As the Prevention Director at the Memphis CAC, I see the devastation of abuse on children and their families firsthand. But I also get to see the hope and resilience of the children that come through the CAC. And even better, I get to be a part of the solution – by working to educate our community and give them the skills to help prevent and intervene in abuse.
In Shelby County, where we operate, the rate of child sexual abuse is double the national average–20% of Shelby County children will be a victim of child sexual abuse by the age of 18. We know that the only way to reduce this number is to prevent abuse from happening in the first place, and Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children® prevention training is the most effective way we’ve found to do that.
Since first partnering with Darkness to Light nine years ago, we’ve trained 33,000 adults and more than 350 organizations. This year alone, despite the pandemic, we trained 1,200 adults. The impact has been tremendous. Based on our community research, we find that Stewards of Children® results in:
Our community wants to practice prevention. Beyond the numbers, there is an observable cultural shift in how the community addresses child abuse. Funders are requesting that grantees complete Stewards of Children®, local officials and government better understand the impact abuse has on a child’s physical and mental growth, and youth-serving organizations emphasize abuse prevention and even include it in their corporate mission statements. Darkness to Light provides us with effective tools and resources to successfully protect children – they make our jobs as prevention outreach professionals easier. Through Stewards of Children®, we are creating a network of adults in our community who are prepared and equipped to protect children. And most of all, together, we are preventing children from ever having to walk through our CAC’s doors.
Kris Crim has served as prevention director at the Memphis CAC since 2015. Prior to that, he worked for 16 years at the YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South, in various leadership roles including regional executive director of the Y-CAP Branch YMCA. Kris is a graduate of Crichton College and has served on the Memphis Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals board.