March 23, 2007
A local karate center held a training session tonight to teach kids what to do if a stranger approaches them.
It's estimated that 2100 children end up missing each day. The local kids who attended tonight's session now know some quick techniques to cut their odds of being kidnapped in half.
Instructor Jennifer Siegel and other karate experts were there to teach the kids self defense tactics, ways that could help prevent them from being abducted.
"When a child goes missing, it's a very small chance that they'll be returned safely," Siegel said.
The session is called Stranger Danger. Siegel says that the workshop has been proven effective in the past, and many children have benefited from it.
"We're just trying to educate people and the kids that are here. They're learning discipline, focus, and at the same time they're learning about strangers too."
"As a parent these days, you never really feel like they're totally safe," said Lisa Emery, whose son and daughter both participated.
During one of the demonstrations, her son Hamilton was frightened by one of the instructors.
Emery says because of that, hopefully he will now know how to react if a real child abductor tried to kidnap him.
"I'm actually glad that it did (scare him)," she said. "I want him to recognize that feeling of fear, know what it feels like and know what to do."
Mike Mitchell's two little girls are in karate already. He says he signed them up for their added protection, so that if he's not around, they will know exactly what to do.
"You never know when they can be taken," he said. "In a split second you turn around and they can be lost in the store, and you don't know if they are lost or floating around in the store...and when that happens, you know, it scares you for a while until you see them."
"I think they will even talk to their friends about it, you know when they go to school, you know talk about Stranger Danger," said grandparent Louvenia Banks. "I think it's good."
For some of the kids who participated, it was simply a good time...but most of them took away the intended message.
"You don't go near strangers," said Jasmine Mitchell.
"Grab their leg and then start to kick them," Amanda Mitchell said.
"I will go down to the ground and I will pull until he cannot get me, and then I will run away, but if he catches me again then I will just yell for my mommy or daddy or nana or papa," Dahlia Edwards said.
The instructors are hoping to have more sessions like this one down the road.
They are hoping that if one child can be saved then the free training they provide is worthwhile.