BCHS student teams with Hope’s Place to train adults in child abuse prevention
Katie Brandenburg Associated Press
ASHLAND — Chrissy Moore pulled a cloth checkerboard from the table of one of the waiting rooms at Hope’s Place Children’s Advocacy Center revealing golden sand framing assorted seashells.
“This is my favorite part,” she said.
Moore and another girl from Girl Scout Troop 935 designed and decorated the room to earn their silver awards. Both girls agreed the place they always felt the calmest and happiest was the beach, hence the beach-themed room. They wanted to communicate those same calming feelings to children who have been dealing with abuse.
The waiting room was the first one completed during the renovation of the bottom floor of the building on Greenup Avenue Hope’s Place now operates from.
Now, Moore is partnering with Hope’s Place once again to earn her gold award by training adults to help prevent child sexual abuse.
The gold award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn and is a challenge to plan and get approved in addition to the 80-plus hours of community service work it usually involves.
Two other members of her troop have already earned the gold award.
Moore, 18, is a senior at Boyd County High School. She will begin this month to train groups of adults in the Darkness to Light Stewards of Children program.
Moore trained as a facilitator in the program last summer after Erica Myers, executive director of Hope’s Place, recommended the program to her.
Myers said the program is part of a statewide initiative to prevent child sexual abuse. The materials were provided through a grant. She learned about the program soon after Moore asked her about working with the organization to earn her gold award.
Moore has been a volunteer with Hope’s Place since 2005, when she was in the fifth grade and her Girl Scout troop started volunteering there.
Myers said Moore taking on the program is a good thing for Hope’s Place, which has only four staff members and no part-time employees.
“This is huge for us because we want to get in the community more,” she said. “We want to do prevention.”
When she found out about the program, Myers said she knew who she needed to call.
“There are no other high schoolers that I would consider to do such important material for our community,” she said.
The program focuses on raising awareness of who can be a perpetrator of child sexual abuse, Moore said. It includes a three-part DVD presentation including sexual abuse survivors, experts in the field and other adults talking about how to prevent and respond to sexual abuse. It also features an interactive workbook and a facilitator-led discussion of important issues in preventing sexual abuse.
Moore said she’s nervous about having to deal with some of the intense emotions such a subject can stir, but she had been spending a lot of time preparing so she can bring awareness to the important issue of child sexual abuse.
“It is really about intense things, and it’s things that people don’t talk about,” she said.
People ignoring the issue will only make the number of victims increase, Moore said.
She said she’d like to sign up more groups to participate in the training program. She’d like to see groups from local schools, family resource centers and organizations that work with children, such as Big Brother/Big Sister, sign up.
Those [in Kentucky] interested in participating in Darkness to Light training may call Myers at (606) 325-4737 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.