Santa Cruz, CA: Kidpower, an internationally-recognized non-profit organization, has achieved major milestone in its history: 30 years of service and the training of nearly six million children, adults, educators and peace officers on proven methods to take charge of their safety and how to deal with sexual abuse, bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, domestic violence, and more.
Since 1989, Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International has worked with individuals, families and organizations around the world. Their ongoing mission is to provide effective and empowering child protection, positive communication, advocacy, personal safety, and self-defense skills – for all ages, abilities, cultures, beliefs, genders, and identities, locally and around the world.
Unusual for this type of organization is that they do not use fear as a teaching tool, but rather focus in building confidence and skills that promote safety and fun. “More than ever, in today’s challenging times, we need to empower people of all ages to know how to protect themselves physically, emotionally and mentally,” explains Executive Director and Founder Irene van der Zande. “Not only does Kidpower teach safety skills, but we also teach self-esteem, compassion, and essential skills to navigate life.”
Van der Zande was inspired to found Kidpower after a frightening incident in 1985. As she was leading a group of small children on a field trip, a man charged towards them and threatened to take one of the children. Shouting, putting herself between him and the children, and with the help of bystanders, she forced the attacker to leave. She used her experience as a community organizer, author, and child development expert to bring together other experts in martial arts, education, mental health, child safety, and law enforcement to work on the issue, giving birth to Kidpower in 1989.
In 2018 alone, this well-respected organization had over 60,000 monthly visitors to their website to access a host of free resources; accomplished an Amazon best-seller status with the powerful new book, Doing Right by Our Kids: Protecting Child Safety at All Levels; and held hands-on workshops that served over 24,000 people in California and over 12,000 across over 40 other locations in the US and around the world, including the World Health Organization (WHO) conference and the Jordan River Foundation, founded by the Queen of Jordan. Companies, individuals and non-profits donated over $2.2 million to support Kidpower’s good work.
Photos available upon request.