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Susan Whaley and Stacey Hoffman were Special Education teachers when they met in 1991 and together they became alarmed by two distressing circumstances concerning the students they were working with:
The high rate of abuse affecting students with developmental disabilities,
The lack of educational options for abuse prevention and student empowerment to address the problem abuse.
THEIR WORK BEGAN!
In 1998, Susan and Stacey founded the Safe Life Coalition to develop teaching strategies and educational materials to reduce the risk of victimization and re-victimization of their students and others.
In 2002, along with Hyun-Sook Park, they received U.S. Department of Education funding and created the Safe Life Project (SLP). The project produced research-based lessons on personal safety and abuse prevention for students with developmental disabilities and students with autism. It provided training and workshops to educators, support agencies and families and also disseminated information to raise awareness.
When the 4-year funding period ended in 2006, Stacey and Susan returned to teaching positions and also worked through Safe Life Coalition (SLC) to continue to develop and modify educational materials and to provide services to individuals with disabilities, their families, and support agencies.
In November 2016, Susan and Stacey helped to form the Safe Life Project Non-Profit Organization. This non-profit provides classes for students with disabilities regarding the problem of abuse, personal safety/abuse prevention/reporting, and skills for healthy relationships & overall well-being.
SLC has continued to present at conferences across the nation and abroad; develop programs for schools and support agencies; consult with educators, universities, families and support agencies; and develop specific tools to help individuals with disabilities reduce their risk of being abused. The Safe Life Project, Second Edition, is the most current abuse prevention program available through Safe Life Coalition. The program is now being distributed through the internet, reaching and helping more and more individuals.
Stacey Hoffman has a Master's Degree in Special Education. After teaching in public schools for over 30 years, she is now Co-Director of the Safe Life Project Non-Profit Organization and Founder/Co-Director of Safe Life Coalition. Both organizations focus on addressing the problem of abuse among individuals with disabilities and autism. Stacey loves working to develop curriculum and teaching classes to empower individuals with skills for personal safety, abuse prevention, healthy relationships and reporting skills. Stacey is a wife, a mother to 4 children, and a grandmother (Cici) to 2 little girls. Her family members ALL live in the same neighborhood and they gather together for Sunday family dinners every week. Stacey loves her 2 Labradors, gardening, and playing golf with her husband.
Susan Whaley, a wife, mom, and grandma, lives on a small organic farm with her husband, Milt, and their chickens, goats, mini horse and MooMoo the cat. Susan has a master’s degree in Special Education and discovered her passion for teaching individuals with disabilities while attending the University of the Pacific in 1974. During her long career of teaching, she began researching the problem of abuse of individuals with disabilities and has been working to address the problem with her colleague, Stacey Hoffman for the past 30 years. She is currently Co-Founder/Director of Safe Life Coalition which provides educational and consulting services focusing on personal safety, abuse prevention, and reporting skills for persons with disabilities and of Safe Life Project Non-Profit which offers classes.