Watch Robert’s inspiring story about his journey from a hard childhood
to belonging, love, and success

Watch Robert’s inspiring story about his journey from a hard childhood to belonging, love, and success

I think you will enjoy the heartwarming story of how our Pridepower Safety Skills Online Course came into being – told through the following words from Ellen Frankel, a Kidpower Senior Program Leader and Board Member, and through this video from her friend Robert Holgate.

“At Thanksgiving dinner many years ago, Robert told me the heartbreaking and inspiring story of his abusive childhood and how, when he turned 18 and graduated from high school, he packed up his car and left home forever.

“As a young gay man, he eventually found community, love and success. I was sad to learn how scared and alone he had been while growing up, and moved by how he turned the story of his life around.

“Even decades later, I have met many young people who feel alone, scared, and sad because of negative reactions to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Through my work with Kidpower, I know how the safety skills we teach in classes for LGBTQIA+ people make such a profound difference in their lives. I realized how many more people could benefit if these safety lessons were available online.

“As soon as I approached Robert about helping us to produce the Pridepower course, he was enthusiastic and generous in providing support and opening doors for us. Both Robert and I are very proud of the Pridepower program, and hope that you will take advantage of this wonderful resource.”

The lessons in the Pridepower course show how to apply the personal and emotional safety and communication skills we teach to different kinds of problems for people from the LGBTQIA+ community – and for anyone who is dealing with someone who rejects or disrespects you because of who you are.

I encourage you to take the course yourself and to share it with others! This course is free of charge thanks to Robert’s and Ellen’s generosity.

We look forward to hearing from you about how you are using the course and any suggestions you might have.


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Published: June 23, 2023   |   Last Updated: June 23, 2023

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.