Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International® (shortened to Kidpower®) is a global nonprofit leader dedicated to providing effective and empowering child protection, positive communication, and personal safety skills for all ages and abilities. Since 1989, Kidpower has protected over 4 million children, teens, and adults, including those with special needs, from bullying, violence, and abuse through awareness, action, and skills from our educational resources and in-person workshops. Our vision is to work together to create cultures of caring, respect, and safety for everyone, everywhere. Experts highly recommend the Kidpower method for being positive, practical, and relevant for children, teenagers, and adults from many different cultures.
The “People Safety” skills taught by Kidpower prepare individuals to be emotionally and physically safe with others and with themselves. Our society promotes the importance of Fire Safety skills, for example, not only to avoid getting hurt by fire, but also to be able to enjoy the use of fire for cooking, for warmth, and for fun. This is why we call this set of skills “Fire Safety” rather than just “Burning Prevention.”
People Safety skills include: boundaries to build better relationships; safety plans to prepare for the unexpected; advocacy skills to speak up for the well-being of oneself and others; self-protection strategies to prevent most trouble before it starts; and self-defense skills to stop emergencies. These skills can prevent most exploitation, bullying, harassment, molestation, assault, and abduction. Even though the issues can be serious, the Kidpower approach is empowering, dynamic, and fun.
Kidpower offers on-line educational materials, publications, curriculum development, and workshops that incorporate our very positive and effective method of teaching People Safety skills. Our teaching method includes:
- Explanation of important concepts through examples that are meaningful and age-appropriate for our participants
- Activities designed to give each student the opportunity for successful practice of each skill presented
- Addressing of beliefs, feelings, and habits that can get in the way of using the skills effectively
- Adaptation to be relevant to the life-situations, cultures, and abilities of different individuals
We provide a wealth of free information through our website at kidpower.org in the form of articles, a monthly e-newsletter, and audio-podcasts. In addition, we provide consultation by email to individuals around the world about how to use our People Safety skills to address specific problems.
We also have publications for sale on our website. Our cartoon-illustrated Kidpower and Fullpower Safety Comics and Teaching Kits provide entertaining and useful tools for introducing People Safety skills. The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults is the most comprehensive resource available on how to teach personal safety and advocacy skills to children and youth, with over 600 pages of clear explanations; inspiring stories; step-by-step descriptions of activities; and special chapters about teaching very young children, teenagers, and young people with special needs.
Kidpower has a comprehensive program for training new instructors, workshop organizers, and center directors to bring services to their own communities. We also have an ongoing system for upholding quality to ensure that we sustain our commitment to excellence as we grow.
Everyday Safety Training provides practices designed to prepare students to be safe every day with people they know, peers, bullies, and strangers. Full Force Training offers students the opportunity to practice self-defense skills full force with a head-to-toe padded instructor.
Programs include: Kidpower for children from 3 to 12 and their parents, teachers or caregivers; Youthpower for young people from 9 to 12; Teenpower for teenagers; Fullpower for adults; Workpower for work place safety programs; Collegepower for college students; Policepower for law enforcement staff; Parentpower to help parents and caregivers set boundaries, manage emotions and get help; and Seniorpower for older people. We also offer Adapted programs for people with difficult life challenges such as having a disability, living in a dangerous place, or being a survivor of violence and abuse.
Professional Staff Trainings for schools and agencies serving youths and adults prepare their staff to teach People Safety skills on their own and to incorporate our system of teaching into their own curriculum or activities. The Personal Safety Project prepares middle and high school teachers to introduce self-defense and violence prevention skills and to begin to educate students about issues related to bullying, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and domestic/interpersonal violence. Teacherpower provides nonviolent aggression management skills to professional educators. Our Reaching Out Project prepares professionals working with charitable organizations in countries that have great economic challenges to teach People Safety skills to youth and adults in dangerous life situations.
Kidpower workshops have been taught in most US states and over 60 countries on six continents. Currently, Kidpower has active centers and offices in Brazil; Canada, including Vancouver, British Columbia and Montreal, Quebec; Germany; India; Mexico; the Netherlands; New Zealand, including the South Island and Auckland; Sweden; the United States, including California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland/Washington D.C., North Carolina, Texas, and Vermont; and Vietnam. For local contact information, see Locations.
In 1985 in Santa Cruz, California, Irene van der Zande, a young mother, community organizer, and author, protected 8 young children, including her 7-year-old daughter and her 4-year-old son, from a man who was threatening to kidnap them. Having this frightening experience left Irene with many questions, such as “What if he had knocked me down? What other unprotected children did he go on to assault?” Her search to find answers is what led to the creation of Kidpower. Irene gathered educators, law enforcement officials, mental health professionals, martial artists, safety experts and parents to start Kidpower in 1989, which evolved into Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International as our services expanded to include all ages. As Kidpower’s Executive Director and Founder Irene has led the development of services, training of instructors and establishment and support of centers since our organization began. She is also the author of most of the books and articles about our program.
Ellen Bass, co-author of the groundbreaking book The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, and of Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth and Their Allies, is the Founding President of our Board of Directors. Timothy Dunphy, a sixth degree Black Belt and international champion winner in Taekwondo, is our Program Co-Founder. Hundreds of highly dedicated people teach our programs, organize our workshops, lead our Centers, and serve on our Boards of Directors. These individuals are leaders in their own communities. They include social workers, attorneys, therapists, martial artists, educators, physicians, police officers, community organizers, and business people. They include friends, parents, other family members, neighbors, and employers.
Kidpower programs and curriculum have been developed and are continuously reviewed to ensure that we provide consistently evidence-based and effective personal safety training and curriculum for educators. Additionally, the spontaneous feedback and formal evaluations from workshop participants – be they parents and kids, educators, law enforcement, mental health, or child development professionals – has been overwhelmingly positive since our establishment, with almost everyone who has had direct experience with our services giving Kidpower a very high rating for relevance, effectiveness, and competence. Please visit our Research page for summaries of studies published by independent evaluators documenting the effectiveness of the Kidpower program.
An article by independent researchers, Empowering children with safety-skills: An evaluation of the Kidpower Everyday Safety-Skills Program, was published in the September 2014 issue of the academic journal Children and Youth Services Review. The article includes a thorough literature review demonstrating how the Kidpower program “uses best practices in victimization risk-reduction and prevention” and an independent analysis of the findings of the “The Effects of the Kidpower Everyday Safety Skills on Third Grade Children” demonstrating the effectiveness of the Kidpower program in teaching safety skills to children. In this study, the results showed that participating in the Kidpower program “significantly increases children’s safety skills knowledge” and that 31% of Kidpower students showed improved safety skills and knowledge over a three months, compared with a comparison group of children who had not taken Kidpower (until after the study, since we couldn’t bear to have them miss out on the training)!
Our “seedburst” logo is about growth and power. It’s a person made of seeds inside of an “organic O” – which also represents a seed. The orange is for warmth and strength. The creator, Ian Price, is talented graphic artist who came to us thanks to the Taproot Foundation and who is currently designing the next edition of The Kidpower Book for Caring Adult. Our former “world” logo, pictured earlier on this page, shows our commitment to serving everyone, everywhere.