Kidpower International is the global nonprofit leader in interpersonal safety education for all ages and abilities. Since 1989, Kidpower has served over 7 million children, teens, and adults, including those with special needs, through our live online and in-person workshops, partnerships, and educational resources. Kidpower programs are highly recommended by educators, mental health professionals, health care providers, public safety experts, and parents for being effective, empowering, trauma-informed, culturally sensitive, age-appropriate, adapted for different abilities, and relevant for different life situations. to learn more, visit our main site

Our areas of expertise

Child abuse prevention

To help children be safe from child abuse, including sexual abuse, Kidpower teaches parents, teachers, and other caring adults:

  • child protection strategies to protect children from abuse
  • age-appropriate safety skills adults can teach to children without scaring them
  • coaching strategies to practice the skills with kids in ways that can reduce fear and build confidence

To protect children in your personal or professional life from abuse and other harm, see our:

Our abuse prevention trainings and resources include extensive boundary setting practice because boundaries are a powerful prevention tool – and, they are also powerful skills for strong, healthy relationships! See Kidpower Skills to Persist in Protecting Personal Boundaries Through the 5 Levels of Intrusion™

To explore workshop options, visit our Learn Online page or contact us!

Kidpower is an Erin’s Law child abuse prevention recommended resource.

Core skills taught in all classes

Kidpower core social-emotional safety skills help people of all ages and abilities take charge of safety and well-being – online and in person. Skills include how to:

  • Act aware, calm, and confident
  • Protect yourself emotionally from hurtful words or behavior
  • Manage emotional triggers to stay in charge of what you say and do
  • Recognize what is and is not safe
  • Move away from trouble physically, emotionally, and digitally
  • Assess – and think first or check first before acting
  • Set powerful and respectful boundaries
  • Apply safety principles about touch and attention in healthy relationships
  • Advocate assertively and persistently for help with safety problems
  • Use your voice and body to stop an attack and get to safety

We teach age-appropriate, ability-appropriate adaptations of these skills using examples and activities relevant to students’ ages and life situations. Our trainings for parents and professionals teach adults how to teach these skills to others in their personal and professional lives.
Learn Online with our workshops and resources – or contact us about your needs!

Bullying prevention

Most bullying, including adult-to-adult bullying, can be stopped or prevented when everyone involved learns and uses core social-emotional safety skills. We teach:

  • Social-emotional safety skills to be safe from bullying and cyberbullying at all ages
  • Safety leadership strategies for adults to ensure that everyone in their homes, schools, and workplaces is safe from bullying and harassment
  • Positive intervention and coaching skills to guide those using bullying behaviors to replace them with pro-social behaviors.

We provide tailored support for dealing with specific types of bullying such as social aggression, cyberbullying, adult-to-adult bullying, and prejudice-based bullying and harm.

Use our bullying prevention resources – and learn more about our preK-12 SEL school programs and curriculum.

Learn Online with our workshops and resources – or contact us about your needs!

Kidnapping prevention

To protect young people from kidnapping and abduction, we teach:

  • Child protection strategies for adults
  • Stranger safety strategies for young people

For related resources, see:
Stranger Safety – Assault and Kidnapping Prevention
Kidpower Child Protection and Advocacy Resources
Self-Paced Kidpower Child Protection Online Institute

We teach emergency-only physical self-defense to use as a last resort for escaping an attack and getting to safety.

Our in-person full-force self-defense skills workshops are paused during the pandemic. We include coaching in physical self-defense skills in our online workshops for those groups interested in learning these skills remotely during the pandemic.

We have more than three decades of experience adapting physical self-defense skills for people ages six and up of all abilities – including people with low vision; people who are deaf/hard of hearing; people who use wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and other mobility tools; and neurodiverse people representing a broad range of cognitive abilities.

Related resources include:
One Strong Move: Cartoon-Illustrated Self-Defense Lessons
How to Pick a Good Self-Defense Program

To bring Kidpower Stranger Safety skills and programs to your school, see our preK-12 SEL school programs and curriculum.

Assault prevention

We teach teen and adults strategies to stop assault, harassment, and intimate partner violence.

To protect children from assault, we teach parents and caregivers how to use Kidpower Child Protection skills to keep kids safe.

Children and their adults learn Kidpower Stranger Safety by sharing Kidpower workshops and resources together.

We teach emergency-only physical self-defense to use as a last resort for escaping an attack and getting to safety.

Our in-person full-force self-defense skills workshops are paused during the pandemic. We include coaching in physical self-defense skills in our online workshops for those groups interested in learning these skills remotely during the pandemic.

We have more than three decades of experience adapting physical self-defense skills for people ages six and up of all abilities – including people with low vision; people who are deaf/hard of hearing; people who use wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and other mobility tools; and neurodiverse people representing a broad range of cognitive abilities.

Related resources include:
One Strong Move: Cartoon-Illustrated Self-Defense Lessons

How to Pick a Good Self-Defense Program

Intimate partner violence prevention

To prevent dating/domestic violence and to help people replace harmful behaviors with safer behaviors to support safe, healthy intimate relationships, we teach skills for:

  • setting, recognizing, respecting, and upholding boundaries
  • expressing, withdrawing, and respecting consent
  • managing emotional triggers in order to think clearly and make wise choices
  • staying safe in the face of verbal and emotional attacks
  • assessing situations and thinking first before acting
  • moving away from trouble emotionally, physically, and digitally
  • making safety plans

Related resources include:
Personal Safety to Help Stop Domestic, Dating, and Other Relationship Violence
Protecting Sexual Safety: Skills to Ensure Consent and Set Boundaries
Fullpower Relationship Safety Skills Handbook

Visit our Dating/Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Prevention resource page for more.

Online safety and digital citizenship

Technology changes, but Kidpower’s core principles for safety with people are timeless, preparing people for safety online now and throughout their online lives. We teach:

  • Awareness to prevent problems before they start
  • Assessment to avoid, de-escalate, or end unsafe situations
  • Moving away from trouble emotionally and digitally
  • Boundary setting to stop unwanted attention
  • Disengaging to leave activities skillfully
  • Assertive advocacy to get help with safety problems
  • Safety planning for individuals and for groups of peers online together.
  • Emotional safety to stay safe, calm, and effective in the face of threats, harassment, intimidation, peer pressure, bullying, or other emotional attacks.

To be safe online, youth need caring adults involved in their online lives.

Without adult guidance, youth online are more vulnerable to abuse, coercion, bullying, manipulation, and other harm. This is true even for digital natives more skilled with technology than their adults. See:

To explore workshop options, visit our Learn online page or contact us!

Workplace communication and safety

We coach employees and supervisors how to apply our core skills to support workplace safety in workshops tailored to each group’s unique situations. Depending on their priorities, we teach skills to:

Take charge of personal safety going to and from work to protect employee safety as well as to prevent employee attrition resulting from safety concerns arriving early, navigating parking lots and other public spaces, working late, or traveling to and from work.

Create safe, respectful, and inclusive workplace cultures to promote healthy, positive workplace communication and prevent, address, and end problems that grow from:

  • adult-to-adult bullying
  • social aggression, including ‘badmouthing’, ‘backstabbing’, and gossip
  • the formation of unproductive, potentially harmful workplace factions
  • a workplace culture that allows or encourages sexual harassment and other behaviors that target, isolate, distance, limit, or call out others result of race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, body size, ability, age, or other actual or perceived identities.

Our solutions-focused workshops are upbeat, engaging, and designed to be enjoyable experiences that ‘call people in’ without ‘calling people out’ on their own words or behaviors. Skills covered include boundaries, assertive advocacy, effective strategies for addressing disagreements, and tools for addressing crucial yet challenging topics such as bias, discrimination respectfully and assertively. Related resources: Fullpower Boundaries for Adults Integrity in Communication Workplace Violence Prevention Learn more about arranging a workshop for your group – or contact us!

Prejudice-based harm

We teach ways to use our core skills to protect ourselves and others from prejudice-based harm – and to take action to create greater justice and safety for everyone, everywhere.

We adapt for concerns ranging from body shaming and weight bias to protecting transgender and gender-diverse youth to taking charge of safety in the face of identity-based attacks against Asian-Americans during the pandemic to safety within a context of institutionalized oppression.

Given our decades-long commitment to learning everything we can about respecting cultural differences while teaching skills for consent, boundaries, and interpersonal safety, we are constantly growing, adapting, and improving our services based in the insights of our students and community members.

See our resources to prevent and stop prejudice-based aggression and violence.

Adapting for all abilities

Kidpower makes safety accessible for people of all abilities.

We have more than three decades of experience adapting safety education to protect and empower people with disabilities – who face a high risk of bullying, assault, harassment, and other harm at all ages.

The success of our Unlimited Adaptability approach to safety education grows from our our focus on possibilities rather than limitations and the proven Kidpower Positive Practice Teaching Method use in our services for all ages.

Read more about our services for people with special needs!

To learn more, see Who We Serve and evidence-based research.

 Our international team - a tapestry woven by many hands

 Meet the people behind our courses

Leadership Team

Irene van der Zande
Kidpower International Founder & Primary Author and Executive Director
Irene is an inspiring, passionate, and entertaining speaker, trainer, and storyteller who is a master at preparing people to transform problems into successful practices; to take charge of their safety and well-being; and to develop joyful relationships that enrich their lives.
As Kidpower’s lead author, Irene places time-tested life-saving skills and lessons directly into the hands of parents and professionals. Her work has gained world-wide acclaim from experts in education, law enforcement, and health for being upbeat, experiential, age-appropriate, emotionally safe, trauma-informed, and relevant in today’s often-challenging times.
Marylaine Léger
Kidpower International Programs Director & Quebec Center Director
Marylaine has been with Kidpower since 1996. She is Kidpower International's Special Projects Director, which includes leading the development and implementation of our Online Learning Center.
She is the producer of the Safety Powers Project and other courses as well as a presenter in other  courses.  She is part of the Curriculum and Training Team and a Senior Program Leader. She is also the Québec Center Director:  Pleins Pouvoirs KIDPOWER Montréal
Amanda Golert
Kidpower International Senior Program Leader & Sweden Center Director
Amanda has been with Kidpower since 1998. She is part of the Kidpower International Curriculum and Training Team and a Senior Program Leader, as well as the Director of Kidpower Sweden.
She is the artist and editor for most Kidpower publications, including the Workbooks in our Online Learning Center and a presenter in many courses.
Maryjane (MJ) Hayes
Kidpower International Special Projects Leader & North Carolina Center Director
Maryjane (MJ) Hayes has been a member of the Kidpower team since 2001, when she started volunteering because she wanted to help kids have a safer childhood than she did. 
Since then, she has become one of the most active and experienced Kidpower instructors in the world, directly training more than 50,000 kids and adults, including those with special needs. Through her work MJ is truly having a global impact on child safety and abuse prevention.

Technical Support Team

Beth McGreevy
Kidpower Web Communications Director & Senior Program Leader
Beth has been helping Kidpower widen its online reach since 1992.  Beth’s extensive research and ongoing technical support has been essential in the establishment of the Kidpower Online Learning Center.
Eamon Saki
Kidpower International Technical & Office Manager
Eamon has been with Kidpower since 2014. He provides extensive technical expertise to develop and improve our Online Learning Center and courses, including video design and editing.
Mackenzie Mitchell
Kidpower International Technical & Office Specialist
Since 2019, Mackenzie has provided help both with editing videos and with the technical part of designing courses in our Online Learning Center.
Colin Léger Meilleur
Kidpower 'Born & Raised' and Technical Support
Colin calls himself a 'Kidpower Kid', having grown up with Kidpower skills. He provides help in editing videos, captioning, with the technical part of designing courses, and acting out role plays used in our courses.
Simon Hartman
Empowerment Trust NZ Design & Marketing Consultant Leader
Simon is a graphic design, marketing, and comms specialist living in windy Wellington, New Zealand. He has grown up with the Kidpower values, and is proud to now be contributing to its mission of safety for everyone, across the globe.

Course Instructors and Presenters

Cornelia Baumgartner
Kidpower Advisor for and Founder of Empowerment Trust NZ
Cornelia has been a part of Kidpower since 1993 when she and Martin Hartman established the New Zealand Kidpower Center.
She is a member of the Senior Program Leader Advisory Group and led the collaborative development and implementation of national programs like the NZ Confident Kids program with the NZ National Police’s Youth Education Services, the Healthy Relationships program for people with learning disabilities and the Teenpower Violence Prevention Project.
Erika Leonard
Kidpower International Community Education Director and Kidpower California Program Director
Erika started with Kidpower in 1995. She develops projects for community education like our Safety Leadership Challenge and other social media projects. She is a part of the Curriculum and Training Team as well as a presenter in many of our courses.
Amy Tiemann, Ph.D.
Kidpower International Senior Program Leader and North Carolina Center Founder
Amy is a Stanford-trained neuroscientist, experienced educator, and best-selling author.  She founded Kidpower North Carolina in 2007, and her current work focuses on teaching child abuse prevention skills to adult leaders.  Amy’s latest book, co-authored with Irene van der Zande, Doing Right by Our Kids: Protecting Child Safety at All Levels, has been adopted as core reference guide by families, schools and youth-serving organizations worldwide.
Jared Hayes, MBA
Kidpower North Carolina Senior Instructor and Finance Manager
Jared has been part of Kidpower since 2003.  Jared believes strongly in the Kidpower mission and does this work because he knows these skills work and they will keep kids safe in all areas of their life.
Jennifer Huffman
Kidpower Instructor
Jennifer was introduced to Kidpower in 2006, as a participant in a customized Kidpower of Colorado class for young adults. She joined Kidpower of Colorado as a volunteer in 2015 and later became an instructor. Jennifer is passionate about the next generation and grateful to contribute to making the world safer for kids and their families.
María Gisella Gámez
Center Director Kidpower Argentina
María is a professional translator of English and Italian to Spanish and a self-defense instructor. She has collaborated with Kidpower translating Kidpower books and resources since 2009 and has been the director of the Kidpower Argentina center since 2012. She volunteers to teach and support several Cuban health professionals that apply Kidpower in their professional activities. She participates in different Kidpower projects in Spanish as part of the 'Semillas de Seguridad' team.
Kiona Medina
Instructor Kidpower California
Kiona has been a Kidpower instructor since 2014 and an expressive arts therapist living in California. Born in Colombia with a passion for connection, Kiona uses Kidpower as a thread to weave in creativity, community, and holistic wellness. Her favorite power to teach is the power to receive compliments and remind people of all ages of their capacity to own and take in goodness.
Avery Holmes
Kidpower Instructor
Avery is a Kidpower native and has been a Kidpower Instructor since 2015. He is currently studying Zoology at the University of Glasgow. He is glad to be supporting Kidpower by producing the Kidpower Shorts, which he hopes will be accessible and helpful to people of all ages around the world!
Susan Lombardo
Kidpower North Carolina Instructor
Susan has a master’s degree and certification in Rehabilitation Counseling and most recently served high school students in an Exceptional Children program as the transition facilitator and licensed teacher. As a counselor, educator, career coach, and job developer, Susan has worked with adults and adolescents with disabilities and their families for over 35 years. She was introduced to Kidpower in 2016 when observing MJ Hayes teach personal safety strategies to her students with disabilities.  Susan was struck by the students’ enthusiasm for the material and eagerness to engage in the practice.  And that moment was when Susan decided she wanted to teach Kidpower, too!
Maryse Postelwaite
Kidpower Board Member & Instructor
Conflict Resolution Consultant & Montessori Educator
For over 35 years, Maryse has worked with adults and children, drawing from rich resources, to enhance collaboration, to enrich communication, and to better manage conflict resolution. She has been a presenter at numerous national and international conferences.
In addition to her rich Montessori experience, she has received training in Children’s Creative Response to Conflict, Positive Discipline, Non-violent Communication, Be An Amazing Trainer, Kidpower, Mindfulness, and Cultivating Authentic Communication.

More about our other team members coming soon!

Zaida Torres
Center Director Kidpower Mexico
 Ana Fernanda Uribe
Center Director Kidpower Ecuador
 Ellen Frankel
Senior Program Leader
Roxana Marroquin
Co-Center Director Kidpower Guatemala
John Luna-Sparks
Instructor Kidpower California
Verónica N’Haux
Collaborator Kidpower Argentina
María Isabel Chávez
Instructor Kidpower Ecuador
Marc Meilleur
Senior Instructor Kidpower Québec
Jeff Luna-Sparks
Instructor Kidpower California

Explore our online courses now!

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