IMPACT, a nonprofit organization located in Malden, MA, offers some of the most powerful safety skills training available for children in the Boston area. Sessions teach children tools for handling everything from the most violent safety threats to everyday situations at school. While many parents talk to their children about safety today and may even provide specific advice for handling incidents, conversations at home can only get children so far. It’s easy for kids to think clearly in the safety of their own homes.
What is unique about IMPACT is its innovative approach to instruction. During IMPACT courses, instructors simulate realistic scenarios that provide children with live opportunities to practice verbal and physical self-defense. Instructors show children how to remain calm and act rationally under high anxiety. “We provide kids with something they can do in the moment when they’re being threatened or faced with unhealthy circumstances,” says Director Meg Stone.
Although physical force is seen as a last resort, IMPACT believes that children who are equipped with these skills project more confidence in their verbal strategies. Therefore students are trained in self-defense but taught to de-escalate situations with words first.
KidSAFE, an 8-hour course for children ages 7 – 9, covers strategies for resisting peer pressure and bullying. In addition, students learn to identify trustworthy adults in their lives. IMPACT does not give students a list of reliable people. Instead, children are taught how to distinguish between safe and unsafe adults. They are also trained to be assertive. Children strengthen their memory skills so they can give specific reports when necessary.
During KidSAFE, trained, padded instructors play the role of verbal and physical abusers, and students practice resistance techniques. KidSAFE will be held on Saturday, February 26 (12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.) and Sunday, February 27 (12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.) at the IMPACT Training Center at 420 Pearl Street in Malden. Register online here!
Another class will be held in Millis in March. IMPACT also offers private group courses. Instructors will even travel to a space more convenient for you. “We see teaching children safety skills as part of a bigger picture,” Stone explains. “Everyone has a role to play in the community.” For more information, contact Meg Stone at 781-321-3900.