I am sharing the following Tribute with all of our readers to honor the passing of a very special person in my own life – and in the lives of everyone who has been helped by Kidpower.

In Loving and Grateful Memory of Tom Driscoll
June 4, 1939 to May 3, 2024

Tom taught me about the power of blessings – spoken out loud or read in silence – during many joyful delicious meals and walks through his beautiful Singing Rock Ranch, and deep conversations with stories, memories, ideas for the future, punctuated with laughter because he shared a quirky sense of humor with my husband Ed.

Our times together were full of blessings from Tom to express gratitude for the food we eat, the friendships we share, the beauty of our natural world, and the lives we live. He always gave a “farewell” blessing when it was time for us to leave.

We started as acquaintances and became close friends when he called to tell me that Nancy, his beloved wife and my dear friend – as well as Kidpower’s Board President for many years – had died.

During her long battle with cancer, Nancy had bounced back so many times that her passing was a shock. Even after the most grueling of treatments, she would call me up to give encouragement and wisdom in her strong voice. With Tom’s constant support, she continued to provide leadership on our Kidpower Board and during our retreats and conferences.

On that sad February day in 2016, as I wept, sitting on the green bench that Nancy had given me, overlooking the trees by my home, Tom told me about her last days, and we comforted each other in our shared sorrow.

Later, Tom honored Nancy’s tremendous legacy in helping to transform Kidpower from a good idea into a great reality by inviting me to be one of the speakers at her Celebration of Life and by becoming an incredible supporter of our small nonprofit organization both personally and through the Nancy Driscoll Foundation.

Despite his many health challenges, Tom stayed deeply committed to making our world a better place and especially to helping young people in need. He also continued to stay deeply connected to Nancy’s spirit and to making their vision for their beautiful Singing Rock Ranch come true.

In late March, 2020, after the shutdown because of the Covid 19 pandemic, I called Tom to see how he was doing. He told me about how a blood infection had nearly taken his life and how he was so grateful for all the people he had helping him and to finally be feeling better.

Then Tom asked, “So how is Kidpower doing?” With all that my friend was coping with, I didn’t want to bother him with our challenges, so I said, “Fine.”

The he asked again, “Really, Irene, I want to know. How are you REALLY doing?”

Then I told him the truth, that we had been about to teach over 10,000 people in person and that all of our income from classes had stopped as we were figuring out how to bring our programs online. Tom asked me to send him some numbers about our loss of income and said he would see what they could do.

I sent him the information and answered more questions – and then received a letter dated May 7, 2020 Buddha’s Birthday with the incredible news that the Nancy Driscoll Foundation would provide general operating support to help Kidpower cover the loss of our class income for six months and this heartwarming message from Tom:

Please accept this donation as you continue your great work in responding to the many challenges and opportunities that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought before us all. Nancy loved and trusted you, and as you know, I am committed to manifesting her powerful way of moving in the world. In that spirit, I ask for your collaboration to help us shape the Nancy Driscoll Foundation.

With love and a deep bow,

Thanks to Tom’s tremendous vision and generosity, Kidpower was able to turn the crisis caused by our loss of funding into an opportunity to greatly expand our horizons, as Nancy had always encouraged us to do. With his support, we have been able to achieve “geographic freedom” through creating online programs, bringing the personal safety and healthy relationship skills we provide to millions more people worldwide.

During the last couple of years, Tom kept bouncing back from many health crises, often expressing gratitude for his dedicated assistants Chris and Bernadette, who he credited with saving his life and with making it possible for him to have the good life he had.

He was so frail and yet so indomitable. Each time we said “good-bye”, I would hug and kiss him gently and say, “I love you”, hoping with all my heart that this wouldn’t be the last time.

I believe that, while bodies have to die, love can continue to live on – and that the people we love stay with us. Tom, like Nancy, will always stay with me in my life and in my work.

Tom and Nancy will always be a part of every child, teen, and adult whose lives are safer and happier because they know how to take charge of their safety, protect their loved ones, and work together to create cultures of safety, respect, and kindness for everyone, everywhere.

Below is my favorite photo of Nancy and Tom and a poem that Tom loved called Blessing (For One Who Was Blessed) by David Whyte from his book Pilgrim.

With love, gratitude, and a deep bow to Tom and to Nancy,

Blessing (For One Who Blessed)

May your palms be as good for blessing
now as when you lived and breathed,
may your voice still carry us as you used
to carry us when you filled a room
with laughter and we rode the tide
of your arriving shout.

May there be a way to bless from the place
you inhabit, may you extend your hands
and your old way of speaking from the horizon
where you live, and may you remember us
and bless us here, in this place, and in this time
in the lit room of our present imaginations
or in the reflected glass, lifted to you
or to one another, remembering you;
and wondering if you still remember us.

And as you have traveled the way before us,
may you bless us especially on the long road
that starts from these words, in our meetings
and in our partings, in our simple wish to find a way
and especially, in our visible and invisible arrivals.

And because we have still to cross the threshold
that you have passed and make the journey
that you have completed, and because
we do not know from where you bless or even
if you still can bless, we need those words of yours
and that voice of yours, and the merciful world
behind that voice, and your laughter and your hands
turned toward us, as strong and as good as they ever were.

David Whyte


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Published: June 18, 2024   |   Last Updated: June 18, 2024

Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: cartoon-illustrated Kidpower Safety Comics and Kidpower Teaching Books curriculum; Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe; the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults; Earliest Teachable Moment: Personal Safety for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People, and the Amazon Best Seller Doing Right by Our Kids: Protecting Child Safety at All Levels.