New Diocese of Texas curriculum empowers kindergarten to 7th graders

Training meant to help youth stay safe

[Diocese of Texas press release] New programs to help children and youth keep themselves safe have recently been released, the Rev. Canon Carol Petty, canon for wellness & pastoral care/safe church minister for the Diocese of Texas has announced.A new curriculum for K-4

A new curriculum for K-4th grade and 5th -7th grade, “I KNOW! Myself. My Boundaries. My Responses,” is online here and available at no charge as an empowering program for children and youth, their ministry leaders, teachers and parents. A Spanish version will be available in 2018.

In 2003, the Episcopal Church directed each diocese to develop and adopt policies for the protection of children and youth from abuse. By the end of that year, the Diocese of Texas had helped Church Pension Group develop some of the first Safeguarding God’s Children materials and has, in the last 14 years, trained tens of thousands of people in the prevention of sexual abuse to children and youth. The I KNOW! curriculum is an extension of this work that will give children the tools they need to help protect themselves. There is also a program called Safeguarding God’s People for adults.

“The question of how we help children keep themselves safe kept coming to my attention so I spoke to parishes and schools about creating safe and healthy environments,” said Petty. “I gathered a team of passionate and gifted folks to create a curriculum and I’m very pleased with the results.  I know this will be a gift from the diocese to ministry leaders, teachers, parents and the children they love and serve.”

“Our prayer is that young people will recognize their inherent personal worth and feel empowered to protect themselves in uncomfortable situations,” she said.

I KNOW! materials can be adapted to any context, and include a facilitator’s guide, short videos and worksheets.  Students learn that they are valuable and beloved children of God, the importance of boundaries and they discuss and role-play potential responses to uncomfortable situations.

“We expect that I KNOW! will be used broadly in various settings across the Diocese and the wider church,” said Bishop Andy Doyle. “There’s nothing else like it out there, and we are certain it will strengthen students’ confidence when responding to situations that may be uncomfortable.”

The I KNOW! team includes volunteers Morgan Stokes, Middle School Chaplain at St Stephen’s Episcopal School, Austin; Ashley Brandon, Lower School Chaplain at St. Andrews Episcopal School, Austin; Amanda Wischkaemper, Children’s Ministry Director at St. David’s Austin;  Sam Hensley, Director of Music and Mission at Good Shepherd on the Hill, Austin; Cheryl Rosier, PhD, LPC; Suzette Puckett, Founder/Director of Summer Performing Arts, Austin; and Gavin Tatro of Carve Editorial, Austin. Students at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Austin and Summer Performing Arts students appeared in the videos and photographs.

Contact Petty with any questions at cpetty@epicenter.org.

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