Meet Sylvia Goalen, a courageous survivor of child sexual abuse
Sylvia Goalen was born in Guatamala (Central America) and came to the United States when she was six years old. She was raised in California where she met her wonderful husband, Jeff. Sylvia and Jeff have three beautiful children who they adore: Michael, Isaac, and Olivia. Around six years ago, the family left California and moved to Georgia.
While in the process of adopting their oldest son, Michael, they became involved with Darkness to Light. Sylvia was immediately intrigued by the quality of the program, and decided to become an Authorized Facilitator. She now now works with the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, Safe Kids Gwinnett, as well as the Latin American Association. As a CSA survivor, she believes D2L programs have helped her talk about her experience. Sylvia also feels that God provided her with the gift of teaching and conversation, so what better way to use her voice than to spread the message of child sexual abuse prevention. Sylvia, like so many of our Authorized Facilitators, volunteers her time to bring the message of prevention to local non-profits, churches, and other organizations within her community.
Jeff and Sylvia work at the fire department in Gwinnett. Sylvia works for the community risk reduction division and focuses on fire and life safety prevention for their community. As you can see, Sylvia is a busy mother of three, works full time, and to top it off, is a senior at Columbia Southern University in pursuit of a bachelor's degree in business management with a minor in project management. We are very honored and proud to know Sylvia - she has dedicated so much of her time to furthering the Darkness to Light mission of ending child sexual abuse.
Thank you Sylvia! We are thankful for your strength and courage in sharing your story in Stewards of Children 2.0. Your voice will help many other survivors and concerned adults.
Dr. Jose Fernandez, former professional baseball player joins SOC 2.0
Jose Fernandez is a native of New York who grew up in Florida. Jose received both his bachelor of science and master of science degrees from the University of Florida, and his doctoral degree in education from the University of Central Florida.
Jose is a former member of the St. Louis Cardinals, for whom he played for five years, followed by a year and half with the Philadelphia Phillies. After retiring from professional baseball, he became the assistant baseball coach at Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, Florida. After four years, he became the college's coordinator of academic support services for intercollegiate athletics, working directly with student-athletes in the areas of academic scheduling, recruiting, orientation, and admissions.
During his tenure as athletic director at Florida's New Smyrna Beach High School, Jose worked with Woodward Academy's (College Park, Georgia) head football coach, John Hunt. Coach Hunt called to tell him about the open athletic director position at Woodward, speaking so highly of the school that Jose knew he had to pursue the position. He became the athletic director at Woodward Academy in July of 2012.
His first goal as Woodward's new athletic director was to assess and fine-tune the program. "Dave Chandler [retired Athletic Director] has done a great job with the athletics program here at Woodward and has left some pretty big shoes to fill," said Jose. Through dedication and effort, he created an athletic vision for the school that is embraced by the coaching staff, parents, and athletes.
Though he refers to himself as a very competitive person, Jose says that the safety of student-athletes is his first priority, followed by good sportsmanship: "We must be champions in all that we do. That doesn't mean we have to win every game, but we need to be graceful in our losses."
Jose lives in College Park with his wife Kristen, daughter Briana, and sons Armand and Carlo. We are very pleased to have Dr. Fernandez featured in Stewards of Children 2.0, sharing his wealth of knowledge on youth sports.
Guerry Glover returns in Stewards of Children 2.0
We are happy to announce that Guerry Glover is returning to share his story in Stewards of Children 2.0. Guerry was such an integral part of the original training that we knew he had to be included in the upcoming version, as well. We are thankful he agreed to take part and share his experience.
"A handful of tomatoes. That's about how big Guerry was when he was born. Just three pounds or so, the baby in the family, born when his mother was 38," reflects Guerry's father, Harold Glover. Harold and Evelyn Glover didn't think their boy would live; back in 1965, premature babies didn't have much of a chance. However, their baby came out eating and he didn't stop, and pretty soon, he had a shock of downy white hair. Guerry was named after his father's close friend, now deceased, Rev. Edward B. Guerry, rector at St. John's Episcopal Church. Rev. Guerry was a trustee of Porter Military Academy, now known as Porter-Gaud, and there was no question in the Glovers' minds that their children would attend this independent Episcopal coeducational day school.
The Glovers socialized with Porter-Gaud teachers, and even took vacations with them: Porter-Gaud was like family. It was at this time that the Glovers met Eddie Fischer, a teacher and team trainer at Porter-Gaud. Fischer earned the family's trust by volunteering to drive their children home from school, and by spending time with the children outside of school. To the Glovers, he was part of their Porter-Gaud "family." So, when he stopped by their farmhouse one night in September 1975, the Glovers felt comfortable asking Fischer to stay overnight. Guerry's memory is vague about whether Fischer said anything when he came into his bedroom that night, but he clearly remembers Fischer sitting down on his bed and rubbing his thighs. It was then that the abuse started for 10 year old Guerry – abuse that wouldn't stop for years to come.
Guerry went on to recieve a bachelor's degree from the College of Charleston and a master's degree in historic preservation from the University of Georgia. Even after moving back home to Charleston in 1994, it took Guerry three additional years to take his story public. His courageous strength and family support brought him to where he is today. Guerry's only goal is for the public to work together to address the painful and prevalent problem of child sexual abuse. Read more of Guerry's story.
A Special Note from Paula Sellars
My tremendous gratitude goes out to each of you who have put your hearts into Stewards of Children all these years on behalf of the children of our nation and across the planet! I simply think of you and your efforts, and my heart is full. How far we've come!
Nine years ago, when Stewards of Children was just a vision, I would walk the beach on Sullivan's Island in Charleston, South Carolina, and think about the impact we could have. I'd watch the sandpipers in the quiet of the morning, scurrying on the sand or bobbing in the water. Often there would be groups of 50 or more, and I would say to myself, "Touching big groups like this one...like that one," like a prayer, as if these little creatures were symbols of community groups that would be lit up by the work of Stewards of Children for the safety and well-being of children. That prayer has been answered through you, and I am grateful and humbled in the very best way. We are on the cusp of widespread culture change, shifting deeply rooted social norms toward child protection from sexual abuse – and many of you are, without a doubt, the pathfinders of that profound change.
Today, I live in the mountains of North Carolina. These days I'm ispired by whole forests of trees - mountain top after mountain top of them - and I am uttering the same prayer, only now even more assured. In just a couple of months, the new Stewards of Children will launch and many of you will carry it forward. Our participants will be touched and inspired as before through the experiences of new survivors and experts. We have a deeply commmitted and wise "cast of characters." They reflect the knowledge and understanding we've gained over the last decade, and I believe that together we've crafted a very practical, ambitious, and forward-looking training.
Next month, you'll hear more specifics about the new Stewards of Children and the ground we will take together toward protecting the children entrusted to us. But today is simply for saying thank you, and letting you know that all of you have been close to our thoughts in the creation process.
It has been exceptionally fulfulling to once again work with my collegues at Darkness to Light. You can trust that we have taken great care to hear your recommendations, to dance to the beat of our current culture, and to anticipate the potential of our future impact – for children.
Our vision is ending child sexual abuse. Mark my words: if we persist, many of us will realize this dream in our lifetimes.