Fact Sheet

What is Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International?

Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International™ (shortened to Kidpower™) is a charitable educational nonprofit organization founded and based in Santa Cruz, California in 1989. Our vision is to work together to create cultures of caring, respect, and safety for all. Our mission is to teach people of all ages and abilities, especially children in need, to use their power to stay safe, act wisely, and believe in themselves. Experts highly recommend the Kidpower method for being positive, practical, and relevant for children, teenagers, and adults from many different cultures. Worldwide, we have reached over 2 million people, including those with special needs.

Why is Kidpower important?

The “People Safety” skills taught by Kidpower prepare individuals to be emotionally and physically safe with others and with themselves. Our society promotes the importance of Fire Safety skills, for example, not only to avoid getting hurt by fire, but also to be able to enjoy the use of fire for cooking, for warmth, and for fun. This is why we call this set of skills “Fire Safety” rather than just “Burning Prevention.”

People Safety skills include: boundaries to build better relationships; safety plans to prepare for the unexpected; advocacy skills to speak up for the well-being of oneself and others; self-protection strategies to prevent most trouble before it starts; and self-defence skills to stop emergencies. These skills can prevent most exploitation, bullying, harassment, molestation, assault, and abduction. Even though the issues can be serious, the Kidpower approach is empowering, dynamic, and fun.

What resources does Kidpower offer?

Kidpower offers on-line educational materials, publications, curriculum development, and workshops that incorporate our very positive and effective method of teaching People Safety skills. Our teaching method includes:

  • Explanation of important concepts through examples that are meaningful and age-appropriate for our participants
  • Activities designed to give each student the opportunity for successful practice of each skill presented
  • Addressing of beliefs, feelings, and habits that can get in the way of using the skills effectively
  • Adaptation to be relevant to the life-situations, cultures, and abilities of different individuals

We provide a wealth of free information through our website at kidpower.org in the form of articles, a monthly e-newsletter, and audio-podcasts. In addition, we provide consultation by email to individuals around the world about how to use our People Safety skills to address specific problems.

We also have publications for sale on our website. Our cartoon-illustrated Kidpower and Fullpower Safety Comics and Teaching Kits provide entertaining and useful tools for introducing People Safety skills. The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults is the most comprehensive resource available on how to teach personal safety and advocacy skills to children and youth, with over 600 pages of clear explanations; inspiring stories; step-by-step descriptions of activities; and special chapters about teaching very young children, teenagers, and young people with special needs.

Kidpower has a comprehensive program for training new instructors, workshop organizers, and center directors to bring services to their own communities. We also have an ongoing system for upholding quality to ensure that we sustain our commitment to excellence as we grow.

What programs do we offer?

Everyday Safety Training provides practices designed to prepare students to be safe every day with people they know, peers, bullies, and strangers. Full Force Training offers students the opportunity to practice self-defense skills full force with a head-to-toe padded instructor.

Programs include: Kidpower for children from 3 to 12 and their parents, teachers or caregivers;Youthpower for young people from 9 to 12; Teenpower for teenagers; Fullpower for adults; Workpower for work place safety programs; Collegepower for college students; Policepower for law enforcement staff;Parentpower to help parents and caregivers set boundaries, manage emotions and get help; andSeniorpower for older people. We also offer Adaptedpower for people with difficult life challenges such as having a disability, living in a dangerous place, or being a survivor of violence and abuse.

Professional Staff Trainings for schools and agencies serving youths and adults prepare their staff to teach People Safety skills on their own and to incorporate our system of teaching into their own curriculum or activities. The Personal Safety Project prepares middle and high school teachers to introduce self-defense and violence prevention skills and to begin to educate students about issues related to bullying, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and domestic/interpersonal violence. Teacherpower provides nonviolent aggression management skills to professional educators. Our Reaching Out Project prepares professionals working with charitable organizations in countries that have great economic challenges to teach People Safety skills to youth and adults in dangerous life situations.

Where are workshops currently available?

Kidpower has active centers and offices in Brazil; Canada, including Vancouver, British Columbia and Montreal, Quebec; Germany; India; Mexico; the Netherlands; New Zealand, including the South Island and Auckland; Sweden; Switzerland; South Africa; the United States, including California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland/Washington D.C., New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin; and Vietnam. For local contact information, see Locations.

How did Kidpower begin?

In collaboration with many other committed people, Executive Director/Co-Founder Irene van der Zande has led the development of services, training of instructors and organisation of centers since our organisation was established in 1989. The incident that inspired Irene happened in 1985 in Santa Cruz, California when she protected 8 young children, including her 7-year-old daughter and her 4-year-old son, from a man who was threatening to kidnap them. Irene gathered educators, law enforcement officials, mental health professionals, martial artists, safety experts and parents to start Kidpower, which evolved into Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International.

Who else is involved in Kidpower?

Ellen Bass, co-author of the groundbreaking book The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, is the Founding President of our Board of Directors. Timothy Dunphy, a sixth degree Black Belt and international champion winner in Taekwondo, is the other Co-Founder. Hundreds of highly dedicated people teach our programs, organise our workshops, lead our Centers, and serve on our Boards of Directors. These individuals are leaders in their own communities. They include social workers, attorneys, therapists, martial artists, educators, physicians, police officers, community organisers, and business people. They include friends, parents, other family members, neighbors, and employers.

Is there any proof that Kidpower is effective?

For years, we have had very positive evaluations and feedback from our participants, including many success stories of people using their personal safety skills both to improve their daily lives and to stop dangerous situations.

In 2004, the effectiveness of our services for young children was documented through an outside professional evaluation of our program conducted by LaFrance Associates with funding from the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. Almost 95% of the parents and caregivers of over 550 Head Start children from multi-cultural low-income families observed that their children were safer because of their Kidpower training. Parents and caregivers reported that most of these 3 to 5-year-old children remembered most skills four to nine months after the training. Over 90% reported that they personally felt better prepared to explain safety skills to their children.

In 2005, a similar study was conducted by an independent professional evaluator with 840 8 to 12-year-old students and their teachers in New Zealand. Both teachers and children reported after three months that the students used the skills to reduce conflict, that learning the skills increased their confidence and reduced their anxiety, and that they found that the program was “fun.” In 2002, a research project for a PhD study on the effects of self-protection training of early adolescent girls trained by Kidpower and another organization found that Kidpower has all of the elements that the girls defined as being important for their training to help them both feel and be safe.

What is the meaning of our logo?

Our “seedburst” logo is about growth and power. It’s a person made of seeds inside of an “organic O” – which also represents a seed. The orange is for warmth and strength. The creator, Ian Price, is talented graphic artist who came to us thanks to the Taproot Foundation and who is currently designing the next edition of The Kidpower Book for Caring Adult. Our former “world” logo shows our commitment to serving everyone, everywhere.