Exchange Clubs across America are already deeply involved in Child Abuse Prevention projects. However, your community likely needs help arming itself against an insidious, prevalent, dangerous, costly, and mostly hidden strain of child abuse – sexual abuse. Help to bring more needed protection to children and watch your Exchange Club become a publicly recognized advocate for child sexual abuse prevention and helping to make your community safer for children.
Determine if your community has someone who is an Authorized Facilitator of Darkness to Light who trains people on the Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children program proven to help prevent child sexual abuse. A Directory of Facilitators is available at http://www.D2L.org
If your community already has a facilitator, here are some things you might want to find out to better understand what kind of progress has been made in the area of prevention:
How many people have been trained in the community?
Does a coalition exist focused on preventing child sexual abuse in the community?
Is there a full time Prevention Specialist dedicated to prevention?
What organizations in the community have been trained?
What are the goals of the prevention initiative?
How is the initiative funded?
If more funds were available, what would they be able to do?
Stewards of Children is a training program for responsible adults and teaches how to prevent, recognize, and react to the signs of child sexual abuse. The training is used by caring individuals, parents and caregivers and is also used to train staff and volunteers of youth serving organizations.
Group Session: If there is a Facilitator in your community, schedule a training session for the club. Invite community members or directors of local youth serving organizations to review the program with your club leadership and committee chair. The facilitator may charge a fee to facilitate the session or may charge a per-person fee to cover the cost of materials.
Take the Stewards of Children ONLINE training online at D2L.org . The training will take 2 ½ hours to complete and does not need to be completed in one session. There is a cost of $10 per person to take the training online.
Having a Facilitator in your community is one of the first steps in child sexual abuse prevention. A Facilitator is authorized by Darkness to Light to lead the Stewards of Children training sessions.
Stewards of Children is taught by Authorized Facilitators. To become a Facilitator someone completes the one-day train-the-trainer workshop conducted by Darkness to Light. Workshops are held regularly in various cities around the country. In this workshop, a Facilitator is taught how to lead the group discussion portions of the Stewards of Children program. Experience is not required, but a Facilitator does need to be comfortable speaking in front of a group. The cost to attend a Facilitator Workshop is $350, plus any necessary travel expenses.
Identify a youth-serving organization in your community interested in child sexual abuse prevention and fund the workshop fee and travel expenses for an employee(s) to be trained as a Facilitator.
Send a club member or a Facilitator to a Darkness to Light Prevent Now! workshop. This workshop teaches people how to create a strategy for a community child sexual abuse prevention initiative, conduct community awareness meetings, build a coalition, and funding strategies. Ideally, an (Ques: An Exchange Club does this or a youth serving organization outside Exchange?) organization has committed a full time Prevention Specialist and is willing to take a lead role as an organization to drive a community initiative. There is no cost, other than any necessary travel expenses, to attend a Prevent Now! workshop.
Your Exchange Club can help drive child sexual abuse prevention in your community by providing or raising funds to help youth serving organizations meet child sexual abuse prevention training goals.
If your club currently awards grants to youth serving organizations, consider implementing a Funder’s Strategy: Require that in order for a youth serving organization to qualify/receive grant funds from your club, they must commit to establishing policies and procedures to protect children from sexual abuse and training the staff and volunteers who work with youth in Stewards of Children.
There may be an organization in your community, a Child Advocacy Center for example, that would like to provide child sexual abuse prevention services but does not have the funds to dedicate a staff person either full or part time to the effort. Your club might fund that specialist.
Create a fund for a specific audience or demographic to receive Stewards of Children training. For example, provide funding to train the staff at an after school program or the teachers of a particular school. The cost of training varies, depending on a number of factors but typically is $10 – $25 per person.
Help create awareness about the child sexual abuse issue in your community – once people understand the problem they are more inspired to be part of the solution.
Work with Darkness to Light to co-brand a brochure about child sexual abuse prevention and distribute brochures to parents via youth serving organizations, pediatricians, churches, etc.
Darkness to Light has broadcast quality public service announcements and print advertisements. The PSA’s/Ads are intended to raise awareness about the issue of child sexual abuse and inspire people to take action – get trained.
Set a goal and solicit pledges from youth serving organizations to train their staff and volunteers by a certain period of time.
Encourage organizations to qualify for the D2L Partner in Prevention distinction. This distinction requires training of staff and volunteers, implementation of a child protection policy, and background screening of staff and volunteers. A “window cling” with the Partner in Prevention emblem is provided for organizations to display at their place of business (similar to Better Business Bureau, Five Star, Zagat’s, etc.). An Exchange Club could create a campaign to encourage youth serving organizations to qualify and also to make parents aware of this distinction as they evaluate places/programs for their children.
If a child sexual abuse prevention initiative is already underway in your community and a coalition exists, volunteer a club member(s) to hold a seat on the coalition.