Years ago, prior to having a child, I was a psychotherapist to women who had been physically and sexually abused. As they say sometimes things happen for a reason and it may take years to figure that reason out. My reason happened after I had my son and was a stay at home mom for 3 ½ years.
We KNEW Her
I had just had my 5th miscarriage and my husband called our babysitter, who we had been using since our son was 6 months old, and asked her to come watch our preschooler because we really needed a night out. She was a big part of our family and knew about our fertility issues and agreed. Her credentials – 24yrs old, certified swim instructor, part-time preschool teacher and nursing student at night…how many of you would hire someone with that background to watch your child? But I digress…
She Let Him Walk Outside
She came to watch our son – but did not watch him properly and he walked out the front door (rules: door locked, alarm on) down and across a few streets before being found by a stranger. My son was crying and the man (stranger) asked why he was crying and walking by himself. My son said he was looking for his babysitter – the man asked, “where do you live?” My son knew his street name and told the man. The man said, “get in my car and I will drive around until we find your house.” Yes, my son got into the car with the stranger and thankfully, he was a good person and drove around until my son pointed at our house and was home…safe and sound.
To this day I do NOT know where my babysitter was but I can tell you that it changed mine and my husband’s life forever! We are extremely lucky…many stories like this do not have the happy ending we did –and this put me on a mission to teaching children, parents and teachers real world life skills to help keep children safe.
Our Children Need Skills
I was lucky enough to meet my now business partner, Cherie Benjoseph, a licensed clinical social worker with a background in prevention education and together we wrote our KidSafe 8 week curriculum for pre k-4 – 5th grade. We travel to schools and teach our programs and offer seminars to Parents and workshops to teachers. Our philosophy is that every child, every parent and every teacher needs prevention education and we owe it to our children to give them the necessary skills to help keep them safe. The skills we teach are skills for a lifetime…they are skills to help prevent against sexual exploitation and abduction of children and they are also skills to help keep our children safe on the internet – bullying and general life.
I Am Blessed
So as I ponder how I, a teacher with a Masters in Elementary Education and a psychotherapist with a Masters in Counseling Psychology, but most importantly a wife and a mom came to be where I am today – it is no wonder I found my mission to educate children to help keep them safe. My circle makes sense – every child I teach…every child I look at….I want to make sure that they will never endure the horror and abuse that the women I treated did years ago. My goal is to make a difference in a child’s life. I understand now, that I am blessed to have one amazing son…and all the kids I teach are my other children.
Working Together to Keep KidSafe!
For tips on questions to ask a potential babysitter and their references go to our web site at www.kidsafefoundation.org (see link below). Working together to keep KidSafe! Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA