Reflecting on Lynn’s collaboration with KidSafe
By Taryn Super,
From fall 2020 to spring 2021, members of Lynn Drama collaborated with KidSafe Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse, by providing voice-overs for the organization’s latest animated videos within their new Stay KidSafe!™ Program.
For the past two years, Lynn has had the honor of collaborating with KidSafe. The local group educates children and parents on how to identify, prevent and handle the wide range of dangerous situations that children could encounter, like sexual abuse, online exploitation and human trafficking.
Founded in 2009, KidSafe works hard to educate children on these difficult topics by creating age-appropriate courses taught at schools across America. Along with courses designed for children, the organization has classes available for parents and professionals so they can be educated on how to keep children safe.
“KidSafe protects children and families from child sexual abuses, online exploitation and trafficking by providing them with education with lifelong tools to stay safe,” said Cherie Benjoseph, the chief program officer and cofounder of KidSafe. “The CDC looks at the issue of child sexual abuse as a public health crisis for children and the best way to address it is through education. Education for yes, children, but also importantly for the adults responsible for keeping children safe.”
The collaboration between KidSafe and Lynn began when Madison Slate, Lynn’s director of special projects, reached out to KidSafe after the organization hosted classes at her daughter’s school. When KidSafe decided to create animated cartoons for its new Stay KidSafe!™ Program, they reached out to Lynn’s drama department looking for volunteers to provide voice-overs for animated characters.
After holding auditions, the selected students began voice recording their lines. Thanks to the joint effort, KidSafe was able to create its 3D animations on a tight budget while the Lynn students were able to get experience with voice acting.
“This whole process in general, which was having scripts made and then having people do voice-overs, it was a learning experience, not just for the students but for us. So, the students for sure all gained a tremendous amount of skills in the area of voice over and development of characters,” said Benjoseph.
One of the Lynn drama students who voice acted for KidSafe’s animations was CristaMarie DeVito. DeVito volunteered to get experience within voice acting and was selected for the character Jada, a young girl who stands up for her personal safety.
By working with KidSafe, DeVito learned how to use different levels of her voice to provide voices for multiple characters and learned the importance of having good communication with one’s higher ups due to her often being alone when recording her lines.
Along with gaining skills, DeVito gained an appreciation for KidSafe teaching children by using the language of safety. She is proud to have played a role in the organization’s mission.
“I’m very proud to have worked with KidSafe. I love their mission and I love the way they go about their mission,” said DeVito. “They’re taking a topic that is very difficult and very taboo [that] people sometimes don’t receive well, but I know what they’re doing is really important and I know that they’re protecting a lot of kids. And to be a part of that is very rewarding.”
With the Stay KidSafe!™ Program completed, KidSafe is excited and proud that this new program is available for children to experience and learn from. After working with Lynn to create the Stay KidSafe!™ Program animations, KidSafe is excited for the chance to work with Lynn again.
“We hope that with the Stay KidSafe!™ Program being a finished project, that we reach thousands upon thousands of students and teachers with this safety project,” said Benjoseph. “From a Lynn University standpoint, we hope to move forward and be introduced to the department of education, and we have trainings other than the KidSafe training that we can help prepare future educators for their future jobs.”
While child sexual assault used to be considered a taboo topic, KidSafe is working hard to make people comfortable with the topic and tries to educate everyone on the issue.
“KidSafe’s goal is to just continue to make people comfortable with the topic so that it is not taboo and doesn’t have to be scary. It’s very empowering, its empowering for parents, it’s empowering for teachers, and it especially empowering for children,” said Benjoseph.
If you would like to volunteer at KidSafe visit the organization’s website, KidSafeFoundation.org, and click on the Contact Us page. From being a social media assistant to volunteering at tables at health fairs, the organization has a wide range of ways to get involved.
If you or someone you know was a victim of child sexual assault, call RAINN, the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-658-4673.