Pebble Project

A child who lives in fear of abuse cannot be successful in school. Since 1993, Communities In Schools has sponsored the Pebble Project. The Pebble Project exists to prevent child abuse and neglect by empowering children to contribute to their own safety, by increasing adult awareness and protection of all children, and by working with others to find solutions that reduce child abuse.

How does the Pebble Project work?

Communities In Schools believes that all children have the right to be "Safe, Strong, and Free." During a Pebble Project presentation, children participate in role plays and discussion that empower them to recognize abusive or dangerous situations, resist abuse, and tell a trusted adult if they have been abused. The Pebble Project curriculum strives to empower children in a number of ways:

  • Teach children through role-plays and guided discussions how to identify possibly dangerous situations
  • Offer strategies for responding assertively to potential threats of harm
  • Encourage children to seek help from adults they trust
  • Provide a private opportunity to ask questions or disclose abuse or neglect with trained staff
  • Adult workshops on child abuse, neglect and assault prevention


What happens in the classroom?

Each class receives a one-hour workshop by Pebble Project staff and trained volunteers. The heart of the workshop consists of three role-play situations in which staff portray children whose rights have been violated. In the first play, a bully steals lunch money from a child. In the second scenario, a stranger tricks and kidnaps a child. The final situation involves an uncle soliciting a "romantic" kiss from an unwilling niece. Each role-play is followed by group discussion about what happened and what feelings and rights were involved. Staff invite the children to brainstorm how to deal with the situations assertively. Each role-play is redone with the child staying safe, strong, and free. Children from the class volunteer to participate in the successful versions of the bully and stranger role plays.

Throughout the program, children are presented with options available to them in dangerous or difficult situations. They learn about their right to say "no" and to tell a trusted adult in order to get help. Children can ask questions during the program and are also given the opportunity to come out into the hall and speak with Pebble staff one-on-one.

Want to schedule a FREE presentation for you school?

For more information about the Pebble Project or to schedule a presentation for your school, contact Jamie Avard-Fernandez at (512) 464-9727 or e-mail

What are some additional resources for child abuse prevention?

How did Pebble Project get started?

In the early 1980's, a group of educators decided to do something about the abuse and neglect they saw in the lives of the children they served. They voiced their concerns to various community agencies. On November 13, 1982, the Austin City Council of PTA's and the Teenage Parent Council convened a conference, "Austin's Children--Our Responsibility." Approximately six hundred people attended and two hundred more had to be denied the privilege of attending due to lack of space. Participants from over forty groups and agencies from the Department of Human Resources to Junior League, from treatment agencies to churches affirmed the need to work together. The name THE PEBBLE PROJECT was chosen for this venture because each individual's effort, like a pebble dropped into a pool of water, sends ripples through the community and into the future.

Want to volunteer for the Pebble Project?

If you are interested in becoming a Pebble Project volunteer, please fill out our online volunteer application. Pebble Project volunteers must pass a criminal history background check.

Pebble Project volunteers will also undergo an initial interview with a member of the CIS Pebble Project staff and attend a volunteer orientation and extensive training. If you have any other questions about the Pebble Project for how to volunteer, please email call (512) 464-9767.



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