Empowering Children to Protect Themselves
The WHO® Program has been adopted by public school systems, private schools, organizations and religious groups all over the United States. Curriculum spans from pre-school – 12th grade, encouraging learning through age-appropriate videos, discussion topics, situational problem solving and follow-up activities.
WHO® was developed by Mental Health America of Greater Dallas (MHA Dallas) in 1981. It was designed to prevent the likelihood of child victimization by building children’s ability to analyze strange or dangerous situations. WHO® is a series of research-based curricula that are formed on sensitive, non-threatening content and methodology. WHO® Training prepares school counselors, child advocates, nurses, teachers, case workers and volunteers to present WHO® in classroom settings for Kindergarten – 12th Grade. Follow-up materials and evaluation instruments are also included in the WHO® Program materials.
We are committed to empowering children and adolescents to stay safe and happy and make good decisions based on knowledge and a strong internal value system – educating them to know what to do and who to tell in dangerous situations.
What is WHO®?
WHO® (We Help Ourselves) is an education program that helps children and teenagers learn how to avoid victimization such as child abuse and neglect, violent assault, sexual harassment, kidnapping, peer pressure, domestic violence and emotional abuse.
The message of WHO® is simple:
- KNOW – Recognize potentially dangerous situations; learn and practice personal safety rules to help avoid risk.
- DO – Have a plan of action; think ahead about what to do in a scary, dangerous or uncomfortable situation.
- TELL – Ask someone you trust for help; it’s important to tell someone about situations that are uncomfortable.
How Does WHO® Help?
WHO® presentations allow learning in a fun, interesting and non-threatening manner with age- tiered curricula through:
- Use of DVDs and puppets (K – 2nd Grade)
- Classroom discussions led by trained facilitators in settings of 15 to 30 children
- Use of follow-up materials to reinforce the learning techniques for personal safety
Benefits for Children & Teens
With the WHO® Program, children and teenagers learn:
- To develop appropriate decision-making and communication skills
- To see themselves as capable, worthy human beings who do not deserve abuse of any kind
- To understand they are not to blame should they experience victimization
- To adopt courage, respect, confidence and tolerance as they interact with peers and adults
Our partner organizations documented presenting the WHO® Program to an annual average of over 155,000 children in 3 states.
The WHO® Program is designed to provide developmental and academic guidance for all students and to meet the Texas education requirements codified by the 77th Legislature through the passage of SB 518 and SB 158. Furthermore, Dallas Independent School District has mandated WHO® be presented to all elementary students within their Guidance & Counseling Curriculum because the WHO Program correlates directly with the Texas Education Agency’s Guidance & Counseling Program Model.
The classroom lessons are sequenced to promote the greatest cognitive development and use research-based platforms such as Bloom’s Cognitive Taxonomy (a classification of the different objectives and skills that educators set for students), Jean Piaget’s four developmental states of learning (infancy, pre-school, childhood and adolescence) and Dunn & Dunn’s research on Learning Styles. In addition, the WHO® Program is aligned with the American Psychological Association’s best practice guidelines for children’s mental health.
Where is WHO®?
Over the past 30 years, the WHO® Program has gained the respect and attention of school districts, crisis intervention centers, shelters, hospitals, private schools, churches and family outreach centers. The program is currently being used in more than 150 sites and organizations in Texas, Missouri and New Mexico. The WHO® Program has grown historically through word-of-mouth to more than 40 school districts in Texas.
To view school counselor resources click here.