Erika Leonard

When I was a small child, I was shocked to discover that my teachers actually DID things outside of school.  I was bewildered to see them engaged in activities such as shopping, hiking, or going to the movies.  I was incredulous at the sight of them holding hands, kissing, or being someone’s parent.  I imagined my teachers as a part of the school, much like a desk or a dictionary.  Though clearly alive, they didn’t seem to come from anywhere, and perhaps they just slipped into the closet to sleep at the day’s end.

We can laugh at memories of our childish perceptions.  Even as worldly adults, though, our perceptions of “who does what” — and therefore what WE OURSELVES can do — can affect the choices we make.  Sometimes those preconceptions can divert us away from paths that might be thrilling, captivating, challenging, and fulfilling.

The path of becoming and being a Kidpower instructor has been, for me, deeply rewarding.  Strangely enough, having so clearly and proudly defined myself as a school teacher and a mother, I almost missed it altogether.

Stretching my mind to imagine myself doing this kind of work felt scary because it was unusual.  But I found when I stretched, I learned that Kidpower instructors don’t look any one way.

They are women and men.
They are in their twenties  and in their sixties.
They are talented athletes, and they are fairly non-athletic.
They are boisterous and soft-spoken.
They teach for Kidpower anything from
20 hours a year to
20 hours a month to
20 hours a week.

They teach just kids, or just adults, or people of all ages.

They are parents, software consultants, therapists, corporate managers, martial artists, teachers, and police officers.

That is, they look like YOU, and they report that teaching with Kidpower not only brings them the satisfaction of helping people learn how to stay safe, but also that its flexibility makes Kidpower teaching fit well with other obligations.

They DO all have four things in common:

  1. They support Kidpower’s mission to teach people of all ages and abilities how to stay safe, act wisely, and believe in themselves.
  2. They want to make a difference in their communities, no matter how much or how little time they have, by helping achieve Kidpower’s goal of making high quality self protection and confidence programs widely accessible.
  3. They do their best to be honest, evolving, fair, supportive, productive, safe, team-building, and inclusive.
  4. They are healthy enough physically and emotionally to do the work.

Though I shared all these values, I didn’t KNOW HOW to teach safety skills. In finding the courage to go forward, I learned that NO ONE ELSE KNOWS HOW WHEN THEY FIRST START, EITHER!

Now, as I see the incredulous looks of small children shocked to spot “the Kidpower lady” doing those everyday activities like shopping or hiking in public places, I’m reminded of how I once wasn’t, and almost missed the chance to become, exactly what they know me to be.  It is astonishing how easy it is for us at any age to decide too quickly, and with too little information, what we can and can’t do with our lives.

Kidpower is always looking for people who are interested in joining our team of instructors, and we welcome people who share our vision of a safer world and can join us in upholding our values.  Please take a moment to consider whether you might like to make a difference by helping people  learn to stay safe, act wisely, and believe in themselves.

If you are interested in training to become a Kidpower instructor or starting a Center, please read our Instructor Training and Center Development pages, and then contact us via email or at (800) 467-6997.

I will be happy to talk to you personally, answer any questions you might have, and give you more information about the instructor training process. In the meantime, please be sure to pass this information on to others who you think might be interested.

I look forward to the possibility of talking with you soon.


Erika Leonard
Program Manager of California Services and Senior Kidpower Instructor

Erika Leonard manages our California center, trains and mentors instructors, and is a Kidpower Senior Program Leader.