At Darkness to Light, we feel that while it’s great (and makes you feel great!) to check boxes, the real work is done when we’re creating a culture of prevention.
Imagine you’re on the way to pick up your child at soccer practice after a long day working, running errands, and making dinner. While sitting in traffic, you’re dreaming of the piping-hot, cheesy lasagna you’ve left baking in the oven. When you finally get to practice, you see it is only your child, one of their friends, and the coach left on the big, empty soccer field. Now, you have a choice to make. Do you wait for the other child’s ride to arrive to ensure they get home safely, or do you run home to the dinner you’ve left in the oven? We all have a million things to do on any given day, but children’s safety must be our top priority – even if it means sacrificing your long-awaited, home-cooked meal for another night of takeout.
At Darkness to Light, we focus on creating prevention-oriented communities.
Our organization was founded on a community-based intervention approach. While we have standardized practices, our Darkness to Light Authorized Facilitators are always empowered to act according to the diverse needs of their communities. Our framework of policies and procedures is designed to set our Facilitators, community partners, and staff up for success.
For example, our Social Behavior Team’s culture-based consultation practices move organizations beyond traditional child safety-focused box-checking to systemic child safety-focused change. While our team uses a signature approach, including policy reviews and environmental child protection scans, they work directly with clients to create customized packages, embedding culturally appropriate prevention practices that address the specific needs of each audience.
We believe that revolutionizing the culture of child sexual abuse prevention requires standard operating behaviors.
Standard operating behaviors are similar to standard operating procedures; however, instead of simply changing our actions, we’re also changing our mindset. Fifty years ago, we didn’t wear seatbelts – some cars didn’t even have seat belts. But, over time, our feelings towards these safety devices evolved. As a society, we made the collective decision that it was more important to tolerate the occasional discomfort of a seat belt than to continue allowing preventable deaths.
Standard operating behaviors establish societal standards. In child sexual abuse prevention, they help reduce the anxiety of accusing someone of being an offending adult. Often, people don’t speak up because they fear backlash. They think, “What if I’m wrong? What if I misread the situation? How will this impact my reputation, friendships, or career?”
If we make the decision as a society to put children’s safety above all else, the stigma of speaking out will no longer be a barrier. Identifying who’s breaking the rules becomes easier when we’re operating from a collective mindset.
We need your help to move beyond box-checking to creating real, lasting change.
Your support is necessary for building more child safety networks – entire communities committed to implementing prevention-oriented mindsets to protect our youth. Who are the people in your life who you can rely on to have these difficult conversations? What are easy steps you can take to have child protection as an ongoing standard operating behavior in your life and in the lives of those around you?
We’re prepared to catapult the message of prevention to an even wider audience, with research-based, trauma-informed practices guiding our way. Together, we can do what no other generation has; but only, if we each choose to embrace our personal role in the prevention of child sexual abuse.
A great way to get started in your commitment of child protection is to make a generous gift of support today. Your gift will help Darkness to Light continue to meet the ever-changing needs of our children and the adults responsible for their care. Donate here.
Katelyn N. Brewer joined Darkness to Light in November of 2016 as the President & CEO. She brings valuable experience to the organization, including development and oversight of global initiatives and leadership roles in fundraising, strategy, and operations. As a high-energy entrepreneurial executive, Katelyn is passionate about solving infrastructure and strategic challenges to help organizations achieve programmatic scale. Katelyn’s dedication to innovation, emerging technologies, and cross-team alignment empower nonprofits to achieve critical social goals. Her work has resulted in sustainable change for communities, both nationally and internationally. Katelyn has demonstrated that grassroots community initiatives lay the groundwork for an organization to expand its mission globally. Her leadership will help Darkness to Light further its work educating adults everywhere on how to prevent child sexual abuse through their award-winning Stewards of Children® certification and other prevention programs.