The New York Yankees and more than 1,000 students from eight local elementary and middle schools joined advocates, educators and law enforcement to raise awareness and prevent sexual abuse during the fourth annual Kids Care Walk. The walk is in partnership with Lauren’s Kids, creator of the nation’s first-ever, Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12, school-based prevention curriculum called Safer, Smarter Schools, used by both Bronx and Manhattan schools. Sponsored by the New York Yankees, the curriculum cultivated student advocacy and reflects the positive impacts and personal empowerment students learn from the program.
“Using this curriculum has completely shifted the way we perceive and respond to threats against children,” says Principal Luis Torres from C.S. 55. “By using the Safer, Smarter Schools curriculum our educators, families and students have a comprehensive way to recognize the signs of abuse, so they can prevent and report unsafe situations. We are incredibly grateful to Lauren’s Kids for developing this invaluable resource.”
Inspired by an annual 1,500-mile advocacy walk across Florida completed by Lauren’s Kids Founder and CEO, Florida State Senator Lauren Book, the students took their message of empowerment and safety to the streets. The Kids Care Walk started with one school in 2014. Today’s event had more than 1,000 students from M.S. 363, C.S. 55, P.S. 132, P.S. 58, P.S. 55, P.S. 218, P.S. 114 and P.S. 73. The walk begins at one school and adds students along the way completing the walk at Yankee Stadium. Participants were invited by the Yankees to stay the afternoon for their game against the Seattle Mariners.
While walking, students chanted “Whose streets?” “OUR STREETS”, “Lace up! Speak up! Stop Child Abuse!” and “Calling Safe, Keeping Safe!” The streets were filled with young advocates who were walking to show their community that their voices matter and send the message that all children deserve to be safe.
As part of the Kids Care Walk, more than 200 Hope and Healing guides and copies of the children’s book Lauren’s Kingdom were donated to Safe Horizon, the Bronx’s local children’s advocacy center.The book teaches children that “if you’re choking back tears and your heart’s filled with fears, you know very well, it’s OK to tell” and has helped children find their voice to disclose abuse.
About Safer, Smarter Schools
The curriculum was developed by Lauren’s Kids, a multidisciplinary team of educators and developmental psychologists to teach children critical personal safety information in a developmentally and age appropriate way. Safer, Smarter Schools includes both Safer, Smarter Kids (K – 5th) and Safer, Smarter Teens (6th – 12th), evidence-based, pedagogically sound, spiral curriculum programs that age-appropriately scaffold information from one grade to the next. Students learn how to identify “safe” and “unsafe” situations, people and secrets based on how each these things make them feel. In older grades, it addresses issues adolescents face in relationships with peers and adults, such as balance of power, enforcing boundaries and the grooming process. To learn more visit https://laurenskids.org/education/.