: Tattling is when you tell on someone just to get them in trouble. Reporting is when you talk to a trusted adult because of your safety and/or the safety of others.

 

5. Empower your children that their bodies belong to them. This means that if they do not feel like giving someone a hug (visiting relative for example) – they do not need to be rude – but can politely say no thank you. Forcing a child to hug or kiss someone is sending the subliminal message that the feelings of the adult are more important than respecting the child’s body boundaries.

 

6. Teach children their bodies are special and they have the RIGHT to keep them safe. (Read our book My Body is Special and Belongs to Me!  we wrote this book as the conversation every parent wants to have with their child and is not sure how to start or how to answer the questions their child may ask (there is a great parent section too) www.kidsafefoundation.org/products

 

7. Teach children their privates are private and so are everyone else’s and that’s why we call them “private parts.” No one should be looking, touching, taking a picture of yours and they shouldn’t be looking, touching, anyone else’s. (Starting this message young leads to better choices regarding issues of sexting among preteens and teens and other life choices.)

 

8. Discuss good and bad secrets with your child, because a child who keeps secrets is a predators dream.  Teach your children: A Good Secret has a time limit (the person telling you to keep the secret wants you to tell eventually). An example: A parent and child shop for a gift for a sibling. Parents ask child not to tell until the birthday. Feelings associated with this good secret are similar to the feelings a child would have with a safe touch – special, excited, proud, happy. A Bad secret has no time limit, the person might have directly asked the child to keep the secret, or has threatened or bribed the child into silence, and to the child this is a secret with no end in sight.  Feelings associated with a bad secret are similar to the feelings of an unsafe touch – scared, uncomfortable, afraid to tell, awkward, confused, alone, shame, and fear of getting into trouble. Teach your children that if they ever have anything on their mind that gives them those types of feelings then they always know they can come to you and tell (report) you anything.

 

9. Remind your children regularly and often that you are available to listen to them – noting that whatever they have to say – no matter how bad it might seem to them – you will be able to handle it and get any help that is needed. (This is important for sexual abuse, bullying, suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, etc.). Also note to children of all ages, that if they ever receive an unsafe touch of any sort it is NEVER their fault. (The fault belongs to the adult not the child)

 

10.  Tell your children how proud you will be if they report to you any safety concern even if they are confused by a touch, what someone said, a secret asked to keep, that you are here for them always to help. Tell your children that adults you trust can help in ways you (children) can’t always see! Open communication, and safety discussions as a natural part of your parenting are some of the best ways to keep children safe.

Penn State Child Abuse Cover Up: What every parent needs to know!

                        The news that “just” broke that Penn State University Coaches, Administration and just about everyone involved with the football team knew that Jerry Sandusky, their former Penn State Defensive Coordinator was abusing children and turned a blind eye. By not calling the police and reporting this criminal behavior these children were abused a second time.

              We are disgusted, saddened and outraged that this abuse continued to go on unchecked for decades.When the “situation” about Sandusky came up to Joe Paterno, he told Sandusky he “was not to bring children to Penn State.”  What does that mean? Why? He knew child abuse was happening and just did not want it happening on his “turf.”

           All of these men are culpable and all deserve to go to jail. Adults need to stop protecting the pedophiles and start protecting children. Our children are no match for a “Well revered, smart, savvy child molester,” especially when the good ‘ole boys network is keeping his secret. The only positive aspect about this story is that it is out in the open and the world can wake up and realize the scope of this man’s destruction of innocent lives, maybe save some children from abuse – and perhaps it will bring some healing to the victims. It is unfortunate that it has to take big headliners for this to make the news as a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds.

                           The focal point here for this blog is about ALL the people who knew and did nothing. To know that something is wrong, to even have been a direct witness of child abuse and yet not report is almost as criminal as the abuse itself. What kind of world have we become that we will go to such great lengths to protect pedophiles before protecting our children?  Across our nation we are asking kids to “report” bullying abuse so they can get the help they need before things get out of control. How can we expect kids to have the courage to report abuse when adults can’t even report – and many of them are mandated reporters?

                                We know from research that many child molesters are seemingly “upstanding citizens” often married with children. They lead a double life. This is a complicated psychological issue as to how savvy these child molesters are – in their own way they groom not only the child they are abusing but the entire community they are in.  Dottie Huck, a board member of the nonprofit Sandusky started called Second Mile, an organization for children who need additional support and who would benefit from positive human contact,  stated, speaking personally, Sandusky has “done some wonderful things in his lifetime and we should try to help him. ... We all make little mistakes in our lives.”

                       Really? If these allegations prove to be true…which we believe they will be… these are not ‘little mistakes.’  “HE RAPED CHILDREN.”  We believe Sandusky founding a charity to help children is like giving kids the key to the candy store.

                  In an institution such as Penn State there are politics that surround the world of athletics. Joe Paterno is a beloved Coach and they win games and bring in money. It seems that money and politics ranked higher than protecting children.  So whose voice did it take to be the brave one, the whistle blower so to speak in this tragedy? A 15 year old boy (in 2009). This brave boy did not report to save himself, but reported to save another boy from being abused. This boy deserved the right to be safe and the adults let him down.

               We believe that by providing Prevention Education to both children and adults we can help break the cycle of silence that surrounds child abuse and stop it in its tracks. I know it sounds simplistic – but “Adults and children don’t know…what they don’t know” and we need to educate adults on the dangers, empower adults to listen to their instincts and always err on the side of protecting children (which we know is hard because often the adult knows the offender too). We need to educate children that they have the RIGHT to be safe, the RIGHT to have a voice and the RIGHT to access help.

              So after you read this blog, we ask you to search your soul. We ask Joe Paterno, Athletic Director Tim Curley, and interim Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz, when you lay your head to rest at night – can you sleep well knowing you have done the right thing and you have protected children? We think not! You will have to live with the fact that you played a huge part in killing who these children could have been.

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Silence Broken: The Penn State Scandal

Halloween Safety- should be on the minds of all parents As child safety experts we are sure you are not surprised to see a blog about safety as Halloween approaches and we promise this won’t be a long boring blog… Just a short one to give you a few tips to make it a safe and fun evening for all. While teaching KidSafe’s Abduction Prevention lesson yesterday with 3rd and 4th graders, in almost all of our classes, the discussion turned to safety at Halloween and it had us shocked at what some of these kids are allowed to do and alarmed us somewhat for their safety. So instead of telling you what these kids are doing here are some tips and ideas for you to think about to keep your children safe while participating in knocking on doors of strangers and asking for candy. Please before you & your child go out the door of your home,  if the area you live in has a sex offender data base - please check it! (Florida  http://www. offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/homepage.do is the link)

  • Use the Buddy System - seems like common sense, but many kids are telling us they are walking around by themselves.  If your child does not have a group you need to go with them, (many of the kid’s say their moms claim they “have” to stay home to give out candy - REALLY? That is more important than keeping your child safe? NO!) Set a time you will walk around with your child, and then come home and give out candy. A win - win!
  • Only go to people’s homes you know. (Children tell us they are allowed to go to every house in their neighborhood.)
  • Tell your children to NEVER go inside someone’s house. (Children shared some pretty frightening stories about knocking on the door and being told to come in and get candy. We won’t go into details about the frightening situation that occurred, however even if our children may not understand the danger of going into a house – you do!) So before your child goes trick or treating sit down and have a discussion about the rules.
  • Tell your children NOT eat any candy until you have looked it over and deemed it “SAFE.” (And you have picked out some of the favorites for yourself.)
  • Tell your children to not go near dogs that you do not know. (One student shared a near miss attack by a pit-bull last year.)
  • If your children are going out with their friends and not with a grown-up, make sure you set up designated times for them to “check in” in with you.
  • Walk on the sidewalk if there is one. (If they are walking, especially on the street and wearing dark costumes, a flash light is highly recommended.)
  • Do not talk to anyone driving by in a car. (Remind them that adults they do not know should not be asking kids for help – they should be asking other adults.) If approached they need to report this to a grownup immediately.
Remember, this blog was inspired by conversations we had with 8 and 9 year olds yesterday as they shared their experiences during our KidSafe lessons. Halloween can be an amazing family holiday. We have neighbors that transform their garage into a haunted house and all the kids look forward to the scare and fun. Most of the families walk around in large groups – adults socializing as well as the children. BUT as  child safety experts we also see the not so safe side of Halloween – kids as young as 6 and 7 walking around without grownups, knocking on strangers doors for candy - this is a predators dream…children alone …and coming right to their door. We have to think of the messages we are sending our children. For most families this is the ultimate fun and they celebrate together as a family and everyone has a safe and wonderful time. All we  ask is that you read this blog and consider some of the safety issues that may arise and sit down with your children and discuss a plan of action for their safety at Halloween. For more safety tips visit our website www.kidsafefoundation.org        

Halloween Safety- should be on the minds of all parents

Halloween Safety- should be on the minds of all parents. As child safety experts we are sure you are not surprised to see a blog about safety as Halloween approaches and we promise this won’t be a long boring blog… Just a short one to give you a few tips to make it a safe and fun evening for all.
 
While teaching KidSafe’s Abduction Prevention lesson yesterday with 3rd and 4th graders, in almost all of our classes, the discussion turned to safety at Halloween and it had us shocked at what some of these kids are allowed to do and alarmed us somewhat for their safety. So instead of telling you what these kids are doing here are some tips and ideas for you to think about to keep your children safe while participating in knocking on doors of strangers and asking for candy.
  1. Use the Buddy System - seems like common sense, but many kids are telling us they are walking around by themselves.  If your child does not have a group you need to go with them, (many of the kid’s say their moms claim they “have” to stay home to give out candy - REALLY? That is more important than keeping your child safe? NO!) Set a time you will walk around with your child, and then come home and give out candy. A win - win!
  2. Only go to people’s homes you know. (Children tell us they are allowed to go to every house in their neighborhood.)
  3. Tell your children to NEVER go inside someone’s house. (Children shared some pretty frightening stories about knocking on the door and being told to come in and get candy. We won’t go into details about the frightening situation that occurred, however even if our children may not understand the danger of going into a house – you do!) So before your child goes trick or treating sit down and have a discussion about the rules.
  4. Tell your children NOT eat any candy until you have looked it over and deemed it “SAFE.” (And you have picked out some of the favorites for yourself.)
  5. Tell your children to not go near dogs that you do not know. (One student shared a near miss attack by a pit-bull last year.)
  6. If your children are going out with their friends and not with a grown-up, make sure you set up designated times for them to “check in” in with you.
  7. Walk on the sidewalk if there is one. (If they are walking, especially on the street and wearing dark costumes, a flash light is highly recommended.)
  8. Do not talk to anyone driving by in a car. (Remind them that adults they do not know should not be asking kids for help – they should be asking other adults.) If approached they need to report this to a grownup immediately.
Remember, this blog was inspired by conversations we had with 8 and 9 year old"s yesterday as they shared their experiences during our KidSafe lessons. Halloween can be an amazing family holiday. We have neighbors that transform their garage into a haunted house and all the kids look forward to the scare and fun. 
 
Most of the families walk around in large groups – adults socializing as well as the children. BUT as  child safety experts we also see the not so safe side of Halloween – kids as young as 6 and 7 walking around without grownups, knocking on strangers doors for candy - this is a predators dream…children alone …and coming right to their door. We have to think of the messages we are sending our children.
 
For most families this is the ultimate fun and they celebrate together as a family and everyone has a safe and wonderful time. All we  ask is that you read this blog and consider some of the safety issues that may arise and sit down with your children and discuss a plan of action for their safety at Halloween.

Halloween Safety – Is it on your mind?

          A very high percentage of men view porn on line – this is not a shocking revelation for many of us – and it is legal, and their free choice. This is not a blog about men and pornography (although we do have much to say about the topic) this is a blog about dads, pornography, the internet and their children.  As parents we are faced with daily challenges as our children drop “proverbial” bombs in our laps.  In KidSafe we believe that all of those “situations” can be teachable moments…. Once we get our hearts out of our throats. A parent who has been through the KidSafe program shared the following story with us:

         “On my children’s last visit to their Dad (great dad) my oldest, 14 year old daughter, jumped on to her father’s Ipad as any typical teenager would do. I then receive a text from her, stating – Mom, when I went on dad’s ipad and typed in You to go to youtube, a bunch of porn sites came up. Well there you go – child drops the bomb through a text, while I am not with her to work it through. In some ways I was glad this was a text, I had a few minutes to think about my response. I kept my wits about me, as I knew that if I called or sent a heated response (expressing anger, disgust, “flipping out” so to speak) I would have cut off the wonderful communication I have with my daughter. But I will admit to you, that my initial response which I did not act upon was to call the ex and “rip into him.” I quickly thought the better of that as this would only exacerbate the situation – and make my daughter seem like she “ratted” out her dad. Not good for their relationship. My biggest concern was for my twin 10 year old - son and daughter, who would perhaps not seek out the porn themselves, but if a site popped up in the history list with an eye catching name their impulsivity might very well get the best of them – and the porn would be a click away. They might even think – “Heck if it is on Dad’s ipad then isn’t it okay?”

              Back to my blog - When we were younger, yes in the 70’s and 80’s for the most part, if we fell upon porn it was a (stack) of playboys hidden in the basement or Dad’s side table (sorry dad but yes I did look – actually enjoyed the articles.) I look back at that level of porn as being so tame as compared with the images and video kids can see today on line. The influence of what children see on line at this point is unknown, perhaps impossible to measure.

            But we do know that children are at risk for being exposed to information,  pornography, and much worse that if there was no internet they would not be exposed to at all – or at least not until they were well into adulthood. Kids do not have the capacity to digest these images – and it can and does have devastating long term effects on their development.

              So back to the story, she writes:   “How should I respond? Via text I started by thanking my daughter for sharing her concerns (and I was feeling so blessed that she is the type of kid who can self-regulate and knows better than to click on the stuff herself) and asked if she felt comfortable talking with her dad about it. She responded that she was disgusted and annoyed but not comfortable talking with her dad. I realize this is a tough thing to ask a 14 year old to do – but I am also working hard to raise a child, especially a girl that can stand true to herself, and have a voice.

           But I am now parenting at a distance at that moment – through text – so I suffice with – okay – please keep an eye on the twins while they use the ipad and we can come up with a solution together when you get back to my home.

          Upon the kids return from the weekend I check in with her and she reports that  she feels that the little ones did not fall upon the porn sites but my daughter explains that she herself feels violated that she even has to be exposed to the names of these sites. So we discuss how to have the conversation and things she can say to her father. In today’s world there are many ways to use your “voice”, email, text, IM, etc. We decide my getting involved would be a last option as this would negatively impact their relationship. We let it rest during our time together and then just hours before she is to return to her father (it was obviously weighing on her mind), without any input from me – she writes him a text telling him about the porn she found on the ipad and asked him to please erase the history as she nor the twins want to be exposed to such sites. She then texts me that she sent said text. Then she texts me a few minutes later that she didn’t hear back yet. I could feel her anxiety through the text. I expressed to her how deeply proud I was of her for using her voice, and also protecting her siblings. Eventually she said he wrote back, “No problem.”  

                So I ask you reader, Does it have to take a 14 year old to tell an adult to have some common sense about safety on the internet? Everyone has access to pornography on the internet, children as young as 7 are known to google words such as boobs and sex just to “see.” But a responsible adult leaving pornography on their ipad, is just like leaving porno magazines and dvds out on the coffee table in the family room. Although most of the people who read this blog are probably women, this is a conversation all parents should have, married and divorced.  Think about the impact your behavior has on the development of your children.

          Bottom line for me is the goal we should all set as parents and as the Cofounder of KidSafe. Children need to know they have a voice – and it is our role as parents to teach them how to use it. These are skills for a life time. If this teen can tell her dad to get rid of the porn imagine what she’ll say to an employer who crosses the line. All the power to her and all the power to her mom.

Dads, Porn, The Internet and Their Children!

             As the amazing technology of our world develops at a rapid pace, and with the death of Steve Jobs a brilliant innovative man, I ponder about the incredible advances that have been made since I was born in 1967.  Our lives are techno and if you’re not in it or on it, you’re just not with it. Today we can not only talk to our friends and family near and far, we can video chat, send a quick word with a text, remember someone’s birthday from a pop up reminder on Facebook and twitter our innermost thoughts…it is amazing!!!

               But with all good things there is a risk, and that risk is the rise of more children being abused and more children acting out violently. The ease with which the abuse can now take place is startling to those in the world of child safety. It’s become infinitely easier through technology, for people that want to harm our children.  Predators are, (mistakenly on our part), welcomed in our homes through our children’s use of games and the internet. Children are also crossing boundaries and participating in such behaviors as, videotaping themselves bullying and then uploading on YouTube for the world to see. The filter of right and wrong, appropriate vs. inappropriate, seems to be gone, for many of our youth – our future leaders of tomorrow.

              My belief is that we and our children are becoming so desensitized to child abuse and bullying because it is in front of our faces every day, every minute, every second. It’s not unusual for this to happen, I mean if you continue to see heartache and human suffering at some point your mind will compartmentalize the horrors, so one can function and put one foot in front of the other each day. But, what I am attempting to do with this blog is to ask you to take a deep breath, stop what you are doing and ask yourself, Is that the kind of world we want our children to live in? Is that how we want our children to act?  Do we want our children to just walk by the homeless person on the street without a care? Or hear about a girl set on fire by another student and think, not only is there nothing wrong with it, but not even give it a second thought? Do we want our children to believe this is it? That the world can’t be a better place and/or that it is some one else’s job to fix what ills the world?

                 The bullies and the predators are winning if we allow ourselves and or our children to become desensitized to human suffering…..Do you realize this is happening? It’s a bitter pill to swallow. So what can we do? How can we make this world a better place when the  advances in technology that make so many things so great and easy also make it so easy for people that want to harm children? Think about the old saying an “eye for an eye”

              But,  let’s look at it a different way, what if every time you read or heard a story about abuse – you and your children went to do something good for someone who needs your help? Giving back, being good, surrounding yourself and your children with people who are charitable and philanthropic and believe by being this way they can make a difference in our world. That is how we can combat the bad. How will our children know how to do this? We as parents need to model for our children being good and giving back...that's the key to tipping the scales to help the good guys win!

            Our world will continue to grow technologically at massive speeds and our children could continue at this pace... of seeing  so much human suffering that they are completely  desensitized to it. Do you know what will happen?  They will raise children who don’t care either  -  and well the reason for this blog is, I don’t want that to happen and I know you don’t either. So I ask you – if you are not giving back. What are you doing?

         If you are not being a good role model and being there for your children to discuss the negative and inappropriate things they are seeing and hearing about on a daily basis, how are they to understand? How are they to learn to empathize? How will they learn to be part of the solution and not part of the problem?

          So if you read this far – you believe what I am saying and you too might be apprehensive about our children and us becoming desensitized to human suffering – Make a list of things you can do with your child right now to make the world a better place and do it! Do it when you hear of a terrible story, Do it once a week…once a month, every holiday, or whatever works for you and your family.

        The more we give back, the more we choose to do the “right” thing, the more we empathize about human suffering and try our best to be our “best,” the better chance we will have to be a positive influence on our children – helping them directly understand the more complicated aspects of the world they are exposed to today and raise future leaders of the world we can be proud of.

Are children becoming desensitized to human suffering?

I have a dream that I will wake up one day and there will not be a story about a child being abused….. I don’t know if this can happen in my lifetime. But I know that in my life’s work teaching children they have the RIGHT to be safe, their bodies belong only to them and how to access help is just one of the ways I want my dream to come true. Parenting seminars and teacher workshops to educate parents that we can no longer be complacent in our children’s safety is one of the direct ways to make change. What does that mean? It means that we need to supervise our children when they are outside playing, at school, on the computer, on their cell phones and watching TV. We have to actively teach our children skills to be able to raise safe and savvy kids in this day and age. This is not to say we have to helicopter our children – but we must remain on the same runway!! Why? Because the child predators who are getting bolder each day, are smart, savvy and way too manipulative for our kids to handle. Child molesters seek jobs and often volunteer in child related programs. They groom your children…they groom you and you don’t even know it. If you can’t spot it how can your children? Remember all those old sayings our parents and grandparents use to say to us but we never took note of – take note now. “If it seems too good to be true it probably is.” An oldie but a goodie.  “Trust your instincts, they are rarely wrong.” This one is hard as we want to believe the good in people and we are also so busy we rarely take the time to sit and let ourselves feel our instincts. But we need to start now, because 7 years ago when we started KidSafe I used to read maybe two stories a day of child abuse…today I am reading too many to even count. Yes child abuse has always existed! But it is worse now on so many levels. Prevention education is the key and KidSafe Foundation is on a mission to break the cycle of silence about child abuse and educate as many children and adults as we can. As our grandparents use to say “It takes a village.”  Well it does take a village to keep our children safe. It takes parents, teachers and children working together, raising awareness, understanding and pursuing the rights of children, speaking up if you see something, feel something or your gut tells you something. We must always air on the side of protecting children! Why…because there is a child out there who does not have a voice! Who does not know who to tell! Who is scared, ashamed, sad, nervous and whose world is falling apart. Give her a voice.  Give him a voice and maybe just maybe – My dream can come true…a world in which children have found their voice and know they have the right to be safe. For more information about KidSafe and our programs for children and adults www.kidsafefoundation.org

I have a dream…

KidSafe Foundation offers a 4 week Bullying Prevention program to children from 1st Grade through middle school.

All Lessons are taught though realistic role plays and discussion. img-6

Program Covers:

Kindness

  • Why
  • Importance
  • Effects

Respect

  • Why
  • Importance
  • Effects

Fairness

  • Why
  • Importance
  • Effects

Tolerance

  • Why
  • Importance
  • Effects

Cyber bullying

  • What it is
  • What it does
  • Effects
  • How to respond

Contact us to customize a program for you 1-855-844-SAFE

Bullying Prevention

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Parents will learn about the dangers impacting our children’s safety both online and in the real world and take home concrete skills including the KidSafe Language of Safety which they can then integrate into their everyday parenting. Subjects covered: Sexual Abuse Prevention, Internet Safety, Bullying, Cyber Bullying, Body Boundaries, Stranger Danger Myth and much more.

Benefits:

  • Breaks cycle of silence that surrounds issue of child abuse and internet dangers
  • Educates parents on challenges children face in today’s society
  • Teaches real world life skills to use in everyday parenting
  • Decrease risk of abuse, bullying, peer pressure
  • Increase safety on the internet and in the real world
  • Fosters effective communication between parent and child – gets the conversations started

Recommended Venues for KidSafe Seminars and Events: Schools, Agencies, Places of Worship, Corporations as Lunch and Learns, Private Home Groups

Please Click Here to Book a KidSafe Event:

Speaking Engagements
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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="KidSafe Family Event"]
1.5 Hours: This seminar is for parents and their elementary school aged children.Parents receive KidSafe for Parents (see above) while separately but simultaneously their elementary age children are put into groups (k-2) (3-5) and receive an introduction to KidSafe’s Language of Safety. The last 10 minutes the children come back to the parents and share with them what they learned. KidSafe teaches children from a place of fun not fear. Children will participate in discussion, brainstorming, role playing, drawing, games, storytelling and for the little ones – singing.

Please Click Here to Book a KidSafe Event:

Speaking Engagements
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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="Internet Safety for Parents:"]
1 hour with Q & A Parents take a journey of the Internet and use of various technologies from a child/teens perspective. The many pros and potentially life threatening cons are discussed. Parents will learn how to combat those dangers with concrete KidSafe skills and learn a language of safety they can begin using immediately to keep their children safe online from: Predators, Cyber Bullying, Pornography, Sexting, and Peer Pressure.
Topics covered: How Predators “Groom” a child/teen online, Cyber Bullying – the ugly truth, Facebook- how to best supervise our kids and why, Sexting – my kid would never do that, Personal Information, Suggestions for keeping your children safer on line, Recommended Internet Safety Contract.

Please Click Here to Book a KidSafe Event:

Speaking Engagements
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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="Bullying Intervention Seminar for Parents"]
1 hour with Q & A Was bullying such an issue when we were kids? Parents will understand the concept of bullying in today’s society including face to face bullying as well as Cyber Bullying. We will discuss the various warning signs that a child is being bullied as well as the characteristics and signs of a child/teen who is bullying. Parents will better understand the potentially devastating short and long term effects of bullying and how to best intervene. School protocol will be reviewed. Parents will gain concrete skills they can then use in their everyday parenting to have these important conversations with their children and teens.

Benefits:

  • Breaks cycle of silence that surrounds issues of bullying
  • Empower parents to be their child/teen’s best advocate
  • Increasing parental knowledge will decrease risk of bullying
  • Increase safety on the internet regarding Cyber Bullying
  • Fosters effective communication between parent and child/teen
  • Starts the dialogue between parent and child

Please Click Here to Book a KidSafe Event:

Speaking Engagements
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Parent Seminars

KidSafe partners with Facebook

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Cheri-Benjoseph-final2

Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW is a founder and the Chief Operating Officer of KidSafe Foundation. As a clinical social worker, Cherie has spent the last 25 years advocating on the behalf of children and families. Inspired by a child who disclosed her own abuse in 1990, Cherie set her personal mission to prevent sexual abuse. While working as a school guidance counselor and mental health therapist Cherie specialized in violence prevention/conflict resolution, active parenting, and personal safety. She is an award winning coauthor of “My Body is Special and Belongs To ME!” and won the 211 Broward Rising Star Nonprofit Award in 2013. Cherie is the backbone of KidSafe Foundation, with her highly organized, systematic and detail oriented focus, she has ensured that programs have launched with the highest degree of efficacy.  She holds a masters degree in Social Work from Boston University.

 

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kidsafe1Sally Berenzweig, Med, MA is a founder and the Executive Director of KidSafe Foundation, the industry leader in child sexual abuse and exploitation prevention education.  For more than 25 years Sally been at the forefront of this cause, initially counseling victims of sexual abuse and then later developing a proven prevention program, she has helped equip her community to better protect children. Sally is an established expert in child safety, internet safety and she coauthored “Jack teaches his friends to be KidSafe!” and the 2011 Literary Award Winning children’s book “My Body is Special and Belongs To ME!”.   She is a much sought after national speaker; her energetic and charismatic style helps engage people to share in her mission of prevention.  She holds a masters degree in Elementary Education and Counseling Psychology.  As a result of her long-standing commitment and tireless work on the behalf of children and families, Sally received the 2012 Jefferson Award for Public Service.

 

[/dt_sc_one_half][/dt_sc_fullwidth_section][dt_sc_fullwidth_section backgroundcolor="" backgroundimage="http://kidsafefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/slide3.jpg" opacity="80" parallax="" backgroundrepeat="" backgroundposition="" paddingtop="" paddingbottom="" margintop="" marginbottom="" textcolor="#ffffff" class="" first][dt_sc_hr_invisible /][dt_sc_infographic_bar icon="fa-child " icon_size="100" value="90" type="standard" color="#dd3333"]90 Percent of the time a child is harmed by someone they know.[/dt_sc_infographic_bar][dt_sc_infographic_bar icon="fa-child " icon_size="100" value="75" type="standard" color="#dd3333"]75 percent of children will share personal information online in exchange for goods/services[/dt_sc_infographic_bar][dt_sc_infographic_bar icon="fa-child " icon_size="100" value="28" type="standard" color="#dd3333"]28 percent of runaway youths have a history of sexual abuse[/dt_sc_infographic_bar][dt_sc_infographic_bar icon="fa-child " icon_size="100" value="25" type="standard" color="#dd3333"]25 percent of children are bullied everyday, 33% of those are bullied via the internet.[/dt_sc_infographic_bar][/dt_sc_fullwidth_section]

KidSafe Founders/Executive Directors

Calendar

kidsafe logo for cut event
Join us at CUT432 on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach
Tuesday, May 10th 5:00 - 7:30PM
KidSafe Foundation's 2nd Annual Fundraiser Open Bar, Amazing Food, Silent Auction, Raffle Prizes, Cut 432 $20 gift card & Gift Bag!!
Some Auction Items: Value $500 - $1,000+++
*Two night stay at The Exclusive Boca Resort with bottle of Champagne *Miami Dolphin Signed Memorabilia
*Golf foursomes and lunch at the MOST Exclusive Clubs: Broken Sound,Woodfield, Mizner, Polo Club and more *Bloomingdale's Glam Event (VIP for 11 of your closest friends) *Photo Session with April Milner from CoConut CirCle Photography
Some Raffle Prizes:value $100 - $250
*Green Room Hair Salon Gift Basket *Whole Foods Gift Basket *Signed Copy of Brooke Burke's "The Naked Mom" and Baboosh *Segway Tour through Delray *Dining Certificate Truluck's Restaurant
*Susan Rifkin Jewelry Designs and much more!!!
    $25 in advance $30 at door (ALL receive $20 Gift Card to CUT432)
Click right now to Donate & RSVP for this amazing event!!!
Thank you to our amazing Host & Sponsors
          
Entertainment provided by: We hope you can join us for food, drinks, fun, entertainment, gifts, but most of all your support and donations help support KidSafe Foundation!

Cocktails for a Cause

  • Place the computer in a central location in the home. (Kitchen, family room; even if it is a lap top) Have a computer contract with your children. For specific topics to cover see www.netsmartz.org. or wiredsafety.org
  • Remind children (of all ages), not to share personal information on the computer including obvious information such as their name and telephone number, as well as revealing information such as the name of their school or sports team.
  • Talk to your children, tweens and teens, about what to do if they come across information, material, or pictures which are inappropriate or make them uncomfortable. (Tell them directly that you want them to come to you with this information.)
  • Remind children they should not send pictures of themselves without checking first with their parents. Remind children (of all ages) not to share Internet passwords with anyone (this applies to our youngest Internet users on Webkinz!).
  • Discuss with your children issues of cyber bullying – if they receive derogatory information aimed at them personally or towards someone else, they should NOT forward this information and must share the information with a trusted adult.

Does your child know?

  • If he/she is in danger or lost, call 911.
  • If someone wants their help they should ask their trusted adult first.
  • To yell if someone approaches them and tells them not to yell.
  • To tell an adult if someone does something to them and tells them not to tell.
  • To trust their instincts.
  • They don’t have to do anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.

Parents, do you know?

  • Never leave your child unattended in a car or public place.
  • What your child is wearing on a daily basis.
  • Your child’s friends and their parents.
  • The route your child walks to and from school.
  • To carry a current picture of your child with you at all times.
  • To always perform background checks on anyone taking care of your child.
  • To check online for sex offenders in your area.
  • Never put your child’s name on backpacks or clothing.

Internet Safety Tools

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“KidSafe Superhero”  $100,000+

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“KidSafe Hero Plus”  $50,000+

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="“KidSafe Hero”  $20,000+"]
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  • A.D. Henderson Foundation
  • Lost Tree Foundation**
  • Boca West Community Charitable Foundation
  • Pediatric Associates Foundation
  • CSC PBC
  • Disney Stock Donation
  • Paul Palank

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="“KidSafe Protector”  $10,000+"]
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  • William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation
  • Coulumbe Family Foundation**
  • Schmidt Family Foundation***
  • Pediatric & Associates & Foundation**
  • Saul & Theresa Esman Foundation*
  • Broward County Sheriff’s Office**
  • Hotwire Communications
  • Charles Schwab
  • Mangurian

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="“KidSafe Life Saver”  $5,000+"]
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  • Renee & Mark Lorberbaum
  • BallenIsles Country Club Foundation
  • Boca Rio Foundation
  • Nordstroms Cares
  • Ibis Charities
  • Jewish Women of South Palm Beach County*
  • Boca Regional Hospital
  • PNC Bank
  • Castle Cares
  • BBX Foundation
  • DanPaul Foundation**
  • Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office**
  • Chris & Michelle Rondeau Family Foundation**
  • Goody Two Shoes*
  • Berro Foundation
  • Margaret McCartney & R. Parks Williams
  • Parker Family
  • Norman Shulevitz Foundation Mankoff

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="“KidSafe Defender”: $2,500+"]

  • Mr. Aaron Friedman
  • Toshiba Business Solutions
  • Joel Meisner***
  • Planet Fitness
  • Seminole Coconut Creek
  • Wycliff Charities
  • Holy Trinity Church

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="“KidSafe Star” $1,000 +"]

  • Mr. Ira & Eileen Salk
  • Dr. Andrew & Laura Reiss
  • Bochak Family Children’s Fund of the Community Foundation of Broward County
  • Pace Plumbing - Andru Coren
  • Jamestown Metal Marine Sales – Richard & Marlene Hazard
  • AutoNation**
  • Greenberg Traurig **
  • Office Depot Foundation **
  • Junior League of Boca Raton, Florida****
  • Scott & Melanie Simon*****
  • Michael & Lisa Ruskin
  • Woodfield Golf - Women's Association
  • Rana Bell
  • Medworks
  • City of Boca Raton*
  • Junior League of Boca
  • Boca Raton Airport
  • Ed & Lynn Streim

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title=" “KidSafe Guardian” $500+"]

  • *Soroptomist International
  • Florida Power & Light
  • Craig & Leslie Lessner
  • Coral Springs CC

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="“KidSafe Underwriters”"]

  • Minuteman Press of Boca Raton
  • Dr. Brian Bernick
  • Dalsimer Atlas
  • Picture it Perfect Photography
  • Zazz Events
  • DJ Alex
  • Kennesaw Fruit & Juices
  • Salk Marketing
  • Party Perfect

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="KidSafe Friends:"]

  • Dr. Peter S. Wohlgemuth, DMD
  • Mr. & Mrs Moskowitz
  • Thomas Stewart
  • Matt & Jodi Roseberg
  • Niki Wilson
  • Wendi & Todd Lipsich
  • Dan & Alina Gagnon
  • Mr. & Mrs. Peter Oldbury
  • Heron Heights PTA
  • Marty & Karen Weinbaum
  • Dor Dorim Pre School
  • Andrea & Rich Garcia
  • Banyan Creek PTA
  • Karen & Tom Hamorsky
  • JCC Heron Lakes Pre School
  • Mr. Cesar Rivas
  • Searcy, Denney ,Scarola, Barnhart
  • Ms. Nicole RomanMatt & Debbie Miller
  • Brauser Maimonides
  • American Heritage Parent Organization
  • Office Depot
  • Alissa & Jay Maizes
  • Steinger, Iscoe & Greene
  • Salk Marketing Group
  • Robert Shapiro
  • Hochberg Prep Parent Organization
  • NCCI
  • Orlie Cohen
  • Calusa PTA
  • Amy & Matt Hammer
  • Beth El Chabad of Palm Beach
  • St. Marks PTO
  • Zale Early Childhood Learning Center
  • Sunset Palms PTO
  • Sunrise Park Elementary – PTA
  • Bnai Torah
  • Chabad Jewish Day School
  • Leslie Rifkin
  • Lisa Green
  • CBI Pre School
  • Richard Kasen Insurance 954-818-8204
  • Champion Porsche
  • Temple Beth Torah PO
  • Alpert Weiss Charitable Fund
  • Melissa Brown, Shani Oulton, Krista Rose Savitch, Ju Yao, Veruschka Zachtshinsky

(*) number of times donated or received a grant
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Supporters

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testimonials

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="Donald Cottrell, Principal, Westwood Heights Elementary"]
“Dear Cherie,
Westwood Heights Elementary School (WHE) wants to thank the KidSafe Foundation for choosing WHE to be the
recipients of the KidSafe for Kids program during this school year. Westwood Heights Elementary School is a
unique school with unique challenges – and we live by the philosophy that safe and healthy children make for the
best learners. WHE is a true community school, which exceeds ninety-five percent in both free and reduced lunch
and minority rates. Your program fits directly into teaching to the whole child – meeting the social emotional needs
to best educate our learners...... Click here to read more

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="Alicia R. Steiger, Principal Sunrise Park Elementary School"]
“Thank you Sally for all of your support at SPES. It was a smaller than usual group but there was a lot going on in the community. I am sure that you feel the same way that I do — it is always an important topic and if just one more person hears it we may be saving one more kid from danger. You are one amazing lady!”
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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="Foster Parent after receiving KidSafe Sexual Abuse Prevention Training"]
“I want to take a moment to explain what an impact Cherie Benjoseph and her book “My Body is Special and Belongs to ME” had on my family, without breaching the confidentiality of my case. After our training class (on Saturday, 1/28/12) I went home and discussed the book with my kids. They were very engaged and asked a lot of questions about “unsafe touches” as well as actions that made them feel confused and uncomfortable. That night they revealed some additional information to me that was not mentioned before in this case. Five days later (at the most inopportune time I might add) the girls revealed a plethora of incidents that they were exposed to. I believe that without the combination of the book and the “poker face” training and me building a trusting relationship with the girls we may have never gotten to this point. I can go on all day talking about how much we love these kids and the actions we take to protect them, but we were missing an extremely important element that could have very easily gone unnoticed. I cannot express how grateful I am that these kids will never be part of the statistics that don’t speak up. I don’t know how I would have reacted to receiving what they were telling me if I wasn’t told to have a poker face and reassure them about how brave they are and how happy I was that they felt like they could trust me with that information. They started the conversation shy and uncomfortable and at the end they were smiling and looked as if a huge load was taken off their shoulders. They were proud of themselves. And now they tell me every little thing that ever happens :) I don’t think that there was ever a lack of trust. I feel that perhaps it never dawned on the girls that these things that happened to them were wrong and needed to be reported. Whatever the reason, I plan to read this book to every child I ever come in contact with. I have already shared it with family, coworkers and friends (but I told them that they had to buy their own!). Thanks again! ” G
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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="Linda Gaynor, Parent of KidSafe Graduate"]
“KidSafe for Parents came to the preschool Sammie and Frankie attended. I gathered a group of other parents together and hosted a series of sessions in my home for our children. Since it was in my house, I had the opportunity to observe Cherie and her approach to the children. I was beyond impressed with the way she presented her material to the kids AND the information she provided the parents. For the kids, Check First was the safety mantra regarding EVERYTHING. She taught the parents how to play games with our children that reinforced her methods. This helped the kids learn without making them scared. My daughters, now in 6th & 4th grade, STILL check first! I’m eager to see how the program has evolved for older kids because self-safety can’t be overlooked or underestimated. Cherie educated the parents on something very important: Stranger Danger is an outdated misconception. The majority of crimes against children are committed by people who know those children. Children need to be taught how to protect themselves and KidSafe can help make them aware of their surroundings and teach them practical tools to stay safe. Even simple hints can help! We need to be vigilant in empowering our children AND ourselves because while you may pray for nothing bad to ever happen to any of your loved ones, we all must stay as prepared as possible for the unexpected. THAT will give you peace of mind.”
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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="Robyn Salk, Parent of KidSafe Graduate"]
“My children participated in KidSafe and it was an incredible program. My children learned so much important information. My husband and I felt their lecture was life changing. We realize that we can no longer take the safety of our children for granted. Their book Jack Teaches His friends to be KidSafe has been a great resource and has helped our kids to remember and practice the KidSafe rules. The lessons this book teaches are priceless. I would recommend KidSafe and their book to any parent and school concerned about the safety of children.”
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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="Temple Beth Emet Early Childhood Center"]
“For several years, our Pre-K and Day School children have participated in KidSafe, a personal safety program. Through specially designed activities, games, songs, and skill rehearsals, the children have learned how to protect themselves from abduction and exploitation. Through the enthusiastic leadership of Cherie Benjoseph, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., KidSafe empowers children with the information, skills, and support they need to remain safe.”
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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="Jessey Andris, Parent of KidSafe Graduate"]
“I feel that KidSafe Training reinforces the importance of child and teen safety that St. Mark’s Episcopal School already embodies. As a teacher, I want my students to be aware of the possible consequences for what they may see as innocent actions. Their awareness and caution could mean the difference of life and death. KidSafe opens their eyes to the harsh reality of what could happen via the internet if they aren’t careful about the comments and pictures they post.”
Thanks for all you do!

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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="Stephanie Mogul, Parent of KidSafe Graduate"]
“I am so happy that you came to our school! The topics that you covered during the presentation were really informative. The audience was absolutely mesmerized by your presentation. On a personal level, it really made me think about the world we live in today and how important it is to be vigilant with our children’s safety. I have had many presentations throughout my guidance career, but I can honestly say that your presentation was one of the most powerful and profound presentations that I have heard. You provided many great ideas for parents and I think they really learned a lot. I know that you really made a difference at our school .”
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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="Cindy Montalvo, Parent of KidSafe Graduate"]
“All parents, please take the time to log on to KidSafe. This is such important information. I believe that we can easily take for granted our children know and are aware of what to do when situations arise. Unfortunately in our society it is paramount that we teach personal safety to our children that stretches far beyond crossing the street. I am so excited by this as I have been a kid-safe advocate for a few years now….I am so proud of Cherie and Sally and their teams commitment to children….they truly does what they do out of shear passion, commitment and a vision to empower all children… If it helps one child in one potentially dangerous situation it is all worth it. I would like to see this in every Elementary and Middle school in our area and eventually across the nation. Let’s teach our children about the things that are left out of the school books, but every bit as important. PLEASE PASS this SITE to ALL PARENTS YOU KNOW!!!”
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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="Hilary Roman, Parent of KidSafe Graduate"]
“My Son Jake is 6 and participated in the kidsafe program. I was so impressed with the entire program! Cherie and Sally made it fun for the kids to learn about how to deal with a very sensitive subject matter. She did role playing with the kids and even sang songs so they would always remember how to handle uncomfortable situations. My son can be so trusting of people especially those older than him. Jake learned the right questions to ask and how to be completely aware of his surroundings so that he can be smart and safe when I am not with him. Hearing it from a trained professional in a school setting made such an impact on him! In a school setting I want my kids to learn not only academics, but most importantly…about life. This program taught my son how to be safe in the environment in which he lives and it taught me to continue reinforce and practice these important life skills. My daughter Lily will participate in the KidSafe program this year and I can’t wait. Every preschool and elementary school needs a program like this.”
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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="Carl Schreck, Parent of KidSafe Graduate"]
“My Sons had the privilege of being taught personal safety by KidSafe. As a father of two small boys and a former felony prosecutor, I’m keenly aware of the ever-present danger against which parents must constantly be vigilant. Please don’t merely hope and pray that your child will be safe. Your child must be prepared. KidSafe is an excellent program and helped us to introduce personal safety to our children without creating fear. Their book helped us to reiterate concepts and rules of personal safety to them in a way that they can easily grasp and remember. I strongly recommend KidSafe to all schools.”
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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="Debra Altschul, Parent of KidSafe Graduate"]
“I went to an informative, eye-opening workshop last evening the program is called Kidsafe and it is run by two amazing women who are absolutely dedicated to what they are doing and need support for their message. These ladies have designed a personal safety program for children that are phenomenal. It uses language that children understand and empowers them to make good decisions without fear!! Let’s face it, sexual abuse is an extremely uncomfortable topic, however if perpetrated on someone has a lifelong effect. We need to educate our children and give them the skills they need to keep themselves safe and teach them what to do if something like this should ever happen to them. They need to know it is never their fault!! These women have also published a book for kids called “Jack teaches his friends to be KIDSAFE” which I bought last night which is well-written, appropriate for children (especially young children) but useful as a guideline for older ones too) and includes tips in the back of the book for parents. Thank you for your time!”
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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="Linda B. Harris, BS, MS Director ECC Bnai Israel"]
“The KidSafe program is an essential piece of our curriculum. I highly recommend this program to any school that is interested in educating the whole child. Our school has purchased their book – Jack Teaches His Friends To Be KidSafe! For every classroom. I believe this book is a must for all parents and teachers who are concerned about the safety of children. This is the first book I found which teaches early childhood safety skills on a level they can understand and use.”
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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="Karen Hamorsky PTA Sunrise Park Elementary School"]
“The PTA is proud to support the KidSafe program at Sunrise Park. In January, we held a teacher workshop and a parent presentation to educate us on how to talk to our kids about a very scary subject in a non-threatening way and to empower them with lifetime safety skills. Exploitation prevention, Communication skills, Action plans, Buddy system, Safe vs. unsafe touch – These are very powerful and important topics for ALL parents, regardless of your children’s ages Did you know: 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 7 boys are exploited by the age of 18. You may think you already know all about this subject or it won’t happen to you but what if you are wrong? There is so much to learn. Our children’s environment and influences are constantly changing. Predators are getting smarter. No longer is stranger danger the main concern. 90% of the time this action is by someone they know and trust – members of the community, family, teachers, nannies. It can happen anywhere and anyplace. We as parents have a lot to learn and KidSafe is teaching us how to be more pro-active. You assume your child would tell you if something horrible happened, but would they? Do they have a “circle of safety”? Do you play the “what if” game? If you are a school that believes in keeping our children safe – then KidSafe is the program you need.”
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Testimonials

We have written blogs about bullying before – but in light of the recent bullicides in the news we felt the need to write another……

We are extremely saddened by recent events and it had us thinking about – parenting and wonder if we as Parents have to start really examining our own bias and feelings towards other people.

Think about it… what are you modeling for your child? What are you saying? What are you doing to show your child you are an empathetic, caring, compassionate human being? What are you teaching your children today to give them the understanding that actions have consequences? One of the goals of KidSafe is to teach children how to use their inner safety voice…..that little voice inside their heads that allows them to stop before acting… to think about the consequences of their actions, in the hope that they will make safer and smarter choices. It is hard for children to not react right away and to stop and question situations (for that matter it is hard for adults)… but we can teach them…they can learn this skill – but are we the parents modeling using this skill too?

We are heartbroken over the girl with cerebral palsy who was bullied so badly on the bus that her dad had to come on the bus to protect her and his frustrations got the best of him because the children showed no empathy, tolerance or understanding for what they put his little girl through – what happened? He was arrested. This is what it has come to. We wonder what do the parents of the bully’s think about their children’s behavior? Are they proud?

Last week the college student who committed suicide after he was videotaped with another boy and it was posted online – a major case of cyber bullying. We are disgusted, and horrified – and wonder, what is lacking in these children? Where is the compassion for people? Where is the tolerance? What are these children learning at home that makes them think this is okay – have they never been taught to treat people the way they would like to be treated?

Baffled….upset…confused…disturbed and the list of emotions we are feeling goes on …about what is happening to our children. Programs like KidSafe are trying to make a difference by teaching children empathy for others by discussion and role playing real life situation to teach children how to handle safety situations…But at the end of the day our students go home to their parents…so ask yourself right now……What are you doing to help contribute to your child’s attitude about people and the world? What is one thing you can do right now to increase your child’s compassion for others? Please read our recommendations below:

Take the time to sit down with your child and talk to them about bullying/cyber bullying/ respect/empathy, compassion and tolerance – tell your child if you see someone being bullied – try to think how you would feel if it was you – what would you want and need??? Then be that person.

(We taught middle school children recently. They are all aware, confused and frightened of the latest cyber bullying suicides. We asked if they had spoken with their parents about it. One, only one student’s parents had the courage and took the time to talk directly with their child about the issues. Perhaps we need to stop just living under the same roof as our children and start having real conversations.)

KidSafe Suggestions for Continuing the Conversation on this Sensitive Topic

All children need to know and be told regularly that they are loved no matter what. Parents please have this conversation with your kids all the time not just when they are in a moment of crisis or conflict.

Emphasize to your children/teens/young adults that embarrassing and perhaps awful humiliating things do happen in life – and that yes – with the internet it is worse. BUT also remind them that as painful as the moment is, it will pass, the escape of suicide is not the option.

Help build your child’s confidence, increase their social circle, put them into situations in which they can do well and prosper. Show them life outside of the one in which they are living..volunteer for others less fortunate, because at the end of the day you can usually find someone that has it much worse.

Remind your children that you are available and they can come to you with anything – nothing will be too daunting for you as the adult . Explain to them that no matter what there is help and support out there and you will be by their side and on their side through and through.

One teen’s callousness should not have the power to end another’s life. We need to keep this conversation going on both sides of this crisis. We as parents can make a difference. When you finish reading this blog ask yourself, what kind of person do I want my child to be when they grow-up ? We hope it is the answer parents have been given for years – to be better than I was – to do better than I did…well that can only happen if we (the parents) raise ourselves up to be the best we can BE!!

Back to school safety Part 2: My 6th grader wants a Facebook account – what do I do?

Summer is nearing its end…and we are getting our kids ready for back to school – so we asked our mom friends if they had any questions or concerns about their children’s safety…there were so many…but we picked a few of the top concerns to address in this blog – Back to school – keeping your child safe……..

Q: My child will be walking to school this year. He is in 5th grade and I want to give him safety skills but not scare him, what should I tell him?

A: Sit down with your child and talk to him about a plan of action for walking to school. Make sure your child is comfortable with walking to school. We recommend that he use the buddy system and not walk alone. Children walking alone are more vulnerable so we recommend that you set up a group for your child to walk with - other children or perhaps a grown-up that you trust to walk with them. Children are always safer in numbers. Make sure you outline the route for him to go with no shortcuts and to stay on the sidewalk. Do some dry runs with your child before school starts. Discuss “what if?” scenarios while you are walking. What would you do if it started raining while you are walking? What if a neighbor offers you a ride? Discuss all options – letting your child learn safest and smartest choice problem solving. Conclusion is often for a child to Check First by using their cell phone and checking with their responsible grownup. Review what the plan of action is if a car/stranger stops to ask/talk to him. Explain: Adults should not be asking children for help they should be asking adults. He should NEVER even get into a conversation with a person in a car - he should yell “NO!” run and go tell a trusted adult. Explain to him that he does NOT have to be polite to an adult he doesn’t know. His safety always comes first. If anything unusual happens along the way he should always report it to the main office when he arrives at school.

Q: My son is starting Kindergarten and we are leaving the comfort of the preschool where I knew all the parents. What do I do when a kid I don’t know wants to have a play date with my child? I am not comfortable letting my child go to a house where I don’t know the family.

Q: My son is starting Kindergarten and we are leaving the comfort of the preschool where I knew all the parents. What do I do when a kid I don’t know wants to have a play date with my child? I am not comfortable letting my child go to a house where I don’t know the family.

What if you do know the parents? There are still some good questions you can ask

Will you be home the whole time? If not, who will be watching the kids? (gives you the opportunity to be comfortable or not with the answer) Personally, we have turned down play dates because we were not comfortable with a nanny or teenage sibling watching them.

Do you own a gun? Half of Americans have a gun in their home. Even your relatives. Ask if it is locked up secure from the kids. Too many accidental deaths from kids randomly finding a gun.

Do you let the children play in the parent’s bedroom? We suggest parents bedrooms be off limits to play dates. It is often the place where guns are hidden and perhaps other inappropriate items for children. (Pornography, etc.)

Does your child have any allergies? This is need to know information.

At the end of the day, you need to trust your instincts as a parent and communicate with your child. We recommend that you sit down as a family and have a discussion about back to school safety, discuss your child’s concerns and come up with a plan of action that works for your family. For more information, parent tips visit our web site www.kidsafefoundation.org If you have a question email us info@kidsafefoundation.org here is a preview of Q & A for next week:

Q: My daughter’s friends are all on Facebook – she has been away for the summer and unplugged – but when she gets back the issue is going to come up again she is only in 6th grade

Press Inquiries or to Join the Conversation:

Kid Safe Foundation sallyb@kidsafefoundation.org Twitter.com/kidsafemoms Facebook.com @ KidSafeFoundation

Back to School: How to Keep Your Child Safe

When you drop your child at a friend’s house for a play date, do you ever think to ask the parent if there is a gun in the house? Would your child know what to do if they found or were shown a gun? This weekend two stories caught our attention: 7 year old boy accidently shot and killed his 9 year old brother and 9 year old boy accidently shoots and kills 2 year old brother. It can and does happen, but it is preventable. When we read stories like this, we can’t help but fall back on our KidSafe Prevention Education Program. We wonder if these tradgedies could have been stopped by prevention education? In our first lesson, we teach children to find and use what we call their “Inner Safety Voice”. The Inner Safety Voice is that little voice inside their head that asks: Should I do this? Will I get into trouble? How can I get out of it? It looks fun but I could get hurt? Or simply, “Uh Oh”. We all have this voice inside of us (our intuition), but we need to train children to hear and then use their Safety Voice as a stop sign…to stop …think…and make a safer and smarter choice.

Gun Safety, a part of the first KidSafe lesson, provides the children practice using their safety voice in a gun scenario. While showing a picture of a girl and boy playing hide and seek we tell a story: “Joe and Molly are on a play date playing hide and seek at Joe’s House – Joe hides in his parent’s closet (KidSafe recommends parents bedrooms are off limits on play dates). Molly says “I found you” and Joe says, “You will never believe what I found...my dad’s gun! Want to see it?” This is when we discuss with the children: What is your Inner Safety Voice saying? What should you do? What should you say? We then role play this with the kids.

Acting out various safety situations is imperative. It creates muscle memory in children, and it is easier for them to recall the information at a later date because they have practiced (like an athlete). Teaching children to use their Safety Voice helps them to learn that they do not always have to react or respond immediately. So what should Molly say? ”No Joe it’s not safe – let’s get away from the gun.” We continue challenging the kids with questions – What if Joe won’t go or says, “Molly don’t be a baby my dad lets me see it all the time” We tell children to try to have your friend come with you…but if they won’t, you go to get help as fast as you can so you stay safe.

The next question we ask, and you can role play with your child is, “Should you take the gun to the grownup in charge?” The answer is NO! Under no circumstances should you ever touch a gun! You go tell the adult where it is and let the adult take care of it. We (the adults, of course ask….is this tattling or reporting? Find out the difference between tattling and reporting here. It is always reporting when it comes to the safety of us or the safety of others.

Listening to your Safety Voice and gun safety are conversations all parents can and should have with their children – further influencing your children to have a better chance of knowing how to make safer and smarter choices when faced with safety situations. KidSafe does not speak to the issues of the rights for people to bear arms – but we do say that if you have chosen to have a gun in your home than you also need to take the safety measures to protect your own children as well as the other family and friends that visit your home. Some common safety tips: Keep guns locked in a safe. Keep guns and ammunition separate. Have a child safety lock put on the gun itself. It is estimated that guns are in half of all homes in the United States.

Although most of these guns are purchased for safety reasons, it is important to keep in mind that a firearm in the home is much more likely (up to 43 times more likely in some reports) to kill or injure a family member or friend than an intruder.

Before your child’s next play date – you need to read this! Kids & Guns

We have written blogs about bullying before – but in light of the recent bullicides in the news we felt the need to write another……

We are extremely saddened by recent events and it had us thinking about – parenting and wonder if we as Parents have to start really examining our own bias and feelings towards other people.

Think about it… what are you modeling for your child? What are you saying? What are you doing to show your child you are an empathetic, caring, compassionate human being? What are you teaching your children today to give them the understanding that actions have consequences? One of the goals of KidSafe is to teach children how to use their inner safety voice…..that little voice inside their heads that allows them to stop before acting… to think about the consequences of their actions, in the hope that they will make safer and smarter choices. It is hard for children to not react right away and to stop and question situations (for that matter it is hard for adults)… but we can teach them…they can learn this skill – but are we the parents modeling using this skill too?

We are heartbroken over the girl with cerebral palsy who was bullied so badly on the bus that her dad had to come on the bus to protect her and his frustrations got the best of him because the children showed no empathy, tolerance or understanding for what they put his little girl through – what happened? He was arrested. This is what it has come to. We wonder what do the parents of the bully’s think about their children’s behavior? Are they proud?

Last week the college student who committed suicide after he was videotaped with another boy and it was posted online – a major case of cyber bullying. We are disgusted, and horrified – and wonder, what is lacking in these children? Where is the compassion for people? Where is the tolerance? What are these children learning at home that makes them think this is okay – have they never been taught to treat people the way they would like to be treated?

Baffled….upset…confused…disturbed and the list of emotions we are feeling goes on …about what is happening to our children. Programs like KidSafe are trying to make a difference by teaching children empathy for others by discussion and role playing real life situation to teach children how to handle safety situations…But at the end of the day our students go home to their parents…so ask yourself right now……What are you doing to help contribute to your child’s attitude about people and the world? What is one thing you can do right now to increase your child’s compassion for others? Please read our recommendations below:

Take the time to sit down with your child and talk to them about bullying/cyber bullying/ respect/empathy, compassion and tolerance – tell your child if you see someone being bullied – try to think how you would feel if it was you – what would you want and need??? Then be that person.

(We taught middle school children recently. They are all aware, confused and frightened of the latest cyber bullying suicides. We asked if they had spoken with their parents about it. One, only one student’s parents had the courage and took the time to talk directly with their child about the issues. Perhaps we need to stop just living under the same roof as our children and start having real conversations.)

KidSafe Suggestions for Continuing the Conversation on this Sensitive Topic

All children need to know and be told regularly that they are loved no matter what. Parents please have this conversation with your kids all the time not just when they are in a moment of crisis or conflict.

Emphasize to your children/teens/young adults that embarrassing and perhaps awful humiliating things do happen in life – and that yes – with the internet it is worse. BUT also remind them that as painful as the moment is, it will pass, the escape of suicide is not the option.

Help build your child’s confidence, increase their social circle, put them into situations in which they can do well and prosper. Show them life outside of the one in which they are living..volunteer for others less fortunate, because at the end of the day you can usually find someone that has it much worse.

Remind your children that you are available and they can come to you with anything – nothing will be too daunting for you as the adult . Explain to them that no matter what there is help and support out there and you will be by their side and on their side through and through.

One teen’s callousness should not have the power to end another’s life. We need to keep this conversation going on both sides of this crisis. We as parents can make a difference. When you finish reading this blog ask yourself, what kind of person do I want my child to be when they grow-up ? We hope it is the answer parents have been given for years – to be better than I was – to do better than I did…well that can only happen if we (the parents) raise ourselves up to be the best we can BE!!

Bullying it needs to end! Parents what are you teaching your kids?

Reporting vs. Tattling – Does your child know the difference?When it comes to safety – does your child understand the difference between Tattling and Reporting? Do you? If not…you and your child should. It is very important that we teach our children from as young as 3 years old the difference between tattling and reporting.

Tattling is when a child goes to a grown-up and tells something to the grown-up just to get the other person in trouble.

Reporting is when a child goes to a grown-up and tells (reports) anything that has to do with the safety of him/herself or the safety of others. It is our responsibility to teach our children the importance of reporting to a grown-up.

Why? When we just tell children to “stop tattling” without finding out if what they are sharing with you is about safety…we are teaching our children NOT to come to us and tell us important information. We are breaking down the communication between ourselves and our children. One of the most effective ways to keep our children safe is to have great communication – you want our children to come to you with important safety concerns..don’t you?

So what can you do? We can ask our children when they come to us, is this tattling or reporting? Remind them when tattling they are trying to get someone into trouble (and wasting mommy’s time), but if they are reporting a safety concern, we are here to listen - if it’s reporting we say: "great job reporting. I am so glad you came to tell me. You did the right thing by reporting.” By encouraging your children at a young age to come to report to you if they are concerned about their safety or the safety of others you are opening the door to effective communication.

If your children get into the habit of reporting to you at a young age imagine the difference in your relationship as they get into the teenage years? Do you want to be the parent of a child that will call you if they or their friend is too drunk to drive? If you have had effective communication with your child, and they know they can report to you anything about safety and they will not be in trouble, they will come to you…Isn’t that what we all what? But imagine this scenario – you continue to tell your child not to tattle…they stop coming to you, afraid to get into trouble or you will be mad. They are now 16 and their friend is too drunk to drive….what do you think they will do?? Get behind the wheel…probably! The simple step of finding out if your child is tattling or reporting can make the difference in your communication with your child…being there for you child to discuss important safety issues with you without reproach or retaliation can make the difference in your child making safe and smart choices as they grow.

Do you tell your child to

How many of you moms find yourself saying “yes” to things you really don’t want to do…just to please people or to avoid conflict or disappointing someone? Oprah has spoken on this topic many times… how so many women say “yes” at the expense of what is in their best interest. We know this is not a good or healthy way to be..right? So if you the adult can’t seem to say “NO” how can you expect your children to say “NO” when it really matters??? You can’t… and for this reason we want you to take a serious look at this concept…so you can practice what you preach and model for your children how to say “NO” – so they make smart choices and stay safe.

Why are we writing this blog? We want your children to know that they have rights!! The right to say “NO”. Now you might be reading this and thinking to yourself, “My child knows how to say “NO” just fine, he/she says it to me all the time.” :)

But will they say “NO” when it really matters?

Will your child say “NO” to the stranger in the car that asks for help to find their lost puppy?

Will your child say “NO” to their friend that wants to post a mean comment about another girl on Facebook?

Will your child say “NO” to a family member they love and trust that tries to touch them in a way that makes them uncomfortable and confused?

Will your child say “NO” when asked by a friend to try a cigarette, alcohol, or other drugs?

· Will your child say “NO” to a friend that is making an unsafe choice?

· Will your child say “NO” when asked to get into a car with a driver they know has had too much to drink?

These are just some of the important times that our children need to know that they have the right to say “NO”. However, if we constantly model for our children that other people’s wants and needs are more important than our own, or that we want to avoid disappointing or having conflict with someone – then this is what our children will do. Children do what we do…not what we say. Keep this in the forefront of your mind when asked to do something that you don’t want to or are unable to do. Ask yourself - what am I modeling and teaching my children?

So how can you teach and model for your children to help them say “No” when it really matters?

Adult’s that you don’t know should not be asking children for help for any reason, they should be asking other adults for help. You have the right to not only say “NO!” but you don’t have to be polite and you can yell “NO!” Parents, if you are walking and a stranger pulls up to you ask you something and you are with your child use this as a teachable moment. Should you walk towards the car to have a conversation? NO! Model for your children taking 5 steps back away from the car. Explain to your child that as an adult you can choose to talk to this person or not. Say to your child what would be the safest choice if you were walking alone and this same person pulled up and asked you a question. Practice taking 5 steps back and yelling “NO!” and running to their safe adult.

Adults should not post anything negative online either – and role play with your child what to do when someone does post negative comments...do you stand by and say nothing? Practice what you preach.

When your family members want to hug or kiss your child – do you force your child to do it? When we force our children to hug or kiss an adult at the expense of their own feelings we are telling our children the wants and needs of the adult are more important than the wants and needs of the child…don’t do it!!! Talk to your child beforehand - tell them to be polite, say hello but that it is their body and they have the right to choose whether they want to give a hug or kiss – you will empower them (maybe make a premade card/give a high5/knuckle bump). If one of your relatives has a problem with it, talk to them privately and let them know you are teaching your child personal safety and would appreciate their understanding. Please keep in mind that 90% of the time a child is harmed it is by someone they know, love and trust…so to keep your child safe, empowered and assertive we can’t stress this point enough – tell your children their bodies belong to them and they can decide if they want to hug/kiss anyone. (our children’s book – My Body is Special and Belongs To ME! Will be out December 2010)

Communicate with your child and let them know that they can come to you with anything – without fear they will get into trouble. For preteens and teens it is so important that your child know they can always use you as an out. Show them how you can take your time to answer someone (that you do not always have to react immediately). Teach and practice with them some very easy ways to say “NO”.

  • “No, that’s not safe.”
  • “No, let’s go do something else.”
  • “No, I could get into trouble.”
  • “No, I don’t want to. Let’s do something else.”
  • “No, I don’t feel like getting grounded for the next month.” (Let them use you as an excuse.)

At the end of the day we all want the same thing….happy, safe, well adjusted, assertive, empowered children that will thrive in this world. Show them, model for them, practice with them so they can make the safest and smartest choices as they grow.

Does your child know how to say No – Do you? Practice what you preach!

To friend the teacher or not to friend the teacher, that is the question.

The school year is right around the corner and the safety of all children are on the forefront of our mind. We think its time for all parents to think about boundaries between students and their teachers. Teachers are in the position of role model for our children no matter what your children’s ages. In today’s world our children’s teachers are using  technology.  As technology is advancing  the age of our children using technology is getting younger.  Many teachers use technology in the classroom and your children need to be up to speed on the latest and greatest that is out there. Children need to be 13 years of age to be on facebook, yet we all know children as young as 9 have their own pages. Children have a hard time understanding the consequences of their actions and friending ones teacher is just something a kid might do, just like they might friend a relative, an older cousin or their older brother’s friend.  From a child or teens perspective this is someone they see daily, feel connected to, and perhaps the teacher has encouraged the kids to be in touch via facebook to get questions answered or extra help. It all sounds good, right? Wrong. Why?  Facebook is social media, a place where a teacher wears many hats. We are not even talking about impropriety here, we are talking about common sense privacy and professional boundaries. Do all teachers think to themselves before they post a picture or make a  comment - what will my 7th grade students think about this? Is it appropriate for your 6th grader to know t her teacher spent the weekend away with her boyfriend? (Nothing wrong with teacher spending weekend away – but is it necessary for your sixth grader to know how her teacher spends her weekend?) In today’s complicated world it seems more and more teachers are crossing boundaries with students. Not a day goes by that we don’t see a news story about a teacher, coach, or other trusted adult molesting, sexting or other avenues of impropriety with a student through technology. Now if teachers are reading this… keep in mind (we are teachers too) and we believe that most teachers only have the best interests of their students in mind and would never cross an inappropriate boundary. But in this day and age there are many that do and are making unsafe choices and because of that we believe that teachers and students should NOT be friends on any social media web sites. Our children are growing up in the digital age – less is more, faster is better and to catch our child’s attention teachers must be on the cutting edge of technology. But that doesn’t mean that the students understand what is in their own best interest. Many wouldn’t think twice about friending a teacher. It is the teachers that need to put in some thought, and recognize their professional role, and the risks they open themselves up to by friending students. With that said, there are a myriad of options online for today’s teachers to reach out to their students without crossing professional boundaries, or perhaps mistakenly showing favoritism – by only friending certain students, etc. Teachers creating a class website reaching out to the whole class and parents too can be an effective form of communication and have tremendous benefit to our children. Since there is still much to learn regarding Social Networking and professionalism – some School Boards in various states have created policy to address the issue. The solution: Teachers should not be “friends” with their students! They should be mentors, role models and guides for our children. Teachers deserve to have a life. They have every right to post pictures, talk about their lives, whatever they want. But as the role model, mentor and guide – I don’t want my child to see it or be a part of it because when they do…they become a part of it too and that my “friend” is how the boundaries get blurred.

Teachers Should NOT Friend Students on Facebook

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KidSafe Foundation  has been recognized nationally for their children's books,"Jack Teaches His Friends To Be KidSafe" and "My Body is Special and Belongs To ME!" KidSafe Foundation is proud to be  Child Safety Experts on Facebook's - Facebook  Safety Team. to read more about the incredible things  KidSafe  is doing to keep children safe: go to http://www.kidsafefoundation.org/media/kidsafe-press/

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Need to know information for all educators to Recognize, Respond, Report child sexual abuse:

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Child Sexual Abuse Prevention, Bullying, Internet Safety

~KidSafe For Teachers/Counselors Professional Development Seminars aim to empower adults working with children with awareness and skills which can be integrated into their everyday classroom management to best keep children safe. The course will be an hour long with time added for Q and A.

Seminar covers:

How to recognize children at risk for abuse (sexual, physical, and emotional), bullying, neglect, and peer pressure, how to respond to disclosure, the next steps to take, how to reinforce the use of KidSafe Prevention skills at school as well as discussion on how to address any questions if they arise from either parents or children. Attendees will take home concrete skills they can implement immediately upon their return to their classroom.

Expectations after the seminar ( CEU's available):

  • Have raised awareness and sensitivity to issues of child abuse and how it effects their students
  • Begin integrating language of safety into their classrooms
  • Have a clear, defined and professional protocol for how to respond to reporting child abuse or bullying
  • Support children making safer and smarter choices in class and online.
  • Decrease risk of abuse, bullying, peer pressure

KidSafe offers Training to become a "KidSafe Certified Instructor"

~ KidSafe offers Teacher & Counselor workshops and training on how to use their Literary Classic Award Winning Children's Books: "Jack Teaches His Friends To Be KidSafe" & " My Body is Special and Belongs To ME"

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Teacher/Counselor Seminars

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National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) National clearinghouse for information on missing children and prevention of child victimization. Website offers wealth of child protection information. Offers toll-free phone and web response to report sexual exploitation, abuse, or abduction of children. http://www.ncmec.org

CyberTipline is toll-free line to report information about sexual exploitation of children on the web or other child pornography. 1-800-LOST to report sexually exploited, abused, or missing children. http://www.cybertipline.com

S.E.S.A.M.E. is the leading national voice for the prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment of students by teachers and other school staff. Ending the practice of “passing the trash,” a phenomenon where educators investigated for abuse are able to resign and get a new job at a new school, is S.E.S.A.M.E.’s top priority for ending abuse in schools. http://www.sesamenet.org
The Global Army Against Child Abuse Tom’s Secret is a short animation movie for parents and children. The production is the first of its kind in the world ever, that on one hand guides parents how to identify child sexual abuse, and on the other hand encourages children to share. The script of the animation movie (5 minutes long) was written by child sexual abuse experts from the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel. http://www.toms-secret.com/

Mothers of Sexually Abused Children (MOSAC) The MOSAC site is designed specifically for mothers who have experienced the sexual abuse of one of their children. Life is difficult for mothers following the disclosure of a child’s abuse, and they often have few, if any, resources available to them. This site is designed to be a comprehensive source of information about sexual abuse and to offer support and resources. http://www.mosac.net

The Voice Movement VOICE Today is breaking the silence and cycle of child sexual abuse worldwide through Awareness , Prevention, and Healing. Child Sexual Abuse is a silent epidemic. 1 in 4 Girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthday, only 1 in 10 will ever tell and 90% of abuse is by someone they know love and trust! There are an estimated 39,000,000 survivors in the US that need a VOICE! http://www.voicetoday.org/movement/

Jeffery Herman, Esq. Jeffrey M. Herman is a nationally-recognized trial lawyer and advocate for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. He devotes 100% of his practice to representing survivors of sexual abuse, and has had the honor of advocating for hundreds of these brave men, women and children. He is the founding partner of Herman, Mermelstein & Horowitz, P.A., a national, Miami-based law firm with decades of combined experience representing people seeking justice and healing from the wounds of abuse. http://www.HermanLaw.com

Reporting Laws: Instructions http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/manda.cfm

The National Children’s Advocacy Center (NCAC) Non-profit agency providing prevention, intervention, and treatment services to abused children and their families. Was the nation’s first Children’s Advocacy Center. http://www.nationalcac.org

Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA) National volunteer-based organization committed to preventing child abuse through research, education, and advocacy. Resource for comprehensive information and referrals in child abuse prevention. Offers catalog of publications. http://www.preventchildabuse.org[/dt_sc_toggle_framed]
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Positive Pocket This website was started by a student that went through KidSafe’s 8 week program and wanted to share with the world how KidSafe helped her find her voice after being bullied.

Step by Step suggestions should your child be a victim of Cyber Bullying

  1. – When the parent first learns about an on-line incident they feel puts their child at risk, call the local police and make a report. The local jurisdiction is where the incident took place, that is one of the first questions the police will ask, “was the initial incident in my jurisdiction”. Timely notification of law enforcement is crucial for police to investigate and ultimately prosecute the case. Police in the jurisdiction where the incident took place can investigate, gather information by sending legal subpoena requests, and ultimately identify the offender. With Internet cases, often the suspect is in a different jurisdiction than the victim. The local officer will then have to contact another police agency where the suspect is ultimately identified.
  2. – Notify the Internet service where the incident took place, for example Facebook, or in this case Tumblr. All of these Internet providers have a means to file complaints, and most take complaints about inappropriate activity directed toward children seriously.
  3. – Notify the ICAC agency in your area. ICAC offices have investigators who specialize in high-tec investigations. At times these cases are complex and require a high level of training and technical knowledge to investigate. Here is a link to all the ICAC contacts in the U.S. https://www.thecjportal.org/ICAC/Pages/TaskForceContactInfo.aspx
  4. – Each state in the U.S. that has attempted to keep their laws current with today’s technology have information on-line, sometime through the Attorney Generals Office, or other state agencies. Often it takes a “Google” search with a key phrase like “Cyber Bullying” for the state in question, to find the appropriate agency.
  5. – The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) www.missingkids.com has information that is very useful to parents and kids. Here are other links at NCMEC that may be useful:

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National Child Abuse Hotline http://www.childhelp.org/ 1-800-4-A-CHILD

CyberTipline

is toll-free line to report information about sexual exploitation of children on the web or other child pornography. 1-800-LOST to report sexually exploited, abused, or missing children. http://www.cybertipline.com

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)

http://www.ncmec.org National clearinghouse for information on missing children and prevention of child victimization. Website offers wealth of child protection information. Offers toll-free phone and web response to report sexual exploitation, abuse, or abduction of children.

The Center for Family Services SAFE Kids Program:

The SAFE Kids program is the only program in Palm Beach County recognized by the Florida Department of Health Children’s Medical Services as an official Sexual Abuse Treatment Provider (SATP). SAFE Kids specializes in treating victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence, and child witness to domestic violence. In addition, we provide treatment for sexually abused reactive children (SARC), victims of rape / sexual assault, adults molested as children (AMAC), and victims of other types of crimes.
http://www.ctrfam.org/

The Nancy J. Cotterman Center

is Broward County’s Children’s Advocacy Center and Certified Rape Crisis Center. It is the mission of the NJCC to improve and enhance the quality of life for victims of sexual assault and child abuse through effective forensically sensitive interventions, implemented by professionals specializing in the fields of sexual assault and child abuse. NJCC provides a safe, non-threatening environment for victims and supportive family members. Services are intended to assist in matters of public safety and to help individuals and families in their recovery. NJCC provides the following services at no charge to victims, and their non-offending family members.
http://www.broward.org/HUMANSERVICES/COMMUNITYPARTNERSHIPS/NANCYJCOTTERMANCENTER/Pages/Default.aspx

S.E.S.A.M.E., Inc.

is a leading national voice for the prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment of students by teachers and other school staff. http://www.sesamenet.org/
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[dt_sc_toggle_framed title="NEST - National Educators To Stop Trafficking"]
To get human trafficking prevention education in every school and youth organization in the United States that empowers and equips youth with the knowledge and skills to stand up against sex trafficking and ultimately create a culture that supports a world free of gender-based violence. http://nesteducators.org/

Mothers of Sexually Abused Children (MOSAC)

http://www.mosac.net The MOSAC site is designed specifically for mothers who have experienced the sexual abuse of one of their children. Life is difficult for mothers following the disclosure of a child’s abuse, and they often have few, if any, resources available to them. This site is designed to be a comprehensive source of information about sexual abuse and to offer support and resources.

Jeffery Herman, Esq.

http://www.HermanLaw.com Jeffrey M. Herman is a nationally-recognized trial lawyer and advocate for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. He devotes 100% of his practice to representing survivors of sexual abuse, and has had the honor of advocating for hundreds of these brave men, women and children. He is the founding partner of Herman, Mermelstein & Horowitz, P.A., a national, Miami-based law firm with decades of combined experience representing people seeking justice and healing from the wounds of abuse.

The National Children’s Advocacy Center (NCAC)

http://www.nationalcac.org Non-profit agency providing prevention, intervention, and treatment services to abused children and their families. Was the nation’s first Children’s Advocacy Center.

Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA)

http://www.preventchildabuse.org National volunteer-based organization committed to preventing child abuse through research, education, and advocacy. Resource for comprehensive information and referrals in child abuse prevention. Offers catalog of publications.
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http://dreamcatchersforabusedchildren.com/ a 501(c) nonprofit dedicated to preventing child abuse through education and awareness campaigns.

DREAMCATCHERS for Abused Children published Books:

http://dreamcatchersforabusedchildren.com/child-abuse-books/dreamcatchers-books/
http://sesamenet.org/index.html S.E.S.A.M.E. Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation: is working to pass legislation that will increase safety for children in schools by preventing teachers accused of sexual abuse from moving to another school district without his or her new employer being alerted to the allegations of misconduct. Known as “passing the trash,” this happens far too often and it must be stopped.

http://www.Child-Safety-For-Parents.com This site is dedicated to helping parents protect their kids from child molesters and pedophiles, and understand the growing problem of missing kids. Find statistics, facts, tips and advice from experts and parents alike.

http://birdsandbeesandkids.com At birds and bees and kids, parents and other adults will learn how to talk to the kids in their care about sexuality, love, and relationships. Amy Lang MA
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[/dt_sc_full_width][dt_sc_hr_invisible_very_small /]Many times there is a long process involved to reach a successful resolution for these cases.  Tell the people who contact you that keeping a running log: “who, what, when, where,why”.   Many times a parent will have to explain the case to different police officers and it is much easier when they have kept a running log of events, similar to a diary.

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The Founders of KidSafe are Child Safety Experts, Mental Health Professionals, Educators, Professional Public Speakers and provide seminars, training and workshops to parents, teachers, counselors, organizations and anyone working with children.

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Protecting our Children: By Jeffery Herman

Ok, I admit it..I watch the Real Housewives and I am a little embarrassed about it. Those that know me may be surprised…my family (well not my sisters because they watch it too) Friends? (Well not my closest because they too watch) But I am sure colleagues might be surprised. But I do watch it and I had to write this blog after watching “The Real Housewives New York Reunion” last night.

Now I may be a little late in the game for just writing this because I tape the show and don’t know when it was first aired(another slight embarrassment) So, last night as my husband is falling asleep and I am up I start watching. Not 10 minutes into the show I feel my blood pressure rising. My husband picks his head up and says “Oh my g-d they are so mean!” and I realized these women are bullies.

So now the importance of the blog…..I start thinking ….What are these women modeling for their children?

· To speak their mind…yet not to care how another will feel about what their saying!

· To be strong…yet always at the expense of others.

· To stand up for what they believe in…and to talk over people until they see things your way.

· To tell the truth…but be mean-spirited as you tell it..

· To not listen to others because they don’t agree? To me, that speaks Bully, and that is what they are modeling for their children…how to be a bully (and boy are they good at it)

If I had the opportunity to ask each and every one of these women what have they taught their children about how to treat other people. I am sure that they would say they want their children to treat others with respect, dignity, empathy and kindness. But if you watch that is not at all what they are modeling for their children. As I am watching I wonder to myself when they look back on this footage are they embarrassed? Do they wish they did things differently? Do they realize they are the “Mean Girls?”

All I know is that I don’t want my child to be a bully or a bystander – I want him to be the kid that helps his friend who is being bullied. I want my child to treat people the way he wants to be treated – with respect, dignity, empathy and kindness and that is why I try to model that behavior for him. Children do what we do. Not what we say, and I guess at the end of the day that is why I wrote this blog. For us as parents to ask ourselves what kind of children are we raising? Act how you want your child to act – Model good behavior.

Now I know the Real Housewives shows have millions of viewers and I am one of them. Why are we watching? This is something I will have to explore further at another time. If for nothing else. It made a good blog! ps. I promised my business partner that I would share that she has never watched any of these shows.

The Real Housewives or the Real Bullies. You decide!

There is only one person to blame for the senseless death of an innocent 8 year old boy – the predator monster that stole his precious life. As I spent the day angry, outraged at the madness of it all, my heart breaking for his family and community I still can’t help but know – this was an avoidable tragedy, little Liebby didn’t not have to die at the hands of an utterly deranged killer.

Please note I do not blame his parents nor do I blame the camp…. They were doing what they thought in the best interest of the child. But I will ask some questions as we all move on with our lives and continue to parent our own children, what could we learn from this? Perhaps the thought runs through your mind that it could never happen to your child. Let me tell you, it could happen to anyone’s child: city dweller, rural community, suburbia in a gated community, the predators aren’t choosy – they are opportunistic. Let’s teach our children life skills so they do not become easy prey for a predator.

What can we learn from this tragedy? 1. Don’t have blind trust - just because you live in a community where you feel you know everyone doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. 2. If teaching your child a new route to walk (ex, beginning of the school year), take the route numerous times together. While taking this quality time with your child (and yes one might have to sacrifice something else to walk through this process with your child) cover the following topics:
  • Always take the same route
  • Stay on the side walk
  • Point out various safe places to go to – stores, specific people’s homes, along the way – if for any reason the child feels unsafe. (Perhaps severe weather issue.)Please don’t forget to let your friends or neighbors know that they have been designated as a “safe place” for your child to turn to.
  • Teach your child repeatedly that there is absolutely no reason for an adult that you do not know to ask you for help. They should be asking another adult. AND if you are assuming that your child is old enough to walk alone then they are also old enough to understand the words abduction and predator so share with them about the safety issues they could face when taking on this new responsibility. If you are thinking, “I don’t want to scare my child.” Then ask yourself if you and your child are ready for this.
  • Teach your child that if approached by a car or on foot by anyone he should take 5 steps back (making himself less easy to grab – and not to wait around to be engaged in conversation but to yell NO and run and tell a trusted adult what is happening) Note to your child that you have taught them to be polite – but this type of situation they have permission to Yell NO! and get away – which to your child my seem rude, so practice with them actually using a loud assertive voice to say NO!
  • Use the buddy system. It is always safer, even for adults, to travel in numbers.
  • Most importantly – TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS as you ask your child, from your heart, if they feel ready for their new responsibility. Don’t just listen to their words, as they will probably say what they think you want to hear, listen and feel their body language, look into their eyes. Let your child know that is it okay if they are not ready, so they can feel off the hook and not pressured for this new responsibility.
  • Ask yourself, “Am I asking my child to take on increased independence because their older sibling was ready at that particular age?” Please remember there is no specific age for a child to be ready for increased independence. Ask yourself, “What have we taught our children about their personal safety so we feel confident that they can make the safest and smartest choice when given more independence?”  If  you feel your child is not ready, don’t give up, teaching life skills is a process, not a onetime conversation.

3. What would have happened if the camp had a policy stating all campers under a certain age need to be dismissed directly to an adult? Perhaps the parents would have expressed their inability to get to the camp and then back to the doctor’s office in time…. maybe a counselor could have escorted him? (Buddy System)

4. Tell your child even if they know the person to NEVER go with them and ALWAYS stick with the plan arranged by you. As a family come up a code word that your child can ask the person trying to change the plan..if they don’t know the word…you don’t go!

So I am irate and deeply saddened by this senseless death. I do not want this precious innocent boy to have died in vain. I am begging all of you parents out there to think about this boy.  Hug your children as you tuck them in tonight and take an active role in directly teaching your children personal safety.   Don’t assume they know what to do. They don’t!

Don’t let this child die in vain.

When tragedy happens we need to learn from it! – The Liebby abduction & murder!

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How do you know your child’s camp is SAFE?

When we were young our parents sent us off to school and camp with statements such as: “Be a good listener.” “Mind your manners.” “Do what your counselor tells you to do.” “A tough teacher is a good teacher.” I can’t even imagine saying blanket statements like this to my 10 year old today. In fact, almost the opposite is said at our house. We want him to be polite but NEVER at the expense of his safety and just because an adult, like a teacher or counselor, tells him to do something, if it makes him uncomfortable or confused… guess what? He doesn’t have to do it! He has the right to say “NO” and he knows it. Blind obedience versus knowing when and how to be assertive is on my mind as my son tells me this experience he had at camp:

My son is at a new camp. The first two days when changing for swim they changed in a huge bathroom that had stalls. My son (as did the other boys) went into their individual stalls and changed. The third day they were brought to a smaller bathroom (no clue why) and there were no stalls. My son said to the counselor, “I want to change in the stall.” The counselor said “We are in a rush just change here, hurry up.” My son responded, “I don’t want anyone to see me and I don’t want to see anyone else’s privates.” (Now remember he is growing up with one of the founders of KidSafe Foundation and could probably teach the lessons himself at this point.) The counselor raised his voice and told him he had to change. He refused. The counselor got the Director of the camp, who amazingly told my son, “I absolutely respect your right to privacy and you don’t ever have to change in that bathroom again – you can always go to the big bathroom.” Crisis solved. (Well almost – as this was not handled well by the group counselor.)

I can’t even explain to you how proud my husband and I were of him. Thankfully this was just a very minor thing – Just a counselor wanting his camper to hurry up and get dressed for swimming…no big deal right? But what if the counselor or teacher asked a child to do something inappropriate, sexual and unsafe? I want my child, your child, and every child to know they have the right to be SAFE. They have the right to speak up and be assertive if they are uncomfortable…and just because the person telling you to do something is an adult, especially the adult that is in charge at that time, it does not mean a child has to be blindly obedient.

After sharing my story with a few friends (many of their children have been through the KidSafe program), they shared similar stories…especially around the issues of changing for swim and privacy. My friend described that after a few days at camp she finally realized her son’s bathing suit was coming home dry. When she asked him if he was swimming he said that he and a bunch of other boys are not swimming because they didn’t have anywhere to change with privacy. When she called the camp – she understood that the boys were given an option by the counselor – change out with everyone – or don’t swim. They chose to not swim. After speaking to the director – who was embarrassed that the situation was not handled well by his staff, my friend used the experience as a teachable moment. She was so proud that he had spoken up and was assertive – but taught him that the next step is to come to a trusted adult and explain what happened. He has a right to swim and a right to privacy. Wow – it was amazing to have this anecdotal feedback that our lessons stick… the children get it! Some of the parents were surprised by their children’s assertiveness…I was thrilled!

I have to admit that dropping my son off at a camp where neither he nor I knew a soul was difficult for me. I left with a heavy heart, a little anxious….even though I did all the due diligence I needed to feel comfortable with the camp we choose, you still can’t help but wonder…will my child be safe? Parents ask us most often, “When can my child have more independence?” I respond with a question back to them: “What have you taught your child about their personal safety that you feel they will make the safest and smartest choices when faced with new challenges?”

I realized that we have raised our 10 year old to be polite…but assertive. To listen to an adult…but think first how it makes him feel…to speak up if something is uncomfortable.. but to hold his ground if he doesn’t feel safe and to report what happens to a trusted adult. I was proud and realized something important. It is not just what you tell your child, it’s how you ask questions of your child to get them to tell you about their day away from you.

Ask: Open ended questions - Don’t just ask: How was your day? The answer will be: fine.

Ask: Tell me 3 high lights of your day? And 3 low lights. Ask them for the play by play of their day.  Once they get talking you can enjoy the info as well as see how they cope during the day and what areas they might need some practice in.

So as your kids go off to summer activities…and then back to school rethink what you may be teaching them…Does your child know they have the right to say “NO” to anyone that makes them feel uncomfortable? Even an adult? Have you talked with your child about this? Do you just assume your child knows he has these rights? Or have you actually had this discussion? Do you assume your child knows he/she can come to you about anything? Or have you actually had this conversation.  If you have not – it is never too late. Start the conversation and keep it going! (if you want to read about how to do due diligence the KidSafe way - read our blog "How do I know my Child's Camp is SAFE.")

My child has manners but not when it comes to his SAFETY!

Summer is approaching and suddenly your children will be in a new routine. Whether you are sending them to camp, day or overnight there are some very important questions that need to be asked before you send your children out the door.

Do you assume the camp you chose for your kids will be safe? Have you asked the appropriate questions that would give you confidence in the camp? When we asked this question of friends and family sending their kids to camp, most parents with a slight blush and timid smile reported that their main concerns were:

Will my child have friends at the camp Expense of the camp Location of camp Activities their children will be experiencing

Not one parent thought to ask - what is the camp’s risk assessment for safety? What is their safety record? Health precautions? Have the counselors been trained? If so what exactly are they trained in? Have they ever experienced any abuse problems in the past? What safety precautions has the camp put in place so my children will be safe? Wow – it’s an eye opener…so ask yourself now have you EVER asked these questions to a director or even thought about them before?

What would you do if you had prior knowledge that the camp you are sending your child to had numerous accidents, revolving door of counselors through the years and a counselor that had harmed a child  wouldn't you want to know? I think we all can agree that we would want to know and most parents, after having that information would choose to send their child to a different camp….But how do you know the prior safety record of a camp if you don’t ask? You can’t always find all the information you need from Google nor from asking a friend what they think of the camp.

We spend more time trying to find out the safety rating of the car we drive then we do the safety of the camp we are sending our precious children to. So, with that said we have a challenge for you- We want to you to take the safety of your child to a new level by asking the director of the camp the following questions:

Are criminal background checks performed on all your employees?

Is each person checked through the National Sex offender registry? Do you conduct interviews and reference checks on all employees (including teen counselors)? How do you screen for possible sex offenders? During your interview process do you discuss boundaries – appropriate or inappropriate touches? Bullying? Do you offer your employee’s clear policies about sexual misconduct and consequences – are these policies in writing in an employee handbook? What steps are you taking to decrease the risk of sexual abuse at your camp? What steps are you taking to decrease the risk of bullying at camp? What type of training do you offer your staff? Do you offer training to staff to prevent sexual abuse and bullying? Are you licensed by the state? Are you accredited by the ACA? Your children deserve to go to a camp that takes their personal safety as seriously as you do. So please take the time to ask your Camp Director these questions so you can be satisfied and confident that the camp you are sending your child to is doing everything they can to ensure your child's safety. But please don’t stop there….Talk with your children about their personal safety. Talk with them about “what if” scenarios so you can see if they will come up with the safest and smartest choices when away from you. Let your children know they can talk to you about ANYTHING!!! We owe it to our children to send them to a camp we feel confident has done its best to educate and train their staff on prevention education so that your child will have a safe and happy summer. We owe it ourselves to allow our children the freedom to experience new things without us and feel that we have done everything we can to ensure their safety. After all, don't you think your children are worth it?

How do you know your child’s camp is SAFE?

Jeffrey M. Herman is a nationally recognized attorney who devotes 100% of his practice to representing Victims of sexual abuse and exploitation. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors of KidSafe Foundation. Mr. Herman may be reached by email atjherman@hermanlaw.com or www.hermanlaw.com.

Child molesters are looking for ways to get access to your child today. He wants your child and he is out there, right now, looking for opportunities. He is at your kid’s school, Church or Temple, the Boy Scouts, Little League, Big Brothers, and every other place that your child frequents. The child molester is patient and he is persistent. He is clever. He will keep trying until an institution accepts him and gives him access to your child. Then his work begins. He identifies his targets. A child looking for a friend or a father figure. Usually, he is working several victims at the same time. Next, he starts the grooming process. Slowly he gains your child’s trust and even yours. Eventually, he betrays that trust in the most tragic way. He sexually abuses your child. He murders your child’s soul.

As a child advocate representing victims of abuse and a father of four children, I have come to learn the ways of the child molester. I have seen the dark side and it is your worst nightmare. I know this sick underworld is not in some foreign place. It is in our own backyards. I have seen families destroyed and lives lost at the hands of a pedophile. Parents ask me, what can we do?

KNOW THY ENEMY. The enemy knows your child, so you better know him. To understand the child molester, you should know how he thinks. The child molester most dangerous to your child is not the stranger wearing the overcoat in the park. More likely someone you trust, such as the soccer coach, the pastor, or “Uncle Jimmy”.Law enforcement historically taught us “stranger – danger” or “don’t talk to strangers”. Although this may be true in some cases, most child sexual abuse is committed by people that are known and sometimes related to the victim. Parents may place so much emphasis on warning their child to be fearful of strangers, that the child assumes all non-strangers are safe and will go off with them willingly.

All pedophiles are not child molesters and all child molesters are not pedophiles. A pedophile is a person who prefers to have sex with prepubescent children. All pedophiles do not sexually abuse children. Some pedophiles are content with fantasizing about sex with children and will not act out. Others, of course, do act out and are referred to as preferential child molesters. Conversely, some child molesters are not pedophiles at all. A drug crazed psychopath may have sex with anyone in the immediate vicinity (the “opportunistic” child molester). Or a religious freak may engage in sex with children as part of some bizarre religious ceremony (the “ritualistic” child molester). The most common type of child molester and the most difficult to defend against is the preferential child molester - the pedophile who acts out on his sexual desires for children. Typically, he does not believe he is doing anything wrong. He believes he loves children and that children seduce him.He thinks he would never hurt your child. He only wants to love your child. His sexual drive for children is compulsive and he spends most of his waking time looking for and creating opportunities with children. If given the chance, he will sexually abuse your child.

The internet is a haven for pedophiles and has made the problem much worse. A pedophile who in the past was content to only fantasize about children because he thought he was “weird” or different, now can communicate with others of his same mindset.Communication over the internet amongst the pedophile community leads to pedophiles acting out. A pedophile will share stories about his conquests over the internet. Pedophiles not previously disposed to acting out, feel that they are not so different after all and are empowered to act out. Pedophiles will share there grooming techniques and the best places to find vulnerable children on the internet. Pedophiles may even use the internet to establish contact with your child.

SEE THE RED FLAGS.

2A person who prefers to have sex with post-pubescent children is known as a paraphile. In this article, the term pedophile shall include paraphiles. 3 in a deposition of a pedophile who was the friend of the child molester, I asked whether he (the friend) was aware the child molester traveled to Morocco and sexually abused boys. The friend responded “no”. I rephrased the question and asked whether he was aware the child molester traveled to Morocco and was seduced by boys.He responded “yes” and went on to tell me how the young boys came on to his friend which led to the child molester engaging in sex with these 10 year old boys.

Is this adult a pedophile? Of course, every priest, coach, teacher and scout leader is not a pedophile. In fact, most people who work with children are genuinely caring adults who enjoy helping children.On the other hand, some of these people are pedophiles. How do you know? In most cases, you will not know until it is too late.Parents should look for signs before that dreaded outcome becomes a reality. Pedophiles share many common traits and parents can look for these red flags. Many pedophiles are not married and do not have established romantic relationships with adults. (Unfortunately, some men will date or even marry single mothers to get access to her children. Beware.)

Is your child being groomed? Although pedophiles may have their own style of grooming, their techniques often share common characteristics. Watch out for men who give gifts to your child, spend time with your child outside of the activity, invite your child on outings (baseball games, Disney World, etc.), call your child on the telephone, correspond on the internet, say inappropriate things to your child, or in any other way do something to make your child feel special. We all know that our children are special and deserve the special attention, but when it comes from an adult who is not the child’s parent, beware and be cautious.

Are you being groomed? Pedophiles often groom the parents as well as the child. The pedophile wants you to trust him and give him the benefit of the doubt. Be wary of men who give you gifts, offer to help you in your business, or otherwise make you indebted to him while at the same time getting closer to your child. The purpose of grooming the parents is so that if, and when, you question his motives with your child, you will want to look the other way or feel compelled to look the other way so as not to insult your benefactor or lose his assistance. No parent will ever intentionally sell out his child, but some will look the other way when faced with the realities of life.

TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. You do know what’s best for your child. Your instincts are correct. If someone makes you uncomfortable then remove your child from the situation. If an adult makes you suspicious, react before it is too late.

ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION. Too often, parents of victims tell me they were uncomfortable around the pedophile, or something made them suspicious. Too often, it is too late and the parents blame themselves. If they only acted on their instincts, they could have saved their child. Be proactive. The worse that can happen is that you insult an adult who has only good intentions for your child. On the other hand, if you don’t err on the side of caution, you may be handing your child over to a pedophile. It is an easy choice.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR CHILD WAS ABUSED? Many parents incorrectly believe that their child will tell them if they were sexually abused. This is not usually the case. Children do not generally discuss their normal sex life with their parents. Add in the fact that the partner is an adult, probably someone the parents know and trust and it becomes more unlikely that the child will report the abuse. In addition, since the sexual encounter does not take place until the child is groomed and the child “willingly” participates, the child feels that he is to blame. Feelings of guilt and shame are overwhelming. The child often feels that he did something wrong. The pedophile tells the child that he loves him and that they are not doing anything wrong. The pedophile tells your child that they must keep their relationship secret. The physical act may even feel good to the child which creates confusion in the young mind. Finally, the pedophile may make direct or implied threats against the child or his family designed to keep their relationship secret.

If your child was abused you may notice behavioral changes.These include sexual acting out, such as compulsive masturbation, sexual play, inappropriate touching of sexual organs, simulating sex with toys or other objects, and sexual comments that are age inappropriate. Other behavioral changes are sleep disturbances, anger, fear of going to certain places, low self-esteem and depression. Many victims of child sexual abuse develop addictive behaviors as teenagers. The frequency or intensity of these behaviors, as well as the combination of two or more of these behaviors, may be indicative of sexual abuse, particularly acting out sexually. If you notice such behavioral changes in your child, you should investigate further and speak to a psychological professional.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOUR CHILD WAS SEXUALLY ABUSED? Do not ignore what happened to your child. Putting your head in the sand and hoping that your child will forget about the abuse is dangerous. Dealing with the problem head on will help your child cope with the abuse the rest of his life. Untreated, the affects of the abuse may surface during your child’s lifetime. Get your child and yourself into therapy with a professional skilled in the area of child

Protecting our Children: By Jeffery Herman

Boy...will we miss Oprah! We will especially miss Oprah because she became the empowering voice behind the survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Thanks to Oprah the silence surrounding childhood sexual abuse has been broken. When Oprah came forward years ago and shared her story about being sexually abused as a child, it opened the door to others who believed they were alone in their pain and suffering. Oprah became a friend, a confidant, a role model, to millions of people…”Saying this happened to me…I survived..You can too!”

As Mental Health professional, we know that sharing your personal story is the beginning of the healing process. Oprah, through her sharing, inspired women, men, professional athletes, politicians, Actors, Actresses and musicians to share their stories. As heartbreaking as it is to hear these stories it has helped countless others and has made talking about childhood sexual abuse less taboo.

It seems every day (and maybe it’s just us because keeping children safe from abuse is our life’s work) there is story upon story about yet another child being harmed. It is time for lawmakers, politicians, and the president to realize that every child deserves the right to be safe and to learn the skills to help PREVENT child abuse. We need Prevention Education MANDATED in elementary schools across the nation.

Why? Because as the statistics show 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 6 boys will be sexually exploited before their 18th birthday. Every 10 seconds a child is abused. Those numbers are only the children who REPORT and most do not TELL. This is an epidemic and we need to treat it as one by helping all children learn how to keep themselves safe and educate adults on signs, symptoms and appropriate boundaries. Adults need to know what to do if a child comes to them and discloses – which is especially hard when it is someone in the family, as 68% of the time a child is harmed by a family member and 90% of the time it is by someone they know! Adults need to realize with those statistics how hard it is for a child to disclose and how rare it is for a child to lie about abuse…..BELIEVE THEM!!! Your response to their disclosure can make a child feel Powerful or Powerless!

How can we help more children? Continue to break the cycle of silence that prevails around sexual abuse and in doing so, hope others will have the courage to come forward. Make it the norm in your homes, in preschools, elementary schools, house of worship, and among your neighbors to talk with children about the rights they have to keep their bodies safe. Tell children directly that their bodies are special, their bodies belong to them, and touches can be safe or unsafe. Teach children to not keep secrets that make them uncomfortable or confused, and read empowering books with children regarding the rights they have over their bodies. All children would then be receiving the same message: “ There is no topic we cannot discuss – even about sexual abuse.”  When you give children this message,they gain an understanding of the rights they have over their bodies, how to keep themselves safe, and our children become EMPOWERED!! To do this we need to provide all children and adults with Prevention Education.

Our Gut Instinct - always trust your intuition – it is rarely wrong! Think to yourself ‘ what would I want someone to do to protect my child?’ Would you want someone to turn a blind eye or would you want them to protect your child? If you suspect a child is being abused, CALL the authorities…. If you’re not sure what number – call 911 – or your local child abuse hot line. We know from experience that this is not an easy thing to do, fear of the backlash, having self-doubt that your reporting will be helpful or more hurtful to the children, BUT…. We must always err on the side of protecting the child.

Educating ourselves on these issues as parents and even just as good citizens is important. It takes a village to keep children safe. Oprah may be leaving, but the effects of her disclosure and years of talking about child sexual abuse can still have powerful effects of keeping children safe if we all work together. Our book My Body is Special and Belongs to Me! Addresses the issues of Safe and Unsafe touch Secrets, Private Parts, Boundaries and how to get help in a developmentally appropriate, fun and natural way for children to understand. We also included an extensive parent section that can help you in your efforts to educate your children and keep them safe.

All Proceeds from our books go directly to our 501(c) 3 nonprofit to bring prevention education to all families.

Oprah Broke the Silence…Let’s NOT end it!

The stats say 1 in 5 children are bullied BUT there is always the issue of the many cases of bullying that go unreported. The fact is MOST children remain silent…and those children who are suffering in silence are now committing suicide in record numbers that there is a new name for a child that commits suicide from bullying, “BULLICIED.”

This breaks my heart to the core. To think of how many children are suffering in silence and feel they can no longer go on living. Please just stop for a minute and reread that sentence. Are we becoming desensitized to hearing these stories that we as parents are just glossing over the problem?

This is an epidemic of epic proportions…very similar to child abuse. These children are all suffering in silence, feeling very similar emotions: fear, shame, embarrassment, confusion, humiliation" but most importantly they are not telling us…the parents… whose first responsibility when bringing a child into this world is to PROTECT them from harm. How can we protect them if they don’t tell?

What can we, as parents, do? Talk with your children and actively listen to them on a daily basis" not a onetime conversation. Be alert to changes in behavior, mood, and grades. Don’t assume your children know you are there for them... TELL your children on a regular basis that you are available to talk/listen about anything (and list some tough issues including bullying). Say to them directly " Even if I seem busy when it comes to your safety or problems “I will STOP what I am doing to talk with you and to help, and we will deal with it together.”

This simple phrase “I am here for you and you are important to me,” can make all the difference to a child who is suffering. Work with us to help keep KidSafe!!!

Bullying: Silent and Deadly!!!!

For Immediate Release Contact:  Sally Berenzweig  Phone 561-715-1077; sallyb@kidsafefoundation.org The KidSafe Foundation Awarded $2,000 Grant from The Rebecca Walter Dunn Fund of The Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. Money Will Fund Distribution of Foundation’s Personal Safety Skills Book, “My Body is Special and Belongs to Me!” to Elementary Guidance Counselors of the School District of Palm Beach County

The KidSafe Foundation, a Florida nonprofit working to bring Prevention Education to both children and adults, announces a $2,000 grant from The Rebecca Walter Dunn Fund of the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties awarded on Friday, April 8th 2011.  This grant will provide 108 Palm Beach County Elementary School Guidance Counselors with four copies each of the Foundation’s newly published book, “My Body is Special and Belongs to Me!” 

Book authors and KidSafe Foundation Founders Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW will present the Guidance Counselors with their books at the Elementary Guidance Training coordinated with Student Intervention Services of the Department of Safe                                                Schools on Friday, May 6th, 2011.

               “This grant has the potential to save a child’s life and teach all children safety skills they can use throughout their lives.” stated Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW and Cofounder of KidSafe.  The KidSafe Foundation is honored to be receiving this impactful grant.  As a result, nearly 79,000 students, their families, teachers and counselors, will be receiving the message – you are important, your bodies are important and you have the right to keep your bodies safe.”said Jon Salk, Chairman of the Board, KidSafe Foundation. “KidSafe Foundation has been an approved character education/prevention partner with the School District of Palm Beach County for six years. We are very excited to be the recipients of these books,” stated Susan Knight, Character Education Coordinator for the School District. 

 “Child abuse is a serious issue that crosses all classes of society, and, in approximately 88 per cent of cases, the offender is known to the victim. Keeping kids safe is a community responsibility. We believe it's very important that the Community Foundation help connect our community’s child safety organizations with donors and local philanthropists who are willing to support this cause as a priority.” said Leslie Lilly, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. 

 ### About the KidSafe Foundation

The KidSafe Foundation is a 501(c)3 Nonprofit dedicated to providing Prevention Education to children, parents, teachers and guidance counselors to decrease abuse, bullying, abduction and online safety issues. Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA and Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW the Cofounders of KidSafe, Child Safety Experts, Authors and most importantly two moms on a mission to keep children safe. They have taught over 18,000 children throughout South Florida and have brought their workshops and seminars to thousands of adults. To learn more about KidSafe Foundation please visit their web site www.kidsafefoundation.org

 About the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties

The Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties has been creating lasting value for our communities for more than 35 years. The Foundation accepts contributions from individuals, families, businesses, corporations and other foundations in support of community initiatives, special projects and permanent endowment. Income from endowment is used to make grants and award scholarships primarily in Palm Beach and Martin counties. Since 1972, The Community Foundation has granted over $5.2 million in scholarships to over 1,300 students and $84 million to the community in the areas of Arts and Culture, Community Initiatives, Community/Economic Development, Education, Environment, Health and Human Services, Health and Human Services and Intergenerational Programs. Nonprofit organizations throughout Palm Beach and Martin counties help us to fulfill our mission and, together, we can make our region a better place to live.  To learn more, please visit www.yourcommunityfoundation.org or our You Tube Channel at www.youtube.com/palmbeachmartincf.

KidSafe Foundation Awarded Grant

We are working with Vanessa Van Petten from  www.RadicalParenting.com  to get insight into a teen's point of view on parenting. Our question was: Did your parents ever talk to you about body boundaries? How has that affected how you keep your body safe:

Below read this insightful and honest answer from an incredible teen – this is a must read for EVERY parent
Setting Boundaries: No Means No

Hope is a teen writer for Radical Parenting.com, a parenting website written from the kid's perspective with 82 teen interns! Hope is 15 years old from Stratford, NJ. She loves reading, writing, socializing with friends and her favorite subject is English because she wants to be a writer/editor.

         Growing up, my parents and I talked about everything. I consider myself lucky to have this type of relationship with them. They passed down several rules to me that I will always live by. I couldn’t get tattoos. I couldn’t get several piercings. As I grew older, my parents wouldn’t let me wear short skirts or revealing clothing. They also advised me to stay pure until marriage and taught me that no means no. Honestly, I feel that these principles are very practical and help me strengthen my self-respect.   My parents started helping me set body related boundaries for as long as I can remember. Talks about issues like this became more and more frequent into my teenage years. I even found myself initiating those conversations most of the time. Body related issues come up so frequently in life, in magazines, and on TV. They’re so hard to ignore because these issues need to be addressed. More often than not, I hear girls at school crying because they let a guy take advantage of them. As cruel as this may sound, whose fault is that? No means no if you are willing to say it. I don’t see a reason to allow people to walk all over you. Sure, there is pressure. You just have to set limits and deal with it. My parents used to always tell me to respect my body and take care of it because I only get one in life. This is a great rule to live by. I strongly advise all parents to talk to their children about setting boundaries regarding their body frequently. Lack of self-respect and a low self-esteem can drive people to do risqué things. Teenage years can be so tough and confusing. Because I have respect for my body, however, I don’t have to date guys who only want me for my body, just to make myself feel attractive. Many people I know do not have that mindset and I feel so bad for them. They let others take advantage of them physically because they think that is what relationships are all about. These issues are not always this serious, though. Sometimes, in school, my friends get a little too touchy-feely with me to the point where I feel uncomfortable, so I tell them to stop. Not helping your child set body related boundaries results in him or her, most likely, getting stepped on in the future. Why wouldn’t you do all that you can to make sure that your child respects themselves and makes good decisions. I respect my body, I love who I am, and, with the help of my parents, I set firm body boundaries. Vanessa Van Petten  Author: "You're Grounded!" http://RadicalParenting.com Twitter: @vvanpetten

A Teen’s Point of View: A must read for every parent

Your 5th grader arrives home from school and tells you that John (and you get a nervous feeling in your belly because John is the boy who picks on her and is known as the class ‘Bully’) took a picture of her with his phone and said he is going to take her clothes off in the picture then post it on Facebook.

 You are horrified… this creep is tormenting your daughter (and you’re thinking… is he really capable of doing that?) you keep a poker face so the dialogue with your daughter can continue. Your daughter asks you if he is really able to do that. In the moment – you aren’t really even sure – but the real issues at hand is the threat and the potential fallout from this type of cyber bullying behavior. With a little googling  you discover that with today’s technology the answer is YES, this little #$%@** can change the picture anyway he wants to and do with it what he likes and if that means posting on Facebook then he can.

Our question is - What is this 11 year old doing on Facebook? This is one of the reasons why there is a recommended age for users of Facebook.  Children that young are not as capable of seeing and understanding consequences to their actions. These young children are unable to utilize social networking safely and are often unsupervised in the process – opening up potentially awful results for kids like the ones described above – victim and perpetrator.

Your child, (who does not have a Facebook account), says she doesn’t want you to take it to the School Administration, for fear of increased retaliation from John. (What will happen to this world if we don’t stand up to protect ourselves and our loved ones? Unfortunately this child’s reaction is an all too accurate description of why children don’t report bullying in the first place – fear of increased retaliation).

So how does a parent handle this? How can we protect and teach our children safe practices in this digital age? And the main question we want to tackle today – Why is a 5th grader, age 11, on Facebook in the first place?  How are we as parents feeding into a system that is not safe or in the best interest of our children?

Many parents we have spoken with have said, “I let my 9 year old on Facebook because I don’t want my child being “left out” socially. All of their friends are on it.” Is having your child keep up socially worth the safety issues that can ensue from being on social networking sites when they are not mature enough to understand the ramifications?

If all of these parents would speak to each other instead of conforming to adult peer pressure, many would discover that other parents are like minded and do NOT want their kids on Facebook just yet either. Maybe the parents could all agree – let’s wait till, say, 8th grade – when they are better able to make safe decisions, use it for what it is intended, and we as parents will have had more time to set proper guide lines with them.

When we allow underage kids onto sites such as Facebook – we are setting them loose on line to exposure to real life threats, child predators, inappropriate content and increased vulnerability to being involved in cyber bullying. We are basically setting our children up for unsafe situations.

The other point is by allowing our children to lie to open up a Facebook account – what message are we sending them? It’s okay to lie? Well about some things it’s okay to lie? According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project – 38% of 12 year olds in the US were using social networks in 2009. What message are we sending our children if we are directly supporting them lying in this situation? Where will it lead? Perhaps it seems benign, right now – but the next step…just around the corner could be them lying about underage drinking.

So back to our story, where does John, the “bully” from our story fall into this issue? He has a Facebook account, is underage, and is making verbal threats to others.  Do you think his parents know about his account? Should they be notified of his behavior? Should this be parent to parent or should the school get involved? We want to hear your thoughts as the reader – what would you do? Is your underage child using Facebook? What guidelines, if any have you set?

If you have an underage child on Facebook – and this pertains to all ages of our kids on Facebook – We at KidSafe Foundation, strongly recommend that as part of the privilege and responsibility for using the site is that you be “friends” with your child.  This gives you an open door into what he/she posts, language used by them and others, unfamiliar friends, how much personal info they are sharing and choices they make. Parents need to set guidelines and boundaries with their children and let them know that your privilege for having a Facebook account comes only with complete and open access by you the parent. That to have this privilege you will be having ongoing discussion about “friends” on Facebook, posts and anything else you the parent feels necessary to discuss.  This is one way to help keep your child safe on line.

Reasons young children should not use Facebook

Join KidSafe Foundation at the Bank Atlantic Center for Florida Panthers VS. New York Islanders: March 19th @ 7:00PM - Tickets for lower bowl $31.00/Parking included A portion of the proceeds going to KidSafe Foundation. See Flyer below - all tickets must be purchased by 

PHONE 954.835.7231 FAX 954.835.7200 EMAIL AyluardoM@sselive.com 

Florida Panthers are Keeping KidSafe

As parents, our single goal in raising children is to deliver them into adulthood happy, healthy, and thriving. We want to think that our children will bounce through the years of their childhood and adolescence unscathed from harm and hurt.

But the numbers tell us something different: 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. Over 90% of these children will know their abuser, often times someone they love and trust. The abuser can also be a peer or playmate, this is not exclusive to adults.

These numbers are alarming, but I don’t believe in parenting from a place of fear. Parents need effective, appropriate methods to teach their sons and daughters about how to protect themselves, talk to safe adults, and use their voice when instinct tells them something is wrong.   When it comes to sexual abuse, silence is never the option.

Speaking to your kids and teaching them to speak up is the single best way to keeping our kids safe and empowered.

When Sally and Cherie, authors of “My Body is Special” contacted me:  about reviewing their book, I was going through some Mommy Drama about taking my just-turned five year old girl to her first drop off birthday party at a classmate’s house. There was going to be a bounce house, and the children were invited to be dropped off for a few hours a birthday party fun. We have known the family for about a year or so through school, but we aren’t close with them and when I sat down and thought about it, we don’t really know them. I liked them, but I didn’t know them. There would be older siblings and extended family of the birthday girl at her party, none of whom I knew. I began to worry, so I decided to talk with Amelia a few days before the party to see if she was ready for this. We have taught her from the age of two about her body, her body parts, and personal safety. Time to see if it was paying off.

I started asking about who she thought would be at the party, if there would be people she didn’t know at the party, and how we use good manners. Then I asked who she would ask for help if she needed assistance in the potty, setting up some ideas of who were the Safe Adults at the party…and she launched into what we call her Vagina Monologues….a forceful recitation (with one hand on hip, the other in the air as her dark little head bobs side to side) as she states her list of who can and cannot touch her privates, she doesn’t touch or look at other people’s privates, and grown ups don’t tell kids secrets or ask for directions. “And if someone touches my boobie spots, I will call the newspaper to report them,” she told me. Okay then. Little mamacita was ready.  We cannot shelter our children, but we can empower them. Parents need to be having these conversations. Parents need to be teaching their children what Safe and Unsafe Touches are, what their Safety Voice is, that the child is in charge of their body, and to speak to a Safe Adult when something doesn’t feel right.

   “My Body is Special” is such a great tool – for parents and kids. The book is something I will now use with both of my kiddos as I teach them about safety, listening to their tummy voices (instincts), and speaking up when they don’t feel right. I actually recommend that you read the book backwards — start with the Parent Guide, and work through any issues or hangups you may have. (For example, we need to be able to say penis, vagina, breasts, and buttocks just as easily as we say “elbow”. Let’s go the whole nine yards and throw in testicles and vulva.) Then read through the illustrated story with your children, having age appropriate discussions. Once you do it, I promise, it isn’t that tough and it comes as easily as “Look both ways before you cross the street”. We say that to our kids all the time. But come to think of it, how many kids are hit by cars each year? Remember the stats above, 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys will be sexually abused before they become a legal adult. 1 in 3, 1 in 5. Start talking to your kids.

I really recommend you get this book to use with your family, and on a quiet evening or weekend, work through the KidSafe Foundation website, there is so much good info in there I don’t even think I can link it all.  Melissa Wardy is the founder of  Mom-created apparel company Pigtail Pals – Redefine Girly   Pigtail Pals Mission:  is empowering girls and educating parents to "Redefine Girly". Our blog discusses media literacy, sexualization, gender stereotypes, and body image. Our shops offers inspiring apparel and gifts for girls. We show the world just how smart, daring and adventurous girls can be.  IT IS TIME TO REDEFINE GIRLY!

  Thank you Melissa for your amazing review!!!

Keeping your Kid SAFE & EMPOWERED By Melissa Wardy

This is a letter we received from a mom that has heard us speak. She was moved to share an incident with us and said we can share it with all of you. How do I know that my son’s tennis coach is safe? My 7 year old son has been going to private tennis lessons for about 6 months now.  I was given the coach’s name from an acquaintance. (I didn’t get any other references nor check to see if he has an affiliation with a Tennis Association). As you will come to see this was my first mistake. The lesson is held at the tennis courts of a city park in an upper, middle class neighborhood.  For the last 2 months, I’ve had to drop my son off at the lesson and leave to take my daughter to speech therapy.  It certainly wasn’t my first choice, but I felt pretty comfortable with the coach and my son really enjoys the lesson.   As I was driving away from the park on Monday, I looked out my rear view mirror, and watched my son walk onto the court with the coach.  I suddenly had this sinking feeling in my stomach and literally felt sick.  I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what I felt so anxious and worried about, but the feeling would not go away. (But I swallowed it and kept on driving.) That would be my next mistake.  My Mom always picks my son up from tennis and brings him home for me.  When I got home, I decided I would ask him some questions about tennis.  I remembered (from what I learned in your KidSafe Parent Seminar) that it was important to keep a “poker face” when questioning him.  Here’s how our dialogue went: Me:  “Ben, did you stay on the court the whole time during your tennis lesson today?” Ben:  “No Mom, we went into Coach’s office too.” Me:   “What did you do in Coach’s office?” Ben:  “I can’t tell you, Coach said it’s a secret.” At this point my heart is in my stomach but I am the picture of calm on the outside. As you explained in the seminar- for our kids to continue to talk and tell us what happened we can’t overreact or they will shut down.  I explained to Ben that we don’t have secrets and told him that he won’t be in trouble with me or coach for reporting the secret.  Ben told me the coach had given him candy and told him not to tell, that it was their secret.   (Keeping my poker face, although I thought I might pass out, I processed with him the importance of not keeping secrets.)  I also reviewed with Ben, no one should ever ask you to keep a secret from us….and decided to also go over, “safe vs. unsafe touch” and that no one should ever touch or look at your private parts and you should not touch or look at anyone’s private parts! Feeling relief that my son didn’t disclose any type of inappropriate touching, I still had this nagging feeling that something wasn’t right.   I felt guilty that I left him in an unsupervised situation, that I knew better, and possibly put him in a dangerous situation.  All this being said, I am a very educated parent and have been to two KidSafe Family Events in which I learned that I should:  “trust my instincts”, have talks with my children about not keeping secrets, talk to my children about their bodies… yet, even with all of the knowledge I have gained, I still didn’t make the safest and smartest choice for my child.  So, what do I do next? 1)     I have to get the coach’s full name and mailing address.  I want to see if he is a registered sex offender.  2)    I had to find out if he was even certified or had the appropriate credentials to be teaching tennis to children.  (Something I should have done before signing my son up for lessons – instead of just relying on a referral). 3)    With an assertive voice, let the coach know that I am teaching personal safety to my children and am working with Ben on his “safety rules”.  Make the coach aware that I know that he gave my child candy without asking me first and that I don’t approve. That he should not be asking children to keep secrets and also let the coach know that there is no reason for Ben (or any child) to accompany him to his office. Tennis lesson time should be on the court in the open.  4)    I will also contact the supervisor and let him know what happened. 5)    And most importantly, Ben will never be left alone at an activity without appropriate adult supervision…..I will always trust MY INSTINCTS! This scenario may have turned out much differently if I hadn’t acknowledged my gut feeling and followed some fundamental personal safety rules.   This man may be completely harmless or (as my gut is indicating) he’s more likely “grooming” my son so he can later take advantage of him in ways that my heart won’t even let me consider.  A mother’s instinct is usually right and I’m glad I addressed this situation before it was too late. I sent this “letter” to Sally & Cherie the Cofounders of an incredible 501(c)3 nonprofit foundation that provides  prevention education to children, parent, and teachers.  Sally and Cherie are all about what they call “teachable moments” – and love to share stories in which they can reach out and really make a difference in the way parents think and respond when it comes to their children’s safety.  I should have listened to my instincts and I am allowing them to share this information with you so that you won’t make the same mistakes I did. If and when you get that gut feeling you will turn around immediately and return to your child – no matter what else you need to do. PLEASE…listen to your instincts, be your children’s first line of defense in their own safety – they really need us to be. They are innocent, they are vulnerable and I think we can all agree that nothing is more important than keeping our children safe. My head is out of the sand. I hope after reading this yours is too. I am now going to promote KidSafe Foundation as much as I can….Every child deserves to learn the skills to keep themselves safe and every parent needs to go to one of their parent seminars so they can learn about the dangers and how they can keep their children safe.  Thanks for listening to my story. If sharing it helps one child to be safe….well what more could I ask for?

Moms please listen to your instincts…this is my story:

Tania Rogers News Anchor from WPTV- NBC, Whole Foods Boca, and Kennesaw Orange Juice helping KidSafe Foundation Make a Difference!
Lately, we at KidSafe have been blessed by companies and people helping us spread the word about what we are doing to keep children safe either by promotion or by giving back.
Today at Whole Foods in Boca Raton,Florida,Sally Berenzweig & Cherie Benjoseph Cofounders of KidSafe Foundation along with Kristin Bagonis, Marketing Team Leader from Whole Foods, were interviewed by Tania Rogers from WPTV - NBC for her segment: People who make a difference in their communities!
KidSafe Foundation is Whole Foods Boca – Donate Your Dime Recipient from January to April 10th and already the dimes have added up to $1,579.70!
Kennesaw Orange Juice was also featured as Whole Foods carries their products and Kennesaw has put KidSafe on the back of 200,000 OJ bottles.Sally & Cherie from KidSafe Foundation are on a mission to keep children safe and thanks to Tania Rogers from WPTV/NBC, Whole Foods in Boca and Kennesaw Orange Juice they are getting help to make a difference. WPTV-NBC, Friday, February 18th during the 5:00PM news to watch their segment.

whole foods with Tania Rogers                                     whole foods total                       good oj picture

Working together to make a difference!

Twins on oprahOprah this week had on yet another powerful hour of the complexities of sexual abuse. She spoke with twin sisters who since age 5 had been sexually abused by not only their father but by their older brothers as well. This type of familial sexual abuse is a horrific example of the complexities of the cycle of sexual abuse, and the silent suffering that goes on behind closed doors – perhaps at our neighbor’s home. As Oprah brings these personal stories to light she is trying to break the cycle of silence that often prevails around issues of abuse of children.... we share in her mission.
How We Break The Silence: 1. By speaking about their tragic abuse these now 20 year old twins are breaking the cycle of silence that prevail around sexual abuse and in doing so, hoping others will have the courage to come forward.
2. Oprah asked questions of the twins – almost knowing their answers would be hard for us as non-abuse victims to understand – sexual abuse is not about sex – it is about head bending games. It is psychologically destructive – warping a child’s sense of the world, relationships, “normalcy”, and as Oprah so eloquently put.. "killing the person they could have been."
3. Oprah made numerous efforts to point out how these then children sought and retreated from disclosing their abuse on numerous occasions. BUT noted that there were other adults in these girl’s lives that intuitively new something was wrong in that home – surely not thinking the horrors that were occurring – but that gut feeling was speaking to them – so what do we do when we have that gut feeling?
                From our KidSafe point of view this episode was exceedingly powerful. It touched on so many points that we feel compelled to continue this conversation with YOU, the reader.
First we need to break the cycle of silence. If it is common in your homes, in preschools, elementary schools, house of worship, and among your neighbors to talk with our children about the rights they have to keep their bodies safe, their bodies are special, their body belongs to them, touches can be safe or unsafe, not to keep secrets that make you uncomfortable or confused, and we read books with our children regarding the rights they have over their bodies. Then all children are getting the same message - that this is not a subject that is taboo to talk about. Children can gain an understanding of the rights they have over their bodies, and how to keep themselves safe.
Sexual abuse is damaging to a child on so many levels – for these twins the abuse started at age 5 – they were slowly groomed (introduced) into it. These innocent 5 year olds