Could simple rhymes actually help protect kids from predators?"
Brenda Zofrea, mom, author, teacher and child safety advocate, says, "Yes!"
She has created a unique program based on her book, "LET'S B SAFE." Along with a plush BE SAFE Bumblebee and the full support of her community leaders she has helped educate and protect over 5,000 children from sexual predators.
Dawn Lengel, Coordinator of Community Involvement for the Manatee County School District, says, "We believe Let's B Safe is the only program in the State of Florida, and possibly the nation, that combines predator safety with promoting literacy. The fact that it's majority funded via community dollars and community participation is a big plus for our school district."
To see the video of Manatee County's school district using the Let's B Safe program, please click this link: http://www.manatee.k12.fl.us/community/B_Safe.html
Brenda has turned her book and bees into an award-winning community involvement initiative that has put over 200 trained volunteer readers into 198 classrooms all in one day. This program is so popular with parents, educators, law enforcement and children, that volunteers sign up a year in advance to participate.
"Let's B Safe has not only helped keep my daughter safe when she was younger, but it has given her a foundation of safety for a lifetime," says single mother of two Sandra Arts, West Chester, PA.
The realistic and culturally inclusive illustrations, combined with the selectively worded text and rhymes to promote phonemic awareness skills, ensures this book helps teachers reach the 1 out of every 5 students coming from homes where English is not their first language. With disabled children sexually abused at rates greater than their non-disabled peers, parents and teachers will also find this a helpful tool at home and in the classroom.
"It's a different world than when we were growing up, therefore we must parent differently. Many parents don't know where to start with this potentially scary topic - the book and the bee helps them get the job done," said Brenda Zofrea. This unique program is an added resource for law enforcement. Prevention education works and this program can easily be replicated in other public schools and parochial schools by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
"This program helps us reach a population we are not currently able to reach through our School Resource Officers," says Lt. J. Murrell.
Brenda has taught intensive/remedial reading to high school students - many of whom had been or were being sexually abused. Children who are being abused at home have difficulty staying focused and learning in school. Children who don't master phonemic awareness skills before 3rd grade typically struggle with reading throughout their school career. "These are some of the reasons we are targeting first graders throughout our school district with this program," said Zofrea.
The Let's B Safe Program and Brenda's workshops are perfect for other vulnerable children such as the children of teen parents, children growing up in single-family homes and on military bases, children being raised by their grandparents and incarcerated mothers of young children. "For many of our students, it's the only book they may have in their home for them to read," said Zofrea.
Children are given the books and bees for free from the school district's educational foundation, which is funded by voluntary contributions from the communities they service. To get this program in your school, contact Brenda@letsbsafe.com
Brenda's mission is to help reach these vulnerable and underserved children with literacy and safety.
Pictured: Wayne Poston, Mayor of Bradenton reading the Lets B Safe guide to a classroom of children