Since starting this column two years ago, we have much to celebrate. In October 2007, there was only one Stewards of Children trained facilitator and three in all of Colorado who began leading these important trainings. Currently, we have 13 trained facilitators in Larimer County alone who have trained 484 adults in learning how to prevent child sexual abuse. And for every adult trained, 10 children are better protected.
These trainings have been held in schools, churches, private homes, government agencies and many other places. We have trained parents, grandparents, adults, law enforcement, foster parents and volunteers committed to children. Everyone has come together for a common purpose – to learn how to better protect our children form the tragedy of child sexual abuse.
We have covered many ways to do that in this column and will continue to do so in a new and expanded way. Starting next month, this column will begin answering questions from concerned adults in our community. We also will inform readers of various prevention efforts happening in the schools and community and how to get more involved.
Laura Hunt, the Child Advocacy’s executive director, will begin answering those questions and writing the column next month. I will continue to be involved in our prevention efforts but will be focusing more on my counseling practice. I am thankful for the past two years and having you partner with me in learning more ways of empowering our children and their caregivers.
I have been privileged to talk with so many concerned parents in our community who are making such a difference in children’s lives. I am also inspired by the Child Advocacy staff that makes prevention a priority while providing assistance to the countless families affected by child sexual abuse.
I believe we can create a community that will not tolerate the sexual exploitation of children and teens. And we must empower parents to lobby for policies that protect children in the institutions that are to serve them. As we courageously and honestly confront the barriers that keep us silent, we can make a difference in the lives of our children. But we must be willing to work together and have these difficult discussions with our children and teens. It is not easy, but so worthwhile.
Contact Laura Hunt at email@example.com to submit questions regarding prevention with children and teens. Contact Ana Sluss for more information or to schedule a Stewards of Children training at the Larimer County Child Advocacy Center at 970) 407-9739.