Stephanie Belsher | Ontario | Children's Safety!

www.safetytreecanada.com

 

What is Safety Tree?

 

Safety Tree is a safety education company that I established in May 2015. Having worked with children and youth my whole life, and after returning from a 9 year stint in Japan, I went back to working in Early Childhood Education. I quickly became bored because I didn’t have much freedom financially, time wise or control over the curriculum. With $500 CAD to spare I started brainstorming ideas to leave my job but still work in education. The children in Japan were very independent and I didn’t see the same number of children here in Canada developing the types of skills and confidence to make logical choices at such a young age.

 

I remember as a tween getting my Babysitting Course Certificate, I was so excited to start my first job but I was looking for something to educate children even younger. I came across a program called Home Alone Safety for Kids for 9 -12 year olds and contacted the founders about becoming a training partner. The program had only been sold to organizations not independent people, but after providing my resume and experience, along with my passion for children’s education, they agreed to approve our partnership. I researched how to start my own business; reading articles online, talking to friends that were business owners and attending workshops. Within a couple months I had my business license, insurance and materials. I had studied the materials and felt I was ready. I started booking space at local venues and advertising for students to attend my classes through Facebook. It started out small with 5-8 students in a class but it didn’t take long for those numbers to grow as the word spread.

 

A few months later I was ready to add the Red Cross Babysitting Course and go at this full time. I had to create a business plan for Red Cross to prove that I knew the market etc, it seemed like the next step for the students after the Home Alone Safety for Kids class so I thought it would be easy to get repeat clients. Most of my family and friends thought I was crazy to quit a full time job with benefits because the risks were just too uncertain. SOS4Kids helped me a lot to understand the benefits of being self employed and pursuing a dream. I had one particular support that was very close to me, and saw how passionate I was about this new business and believed in me. After a lot of conversations I decided to ask for a leave of absence for 6 months from my full time job to make sure I could make a go of this full time. Unfortunately or fortunately, they didn’t accept my request and I was forced to resign or continue working. Within hours I had sent off my resignation feeling nervous but excited about where the road ahead would lead.

 

Over the next 6 months I built partnerships with Oxford Learning Centres, Sobeys, Private Schools, City of Kitchener, City of Waterloo and Wilmot Township. We expanded offering our programs in 4 or 5 towns/cities and got approval to distribute our materials through some of the local school boards.

 

Soon it became too much for me to do on my own. I began my search to find qualified Teachers, Early Childhood Educators and Social Workers to deliver the courses with lots of experience and passion for what they do. We have trained about 30 teachers so far and are currently in the Waterloo Region, Brant County, Wellington County, Ottawa and the Valley, Renfrew County, Gatineau, Montreal, Toronto etc. We have added 4 other courses to cater to the needs of the communities. We offer 2 more course through SOS4Kids My Safe Life – Personal Safety for children ages 6-9yrs and Safety for Independent Living Course for young adults with learning challenges. With the increase of online activity in children,and requests from parents we became a partner of Cyber Smart Canada to offer Digital Superhero Training 8-11yrs and Surviving the Digital Jungle 12-14yrs.

 

Once your business is going well enough that you have some extra cash hire people to do your website, advertising and bookkeeping. Spend your time doing what you shine at, get out there and be the face of your business, work hard and the benefits will come. There is nothing better than hearing the children talk about how much fun they had and the parents sending me emails about how their child’s confidence has grown and how much knowledge they retained.

 

I am incredibly lucky to have a supportive family and team that contribute to the success of this company each and everyday. For more information or classes near you visit www.safetytreecanada.com

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