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Now, more than ever, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by the problems in the world. This life lesson about staying effective in the face of ‘overwhelm’ is a gift from my father, Raim Regelson. It guides our work at Kidpower – and helps so many of us in challenging times.

One of the best ways to move forward when you are overwhelmed and stuck is to break things into small pieces and focus on just what you need to do next to accomplish your goal. We can do this for ourselves and empower our kids to do the same – just like my father did for me over 60 years ago.

When I was 12 years old, my father and I decided to climb Mt. Whitney, a 14,505′ peak with a 26-mile round trip hike, in one day. We camped near the trailhead the night before and then started by moonlight and flashlight at 3 am.

Surrounded by beauty, we hiked confidently – until I ran out of steam a few miles from the top. Overcome with exhaustion, I curled up by the trail and instantly fell asleep. My father sat by me for a few minutes and then, gently shaking me awake, said, “You want to climb the mountain, don’t you?”

Eyes squeezed tightly shut, I whimpered, “I’m too tired. It’s too far.”

“Please open your eyes, Irene,” my father said softly.

I sighed, then opened my eyes. All I could see was the dirt on the ground beneath my arm.

My father coaxed, “Just take 10 little old lady steps. Then, you can rest.” After I stood up and nodded my head, he took my hand, and we counted out 10 little steps. “Now,” he said cheerfully, “I know you can take just 10 more.”

Holding my father’s warm, strong hand, counting ten little old lady steps at a time, we climbed up those final, steep miles.

When we got to the summit, my exhaustion turned into exhilaration! “WE DID IT!” I shouted. As I looked down at the magnificent mountains and desert below, I felt like I was on top of the world and knew that everything was possible!

Over the decades since my father and I summited Mt. Whitney hand-in-hand, the joy of that moment and the lesson in how to keep going by breaking the goal into manageable pieces have served me countless times, including now.

At Kidpower, we see again and again how small actions, simple skills, and tiny steps can all add up to transform helplessness into empowerment, reduce suffering, and increase joy – leading to safer lives and happier people.

We are finding inspiration, power, and hope in the contributions and efforts of each member of our global community of instructors, volunteers, supporters, and students as we work as a team to: Protect children and vulnerable adults, Prevent harm such as bullying and abuse, and emPower everyone to take charge of their safety, their relationships, and their lives!

Step by step, with your help, we are facing today’s challenges, including the financial ones, with confidence that we can climb these mountains hand-in-hand. We are honored by the wave of donations people like you have given in recent weeks – over $8,000, which will be matched dollar for dollar. We so appreciate how these funds will help us keep moving forward in 2021 to help tens of thousands of children, teens, and adults with free resources, online workshops, and more to take charge of their safety!

If you have not yet donated, there is still time to double your impact, and your gift will go immediately to work helping people be safe. Thanks to a new contribution from our generous Leadership Circle, all December donations will be matched up to our year-end goal of $25,000!

 

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Published: December 14, 2020   |   Last Updated: December 14, 2020

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.

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