About one in 10 youths will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday, meaning 400,000 children born in the United States this year will become victims unless something is done to stop it, according to statistics compiled by Darkness to Light.
The Hamilton Area YMCA strongly believes that if childhood sexual abuse can be prevented, it can be stopped and that through awareness and education, adults can protect children. Taking a proactive role to help keep kids safe from sexual abuse, the YMCA has partnered with Darkness to Light to provide free Stewards of Children training to adults, according to Jill Makkay, spokesperson for the Hamilton Area YMCA.
“The New Jersey YMCA State Alliance, which includes 40 local YMCAs, have joined forces with Darkness to Light, a nationally recognized nonprofit organization and creators of the award-winning Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention curriculum,” Ms. Makkay said. “Through the initiative, the YMCA is offering Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention training to adults in the community. The Hamilton Area YMCA knew this partnership was ideal in raising awareness and taking steps to preventing child sexual abuse.
“We believe this training is important for adults in our community and our staff members so they are better educated in the facts about child sexual abuse,” Ms. Makkay said.
“Knowing the facts surrounding child sexual abuse is an important step in prevention. Once the Stewards of Children training is completed, adults and staff members will be versed in minimizing opportunity, the ability to talk openly and responsibly with children, recognize the signs of abuse to protect children, and how to respond to suspicions or reports of sexual abuse.”
“The two-hour Stewards of Children online training course is free for all New Jersey residents through December 2014,” Ms. Makkay said. “We encourage everyone to take the training course, especially those who work in school settings — youth sports organizations, faith centers and nonprofit organizations. The online training course consists of a personal prevention plan, frequently asked questions on child sexual abuse and scenarios to practice the knowledge learned. A certificate is provided with the successful completion.”
Stewards of Children has trained 700,000 adults since its inception, according to Darkness to Light. The ultimate mission of Darkness to Light, to end childhood sexual abuse, can only be accomplished by sharing the solution of prevention, awareness and education with more and more people. This, in turn, builds momentum and over time, changes the way the nation and culture cares for, protects and nurtures children. Being an active participant in the mission to end childhood sexual abuse is one of the most rewarding things someone could do, according to Darkness to Light.
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