Safety Tree is celebrating our 5 year anniversary with the launch of our Virtual Classroom!
This will be a year to remember that is for sure. We have had to pivot these last 6 weeks to fill the need in our communities in a new way. We are happy with the results and feedback that we have received from students and parents but it has definitely been a stressful time.
I thought this would be a great opportunity to share a little bit about myself as the owner and to thank you for supporting us when you register your child for one of our programs.
Why did I choose to call the company Safety Tree?
Trees symbolize exploring and spreading your wings. I didn’t know what direction the company would go in and thought that all the branches and leaves would be new growth and not limit the types of education we could offer.
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 life 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 of months I had my business license, insurance, website(with the help of a patient friend) and curriculum materials. I started booking space at local venues(Oxford Learning Centres were kind enough to allow us to use their space for free to support a local entrepreneur). Advertising was probably one of the most challenging parts of a new business you have to develop a reputation and trust for students to attend classes. Sharing our new offerings through Facebook, and family/friends 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, the 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.
Fast forward to 2020, we have a total of 4 other courses to cater to the needs of the communities and gone virtual. We offer 2 additional courses 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 noticeable increase in anxiety in the classroom and the need for coping strategies to manage in day to day life, we introduced Mindful Kids and Mindful Teens courses and workshops.
What I have learned is 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 emails about how their child’s confidence has grown and how much knowledge they retained.
I am incredibly lucky to have a supportive family, friends and the Safety Tree team that contribute to the success of this company each and every day! The best parts of my job are being able to work with some of the most talented dedicated women, help children and parents in our local communities to be safe and to work a flexible schedule that allows me more time with my family than a typical job. ❤️