The vision of Safe Sitter® is every child should be safe. In 2014, when we began allowing Independent Instructors to teach, we did so with our vision in mind. More trained Instructors mean more children are taught to be safe.
Kristi Murphy from Crawford, Texas used to teach Safe Sitter® at a Teaching Site but now she’s an Independent Instructor. She admits there are challenges to being her own Teaching Site, Site Coordinator, and Instructor all rolled into one, but the challenges are well worth it.
“Before I became a Site Coordinator, all I had to do was show up and teach,” said Kristi. “Now finding a location to teach, marketing the class, organizing, setting up, and teaching all falls on my shoulders. It’s been a challenge, but I feel strongly about the program content and am so happy to offer it to the Waco area.”
For years, Kristi has taught American Heart Association CPR and First Aid classes in her home and at local clinics in her area. However, when she became an Independent Instructor, teaching Safe Sitter® classes at home was not possible as every Instructor agrees to adhere to a Youth Protection Policy which prohibits teaching in private residences. As a new Independent Instructor, Kristi said her biggest challenge initially was finding locations to teach her classes. That all changed when she was able to capitalize on a long-standing community connection: the daycare her three, now-grown, children attended.
“I’ve also been teaching CPR and First Aid to the staff for many years,” Kristi said. The daycare center allows her to use their facility to teach, and they advertise her Safe Sitter® classes to parents. “It’s a way for them to say, ‘We want your kids to be safe at home too’,” said Kristi, who appreciates just how the daycare center promotes Safe Sitter® to parents as a way to help their older children safely care for their younger children.
Additionally, Kristi has found churches that are willing to offer space to teach. As an Independent Instructor, she’s discovered that once organizations learn more about what Safe Sitter® offers, “Everybody is all over it,” she said. She’s also partnering with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service McLennan County, a Registered Safe Sitter® Teaching Site. She reached out to them after researching sites that might be in need of more Instructors.
“We were able to work together to meet the needs of a different demographic than I was marketing to,” said Kristi. “Texas AgriLife is non-profit and does not charge a fee for their classes. We had to discuss how this partnership would work to benefit both of us while still meeting the requirements of the non-profit organization.”
Although teaching Safe Sitter® may be a part of Kristi’s livelihood, it’s her passion first and foremost. She tells the story of one parent whose own difficult experience motivates her to keep teaching. “I had a parent tell me that when she was a teenager and babysat for family friends regularly, she was put in a dangerous and very uncomfortable position that she was unsure how to deal with at the time,” said Kristi, “She wants her daughter to take the Safe Sitter® class to better prepare her dealing with any emergency.”
Although Kristi found this parent’s story heartbreaking, it made her realize how glad she was that a program like Safe Sitter® exists. She especially values the Safety Signal that enables kids in uncomfortable situations to say to their parents or another trusted adult, “I’m ready to be picked up now.”, with no questions asked.
“I’m so passionate about Safe Sitter® because there’s no telling how many kids it has helped with different situations. It empowers students to be able to deal with situations out of the normal,” Kristi said.