(Editor's Note: Thanks to reader Joy Robinson, the founder of Girls Support Network for submitting this story.)
Years ago, I had the thrill of watching my niece kick the you-know-what out of a very large man in a padded suit during a safety course simulation at her private high school.
It was AWESOME. I turned to my sister and asked: “Is this an after-school class? Because every girl should learn this.”
“No,” she replied. “It’s part of the school curriculum. And it’s mandatory.
”Sadly, the world we live in requires girls to learn how to protect themselves. Girls are much more likely to become victims of violent crimes than boys. And the pain of that experience (should they survive) lasts a lifetime. We’ve all heard about the cases of little girls being abducted, but did you know that the older a girl gets, the more likely she is to become the victim of a violent crime? she said."
*With increased independence comes vulnerability. No longer is mom watching her every move. So, what’s a parent to do? The answer is simple: Empower your girls. But how? Well, start by putting your daughter through the radKIDS course.
radKIDS is a personal empowerment safety education program for kids ages 5 to 12. This comprehensive course includes: Home, School, Vehicle Safety; Out and About Safety; Physical Defense Against Abduction; Good, Bad, and Uncomfortable Touch; Stranger Tricks; Bullying; Internet Safety, and so much more.
Girls will gain self-value, self-esteem, and confidence as a result of learning these safety skills.
I know that as my middle school daughter gets older, I will be letting go more and more.
And I know it will be hard. But knowing that she has been equipped with the radKIDS safety course will make it a little bit easier. I love that she is growing up, and is no longer that shy, clingy little girl. But I need to prepare her for the world, and the world dictates that she know how to protect herself if necessary.
Just ask Elizabeth Smart.
Elizabeth recently became the national spokesperson for radKIDS and is helping to spread the program across the country. She has said that if she had been equipped withthe radKIDS skills prior to her kidnapping, things might have gone very differently that night when kidnapper Brian David Mitchell sneaked into her bedroom to snatch her away at knifepoint.
**Elizabeth was 14 years old at the time.
I invite you to join me on Sunday, Aug. 19 from 7 to 8 p.m. at at 24360 Yosemite Road, Laguna Niguel, for the radKIDS parent meeting, where you will learn first hand from Erin Runnion, founder of The JoyfulChild Foundation, just what this course is all about.
She will share the staggering statistics that led her to become a nationally recognized figure in child safety advocacy, after her daughter Samantha was abducted, sexually assaulted, murdered, and left on Ortega Highway 10 years ago in July.
Your daughter will then take the radKIDS course Monday through Friday, Aug. 20–24, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., in Mission Hall. And on that final day, you will get to come and watch her kick the you-know-whatout of a large man in a padded suit. And it will be AWESOME.
P.S. Boys need radKIDS, too! Visit the radKIDS website for information on bringing this course to your community for both boys and girls of all ages.
Course for girls is a community event hosted by Girls Support Network and brought to you by The Joyful Child Foundation in Memory of Samantha Runnion. This course is open to all girls in the community, ages 10-12. Girls do not have to be registered members of Girls Support Network to participate.
Registration fee: $79 parent meeting is required to complete registration. To register for this course, go to: GirlsSupportNetwork.org. Space is limited, so register today.
Questions? Contact Girls Support Networkinfo@girlssupportnetwork.org, (949) 643-2440.
To learn more about the radKIDS program, please visit: radkids.org, elizabethsmartfoundation.org, thejoyfulchild.org, and girlssupportnetwork.org.