Nonprofit trains 10,000th child in class to deter predators - North Atlanta Business Post
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Updated Nov 14 @ 1:05PM
 

Nonprofit trains 10,000th child in class to deter predators

Revved Up Kids on a mission to eliminate abuse

REVVED UP KIDS
Revved Up Kids co-founder David Neal works with one of the children learning skills to avoid being a victim of child predators.
Posted

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Revved Up Kids, a Johns Creek nonprofit that provides training programs on the topic of child sexual abuse and exploitation, marked an important milestone in September.

The organization announced it had trained its 10,000th child, a student at Fickett Elementary School in Atlanta.

Since 2010, Revved Up Kids has offered unique training programs to groups in metropolitan Atlanta and North Georgia. It offers mobile, single-session personal safety and violence prevention training programs for Atlanta area children ages 5-19, for parents and for youth-serving organizations.

“We understand how challenging it is for parents to open up about this topic with their children,” said co-founder Alli Neal.

“But, we also know that the easiest target for a predator is the child who doesn’t know predators exist. Our training is about equipping children and helping parents and youth-serving organizations take steps to protect them.”

The idea behind Revved Up Kids came to Neal in 2009, when she said she felt a calling from God to do something to protect children from abuse.

Neal, and her husband, David, set out to learn more about the subject.

The found little information to help them.

“There’s not an education path for this,” Alli said. “That was the hardest part of all, was God said ‘Go and do,’ and we had to figure out what that meant. It took me a year and a half from the time I felt God was making this call to the time we actually launched a business.”

That was no easy task. The Neals had to dig deep for any research into the best methods to teach kids how to combat abuse.

“Nobody’s doing this,” Alli said. “We were not only starting a business, we were starting a category. “

She said there are a lot of organizations and agencies that provide services to help restore victims after abuse takes place, but there aren’t any organizations in Atlanta that are full-time focused on prevention.

There are police agencies that provide training through another national organization called radKIDS, which teaches children how to recognize, avoid, resist, and if necessary escape violence or harm in their lives.

To establish a working curriculum for the classes, the Neals looked to experts in child sexual abuse and child molestation.

The list was almost exclusively the high-profile people – people like John Walsh, who started the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children after his child was kidnapped and murdered.

The Neals had to do a lot of self-educating through reading materials that were produced by experts in the field. They also attended conferences on child abuse prevention and spoke with others who were operating similar child training programs in other parts of the country.

They developed their own handbook and test marketed the program to area children and groups. After receiving feedback, they adjusted the presentation, then put it into practice.

“We did do an evidence study with the University of Georgia School of Public Health to ensure that what we’re teaching is actually working, and it is, thankfully,” Alli said.

The results of that study are being presented by their researcher next month at the annual conference of the American Public Health Association.

The Neals have relied heavily on word of mouth to schedule programs at schools, civic organizations and other groups who deal with youth. They charge a fee to most groups, but they also receive grant funding for other presentations.

Neal said the training at Fickett Elementary was made possible by a Fulton Community Services Program grant that allows the nonprofit to reach economically disadvantaged children whose parents cannot afford to pay tuition.

To learn more about Revved Up Kids training, or to support Revved Up Kids with a donation, visit www.revvedupkids.org or call 678-526-3335.

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