Free radKIDS® sessions help keep kids safe, strong this summer

Stranger danger is a real concern. Sadly, strangers are not the only ones who harm children.

“We want children to know no one is allowed to hurt them, trick them, or make them feel bad inside, even if it’s a trusted adult,” said Tegan Stynoski, RN, Carle Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence program coordinator.

As a radKIDS® instructor, she empowers children with real-life training so they can protect themselves from real-life dangers, like how to tell a good touch from a bad one, to tell a trusted adult if they are being harmed, and to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency. Sometimes, those lessons involve kids physically defending themselves.

“It’s important for the kids to understand the difference between a fight with their brother or sister and a fight for their life,” Stynoski said.

Register today for FREE radKIDS® training July 9 to 13. Sessions for 5- to 7-year-olds are 9 – 11 a.m. with sessions for 8- to 12-year-olds from 1 – 3 p.m. at the Carle Conference West Center, on the corner of University and Lincoln in Urbana. Please complete parental consent and wellness forms by July 2.

Over five days, armed with knowledge and confidence, kids make positive choices for their own safety.

Stynoski cares for children in Carle’s Emergency Department who survive violent crimes. She says the training provides realistic choices and options for children and parents to avoid and/or escape violence and harm in their daily lives.

“My goal is to see kids now so I can avoid seeing them later in our Emergency Department. I want to help prevent more kids from getting hurt in any way,” she said.

Teaching safety from the child’s perspective is the strength of the radKIDS program. In the 17 years since the radKIDS program launched, almost 200 program participants saved themselves from attempted abductions.

Carle’s investment last year trained 20 key child safety advocates in Champaign and Piatt counties in the radKIDS model to reduce violence against children and to prepare kids to handle emergencies and to act safely.

“We guide the kids in making their own radKIDS plans to stay safe out in the world,” Stynoski said. “They learn the physical skills necessary to escape dangerous and violent situations. Kids gain decision-making skills and self-confidence that will serve them throughout their lives.”

For more information and to register for the radKIDS® course, email Tegan Stynoski or call her at 217-326-6601.