June 13, 2018

On today's show we talk with Alli Neal, the Co-Founder of Revved Up Kids, a nonprofit in Atlanta, Georgia.  And later in the show Bruce Gale brings us the second part of an interview with Ana Humphrey, an 11th-grade student from Virginia. 

Stranger danger doesn’t cut it anymore.  Stranger abductions are rare. Your children are much more likely to be abused by someone they know - and kids don’t always know they are in danger.

Roughly 90 percent of offenders are relatives of their victim, or acquaintances such as neighbors, family friends, teachers, and coaches.

So how do you protect your child?

The best prevention involves having somewhat difficult conversations with your child.  Talk to your children about inappropriate behavior, inappropriate touching, sexual abuse, physical limits, not keeping secrets and how to use their voice.

Trust your gut if it's telling you someone is not right.  That includes the neighbor or the person from church who is overly eager to help you out by babysitting or just taking your kid off your hands. Having a bad vibe is not necessarily enough to make a crime report, but it's plenty to justify your not allowing that person access to your child.

It's also crucial to become acquainted with your children's friends. Pay special attention to friendships involving older kids, which can lead to vulnerable situations. More than a third of those who sexually abuse children are under the age of 18 themselves. 

Using apps and websites where kids interact, predators may pose as a child or teen looking to make a new friend. Parents need to be aware of what their kids see and hear on the Internet, who they meet, and what they share about themselves. Talk with your kids, use tools to protect them, and keep an eye on their activities.

Many Internet service providers (ISPs) provide parent-control options. You can also purchase software that helps block access to sites and restricts personal information from being sent online.

This brings us to today's highlighted charity...

Revved Up Kids
Revved Up Kids

Revved Up Kids is an Atlanta-based organization that works to equip children and teens to respond effectively to predators and violent attackers. They provide workshops around the Atlanta area that teach personal safety and self-defense for children and teens.  Revved Up Kids partner with private groups, charitable organizations and public organizations that serve children.  @RevvedUpKids

Their goal is to shine a light on the criminals who prey on children, to educate parents about who they are and how they operate, and to make sure that all children know they’re allowed to say no and to defend themselves if they are ever the target of a predator.

It is their belief that the easiest target for a predator is the child who doesn’t know predators exist, and their training teaches kids who predators are, how they operate, and how to respond if they meet a predator. Their training provides parents with a comfortable way to open a dialogue with their children about sexual abuse, and helps children understand the issue in a non-frightening way.

Bev had the opportunity to visit a Revved Up Kids class and talk with Alli Neal, the Co-Founder.

On today’s Kid Heroes segment, Bruce Gale brings us the second part of an interview with Ana Humphrey, an 11th-grade student from Virginia. 

One of her greatest accomplishments is a program called Watershed Warriors. What began as a class project when Ana was in seventh grade has since become a nonprofit organization. Watershed Warriors focuses on serving children in high-poverty and racially and ethnically diverse schools and works with the National Parks Service and local organizations to get students into wetlands to learn science, have fun, increase their environmental knowledge, and serve their communities.  Through the program, high school students pair with local fifth graders to promote environmental awareness with hands-on experiments in community wetlands.  She was one of Virginia’s Outstanding STEM award recipients for 2018.  @vawatershedwarriors