radKIDS Inc. Program

By Theresa Petry,

December 14, 2007, 7:22 PM CST

It's a unique self defense class that caters to children. The stepfather of Shawn Hornbeck, the boy abducted by Michael Devlin and held captive for five years, says he wishes he'd known about the program, radKIDS, years earlier. 

"No! No!," yells the class taking a defensive stance.

Shawn Hornbeck's step-father, Craig Akers, along with a handful of educators and officers from across the midwest and one local police officer from O'Fallon, Illinois spent 30 hours doing drills like that.

They learned the tricks of predators and how to empower children to stop any attack. "It's a hands on activity based training program that teaches children what to do enhancing their natural instincts in danger," stated the executive director of radKIDS Inc., Stephen Daley.

Daley, a former cop, started the program 7 years ago after responding to a heartbreaking call. "One night I happened to show up and there was a little 6-year-old girl who'd been hurt badly by a man and she looked me right in the eye and said to me where were you? And I've never forgotten that, he said with tears welling up in his eyes.

Craig Akers wonders how things might be different if Shawn had taken the class. "If Shawn, if Ben, if this kid or that kid had this course, very possibly the outcomes would have been dramatically different," confided Akers.

"We've had 40 saves from abduction, 2500 saves from sexual assault so we're doing a lot and now we're doing a lot in the bullying area as well," reported Daley.

There is one question that boggles many parents about this program. "When they see the program they say why is this not in every school? That's the number one comment because it makes sense," Daley said.

The Hornbeck Foundation hopes to teach the skills to as many as they can. "We're planning on taking this program back to the foundation, adding it to our list of programs, and being able to offer it in the St. Louis Metro area," said Akers.

The goal is to have it available after the first of the year. If you would like more information on radKIDS Inc. go to http://www.radkids.org

If you'd like to contact the Hornbeck Foundation log onto http://www.shawnhornbeckfoundation.com
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