Press Room

Press Contacts:

Irene van der Zande, Executive Director | (831)247-6732

Erika Leonard, Program Co-Director | (510)334-2242

Press Room

Press Contacts:

Irene van der Zande, Executive Director  |  (831)247-6732

Erika Leonard, Program Co-Director  |  (510)334-2242

Our areas of expertise include recommended practices for the prevention and response to:
  • Bullying and Cyberbullying
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Abduction
  • Assault – all types
  • Domestic/intimate partner violence
We are experts in adaption of personal safety strategies to protect those most vulnerable to harm, including:
  • Youth ages 0-22
  • People with disabilities and intellectual differences
  • Elderly people
  • LGBTQIA+ individuals 
  • Immigrants and people facing racial discrimination
  • Over 6 million served in 20 languages across six continents since 1989
  • Proven, research based (
  • Erin’s Law recommended child sexual abuse prevention resource
  • Partner agencies include 4-H; National Hands and Voices, Legoland; Council for Exceptional Children, and hundreds of local schools/CBOs/NGOs
  • Guidestar platinum rated; GreatNonprofits Top-Rated since 2012
  • Amazon #1 Bestseller, Doing Right By Our Kids: Protecting Child Safety at All Levels
  • Endorsed by prominent individuals including Gavin deBecker, leading worldwide expert in the prediction and management of violence; Ellen Bass, author of The Courage to Heal; and transgender activist Gavin Grimm; and countless educators, law enforcement personnel, and health professionals

Numerous national, regional, and local print, online, radio, and TV media turn to Kidpower for expert input on topics ranging from abduction to sexual abuse to school shootings and cyberbullying. A few samples from our archives:

‘Stop! Leave! Help!’ Teaching kids how to stop a potential abduction

ABC 7 News – 14 May 2019

Reportaje especial: mitos de seguridad para los niños

Univision – 21 Nov 2018

Empower, Don’t Scare: How to Talk About School Shootings

Today – 28 Feb 2012

How You Can Keep Kids Safe

KKTV 11 – 25 Jan 2012


Click for more press highlights

Click for more short videos

Click for more logos and headshots

Irene van der Zande, Executive Director and Founder Download

April Yee, International Board President Download

Fast Facts

Kidpower is an established global leader in safety skills education

Kidpower’s 31-year track record of success is rooted in our unique – and uniquely effective – approach focusing on success-based skills practice adapted for age, ability, and life situation.

Kidpower is recommended and endorsed by professionals internationally in fields ranging from health care to education to law enforcement and violence prevention for being:

  • Trauma sensitive
  • Strengths-based
  • Inclusive and adaptable
  • research-based and proven effective

Since 1989, Kidpower has remained the only safety skills program serving people of all abilities, birth through golden years, that is directly accessible to schools, to community based organizations and businesses, and to families seeking effective strategies for the prevention of bullying, abuse, abduction, harassment, assault, and other interpersonal harm.

Kidpower serves in many ways - and many languages

Kidpower makes safety information and skills accessible through:

  • Live, online workshops in multiple languages for all ages, abilities, and life situations
  • Bullying/abuse prevention and SEL program modules accessible online for schools
  • Professional development programs online – live and self-paced
  • Tailored safety consulting and coaching
  • In-person, hands-on workshops (when public health/safety needs allow)
  • A wide array of publications designed for target audiences from preschoolers to professionals
  • Hundreds of no-cost resources including coaching guides, articles, and teaching videos freely accessible in multiple languages in our Online Library.


Kidpower skills help everyone - including adults - be safe

All people deserve to be safe from bullying, abuse, and other harm caused by people. Kidpower teaches ‘People Safety Skills’ to prevent these types of harm – and also to support healthy relationships and effective communication.

Known worldwide as Kidpower, our full legal name is Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International, reflecting our commitment to safety for everyone, everywhere. Adults, teens, and children around the world use Kidpower skills to:

  • Take charge of their own safety in age-appropriate, ability-appropriate ways
  • Protect the physical and emotional safety of those in their care
  • Teach others to take charge of their safety as they become more independent

Kidpower ‘People Safety’ skills prepare people of all ages to:

  • Set boundaries to develop safer, healthier relationships
  • Make safety plans to prepare for the unexpected – in physical spaces and online
  • Advocate effectively for themselves and for others
  • Use self-protection strategies to prevent most trouble before it starts
  • Use self-defense skills to escape from an attack


Kidpower prepares people to face safety challenges with confidence

In these troubled times, many report feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and helpless about how to protect themselves, their families, and those they serve professionally.

Just worrying or talking about the bad things that might happen does not make anyone safer – it just makes them scared. Being successful in practicing what to say and do helps to reduce anxiety, increase confidence, and develop competence.

Though Kidpower skills are always useful every day, people commonly turn to Kidpower when they or those they care for are:

  • Starting school – or shifting to or from distance learning
  • Navigating safety in gaming, social media, and other online spaces
  • Dealing with difficult family members or friends
  • Choosing care providers for children and adult loved ones
  • Preparing children for more independence
  • Leaving home or starting college
  • Seeking a job or starting a new job
  • Moving or taking a trip
Kidpower started with a mom protecting her kids - and inspiring others

In 1985, community organizer and author Irene van der Zande protected a group of young children, including her own, from a man threatening to kidnap them.

Although she stopped the man by yelling at him and by ordering a bystander to help, having this experience left Irene with questions such as: “What if he had knocked me down?” “What if I hadn’t been there?” And, “How can I teach my kids to be safe without making them anxious?” Irene’s search for answers led to the inspiration for starting Kidpower.

With her leadership, thousands worldwide have contributed their expertise, time, resources, and commitment to develop the exceptional Kidpower curriculum and to establish Kidpower as a global nonprofit leader in safety and prevention education.

Kidpower leadership reflects our commitment to quality and diversity

Since 1989, founder Irene van der Zande has served as Kidpower’s executive director and primary author. Read more about Irene!

Kidpower’s diverse, international team of leaders supports the efficacy of our international program and includes:

International Board President April Yee: April first came to Kidpower decades ago as a UC Santa Cruz student intern. She has served as an instructor, a member of our Central Office staff, and on the Board in various capacities for over ten years.

Board Member Zaida Torres: A communication specialist, social activist, and child safety expert in Mexico, Zaida discovered Kidpower in 2008 while searching for safety resources that could benefit families and schools in Mexico. She founded Kidpower Mexico in 2009, serving as its Center Director, and has served on the international board for approximately two years.

Board Member John Luna-Sparks, LCSW: John has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for over twenty years, specializing in child sexual abuse recovery and trauma recovery for people with developmental disabilities. John first experienced Kidpower in 2003 as a social worker at the Center for Child Protection at Children’s Hospital Oakland, one of Kidpower’s partner organizations. John leads Kidpower workshops in Spanish and English and has served on the International Board for two years.

Advisor Harold A. Johnson, Ed.U.: Professor Emeritus of Education at Kent State University, Harold came to Kidpower through his efforts to make personal safety knowledge and skills a higher priority in the special education field. He has collaborated with Kidpower in developing written and video resources, served as a Board member for many years, and continues as an advisor.

The Kidpower International Central Office Team includes Marylaine Leger from Kidpower Montreal; Amanda Golert from Kidpower Sweden; MJ Hayes from Kidpower North Carolina; and Maria Gisella Gamez from Kidpower Argentina, among others.

Kidpower Center Founders and Directors are members of the communities served by the center and lead the implementation of the Kidpower program in their regions. Kidpower centers established in 2020 include Kidpower Bangladesh, established by a team led by Kalpana Bosu; Kidpower Ecuador, established by a team led by Ana Uribe; and Kidpower Nepal, established by Sushma Pokhrel. Read more about Kidpower centers and offices around the world!

For more of Kidpower’s history, see A Tapestry Woven by Many Different Hands.

Kidpower’s research-based curriculum is proven effective

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, 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. This study showed significant differences between children who had received Kidpower training and children in a comparison group.

Short Videos (1-3m)

2-min Intro

How Kidpower started

Safety & Self Defense people with Disabilities

Kids and Parent talk about Kidpower

Protecting Youth Athletes from Sexual Abuse

Testimonial from Tenderloin Safe Passage

Press Coverage Highlights

Boundaries & Consent

Metta Center for Nonviolence Radio Show

“Consent and Nonviolence Radio Show” featuring Irene van der Zande, founder of Kidpower and co-author of #1 bestselling book for the #MeToo Era, Doing Right by Our Kids.

Listen to the Radio Show>>

Bullying Prevention

ABC News, View From the Bay

Segment about bullying prevention, skills & resources with Kidpower Founder, Irene van der Zande.

Watch the video>>

Academic Evalutation

Science Direct’s Children and Youth Services Review

A thorough academic review of how Kidpower “uses best practices in victimization risk-education and prevention”. September 2014, Volume 44, Pages 152-162

Read the full story>>

Photo Gallery

Kidpower is pleased to offer the convenience of free graphics and photos for use by media in articles that include reference to our resources or quotes from our representatives. Please use citation ‘Kidpower International Image’.

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