5% of Centre County Adults are Now Empowered to Protect Children

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We at D2L congratulate Pennsylvania’s Centre County community for reaching a tipping point in prevention!

Tipping Point GraphicBy training five percent of the adult population in families, schools, and youth serving organizations like the YMCA with Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention program, they are creating a new standard of safety.

Tipping points occur when issues gain momentum and ignite, and a relatively small amount of people can effect change on a societal level.

Darkness to Light encourages every community to educate five percent of its population to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse, providing a foundation for widespread social change.

We are grateful to the dedicated community members of Centre County for working to create and maintain safe environments for children to thrive.

Centre County’s tipping point is 5,800. What’s yours?

Stewards of Children training reaches 5 percent of Centre County adults
Excerpt from Centre Daily Times article by Shawn Annarelli

Dozens of children played with beach balls in a field, oblivious to the nearby speakers who were talking about how to protect them.

Four people, each heavily involved in an initiative to prevent child sexual abuse, discussed a program that was launched in Centre County three years ago and has grown to be one of the most effective in the nation.

Leaders of the area’s free Stewards of Children program announced at the Centre County United Way campaign kickoff event that they recently reached a benchmark that only a handful of other communities in the country have achieved — 5 percent of Centre County’s adult population, about 5,800 people, have been trained through the program for child sexual abuse awareness and prevention.

“It’s the tipping point that ensures every child in Centre County is in contact with an adult who has taken this training,” Stewards of Children coordinator Jamie SanFilippo said. “Our goal is to make Centre County the safest place for children to grow up.”

The program was collaboratively launched by Centre County United Way, the YMCA of Centre County and the county’s Youth Service Bureau and Women’s Resource Center in response to the Jerry Sandusky scandal, according to SanFilippo.

“(Reaching this benchmark) doesn’t mean we’ll stop,” SanFilippo said. “We will continue this program completely free of charge to anyone in community that wants it. The one thing we will not stop doing is we will not stop talking about child sexual abuse. Protecting children in Centre County will always be our No. 1 priority.”

The effort began with an application to the Redwoods Group Foundation for a grant, according to YMCA of Centre County CEO Howard Long, and the Stewards of Children mission to teach how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.

“For decades we used our resources, time, energy and money to prevent child sexual abuse by talking to children,” YSB CEO Andrea Boyles said. “We talked to children about stranger danger, about good touch and bad touch. While that’s important to do and we still do those things, we weren’t talking to adults. We were putting all of the onus on children to protect themselves from child sexual abuse. In hindsight, that’s shocking and horrific, but it’s what we were taught to do and what we did.”

Two hours, Boyles said, is all the training takes and includes a video presentation, a take-home workbook and an open discussion.

“We’ll take the show on the road to your workplace, church group, neighborhood association,” Boyles said. “We have open groups you can come to, too. If none of that can work, you can do it online.”

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