Stewards of Children holds training session for community

Categories: Other, YMCA

By Jamie Lee Miros
Collegian Staff Writer

Adults and professionals in the Centre County area set aside their busy schedules for a night to learn about important steps to help protect a child.Stewards of Children Child Sexual Abuse Training was held at the Ramada Inn on South Atherton last night to a full turn out by local professionals and citizens.Facilitator Denise McCann led the two and half hour session, which included a three-part video series and group discussions.

“The Stewards of Children training is designed for professionals, loved ones of abuse victims and concerned citizens to help empower them to make responsible and courageous decisions,” McCann said.

The video presentation focused on child sexual abuse survivor stories and experts in fields who deal with protection of abused children.

A major emphasis of the program was the seven steps an individual can make to help recognize abuse and to get a child help.

The first part of the video covered steps one through three, introducing child sexual abuse survivors and their stories, while giving vital information about how to recognize abuse and how to openly talk about with the children being abused.

In-between the videos, group discussion created questions and comments from the participants.

Topics discussed were current policies in local community groups and what barriers are already in place to help stop potential abuse.

Part two of the video showed how adults can stay alert to signs of children that are being abused, as well as the next steps to help support them when they are ready to confide in an adult.

The final section of the video and discussion focused on what next steps can be taken for citizens in the community to get involved.

McCann said that training and knowing what steps to take can bring collective power to adults based on what individual choices can be made in response to abuse.

“We must look at policies in organizations about what steps are taken,” she said. “Our goal is to at least expose five percent of Centre County to Stewards of Children training, and hopefully there can be a culture shift on how to react responsibly to child abuse.”

Pastor Monica Ouellette, of Boalsburg, said that it was important for her professionally and personally to attend a Stewards of Children training.

“Our church is going to implement a safe church policy and as a youth leader and pastor it’s important to learn how to protect children,” Ouellette said. “Learning more about abuse and more communication is a good thing.”

YMCA Director of Community Outreach Cameron Frantz said that there will be upcoming community sessions, held in State College.

The public sessions will be held on Oct. 22 at the YMCA of Centre County at State College and on Nov. 8 at the Schlow Centre Region Library.

Frantz also said that any groups or organizations that want to hold a session could be connected with a facilitator to make that happen.

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