NewsCovering Colorado


Kidpower celebrates 30 years of service; training more than 67,000 people through in their safety program

Posted at 6:26 PM, Apr 24, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-25 12:11:50-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The nonprofit Kidpower of Colorado celebrates 30 years of service to the state. On Wednesday, El Paso County Public Health issued a resolution recognizing the organization as a community health champion.

The organization teaches children personal safety and confidence-building skills to reduce the likelihood of abuse, abduction, or assault.

Through the Kidpower of Colorado safety’s training, children three through 18 learn how to be safe with peers, authorities, strangers and people they know. The Executive Director of Kidpower, Jan Isaacs Henry said the safety skills Kidpower teaches has adapted over the years because children are facing new threats.

“What it looks like is teaching kids skills to keep themselves (be) safe, but in a really fun, upbeat, empowering way,” Isaacs Henry said.

She said child abuse is a heart breaking reality.

“We do whatever we can in prevention, to be able to help kids be safe. And for those kids who already have had something happen to them, we want to be there as part of their healing process so that they have tools for the future, to be safe in the future,” Isaacs Henry said.

She said one in five kids are bullied and one in ten kids will experience sexual abuse by the time they are 18 years old.

“Those statistics are heartbreaking and unacceptable. So it's about all of us coming together to do whatever we can to both raise awareness, and to make a difference in those statistics so that kids can be safer,” Isaacs Henry said.

She said these topics previously have been taboo and many people in society don't want to talk about them.

“Understandably, we don't want to think about these topics, but we need to. If we can talk more about these topics, raise awareness about these topics, we are really going to do something to move the needle on this significant problem,” Isaacs Henry said.

More than 30 years they have trained more than 67,000 people in Colorado through their safety program.

“Now we're in the second generation. So kids that went through Kidpower, when we started Kidpower, their kids are coming through Kidpower now, and they remember the skills that they learned when they were little,” Isaacs Henry said.

She said Kidpower has evolved over the years because children's safety has changed.

“Interestingly, the concepts that we teach are very similar, but the context has drastically changed,” Isaacs Henry said.

She said the program focuses a lot more on emotional safety than it did 30 years ago.

“To be able to regulate emotions, to be able to have tools to manage their stress, and to be able to get adult help when they need it,” Isaacs Henry said.

She said kids live in a complicated world, having to navigate technology, going through a pandemic and the mental health crisis.

“They have access to a world that our kids in the 90s certainly didn't have access to,” Isaacs Henry said. “So we do have concerns about what kids are exposed to, how long they are on their technology, their social media, their games, and the kinds of access that the outside world has to our kids, when they are on technology,” Isaacs Henry said.

She said children are also under enormous amounts of stress.

“But prevention is powerful. We feel really hopeful about this next generation and what we can do to help them be safer in their worlds,” Isaacs Henry said.

DeAnn Ryberg’s two children went through the Kidpower program.

“My kids really enjoyed the opportunity to practice the safety skills in a safe place and with people cheering them on and making them feel empowered and strong,” Ryberg said.

Ryberg said she feels more comfortable knowing her kids went through safety training.

“The opportunity to send them through training with Kidpower to learn skills that keep them safe, that helped them have awareness in how they engage in the community and setting healthy boundaries, to me is something that gives me peace,” Ryberg said.

She said her children are using what they learned in Kidpower in their everyday lives.

“As a parent, I know that it matters to my kids, because when we've been traveling together, they've been brought up like 'Mom, do I look confident going about in the community?' And that's because they're carrying those lessons they learned in the Kidpower training forward in our lives,” Ryberg said.

Isaacs Henry said the goal for the next 30 years is to continue to give kids tools to be confident, strong, healthy navigating relationships.

“That safety is just naturally a part of what they do to grow up in the world in a healthy way,” Isaacs Henry said.

She said she hopes every child who participates in the program learns skills and tools they can use throughout their whole life.

“Our mission is such a serious mission, but we teach kids in a way that they come out of class, they say that was cool and awesome, or when can I do it again. And really, that's the way we all learn best right, is when we're engaged, and we're having fun,” Isaacs Henry said.

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