in New Jersey have a vision of a world free of child sexual abuse. A world in which all children are loved,
protected, nurtured and able to grow up healthy.
According to experts, one in 10 children — or 400,000 each year — will experience child sexual abuse before their 18th birthday. To educate adults in the community how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse, the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance — including the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges, at 139 East McClellan Ave. in Livingston — has 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.
Through the initiative, the Metro YMCA is offering Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention training to adults in the community.
In-person, facilitator led trainings are open to the public and can be of specific interest to youth sports organizations, school districts, faith centers and non-profits. Local businesses, large or small, are encouraged to participate.
Free online training is available for New Jersey residents through April 23, 2014.
Continuing education credits for professionals in various fields can be obtained through this training.
“As Social Responsibility is one of the Y’s key areas of focus, we are committed to developing community-based solutions that unite people to participate in and work for positive social change,” said Richard K. Gorab, president and CEO of the Metro YMCA.
“By partnering with Darkness to Light, we will educate and empower adults to become agents of change to protect children from sexual abuse.”
The evidence-based program is designed to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child protective behaviors. Darkness to Light training covers a 5-step action plan:
- Learn the facts (1 in 10 children are sexually abused, and more than 90 percent know their abuser)
- Minimize opportunity (eliminate or reduce isolated, one-on-one situations to decrease risk for abuse)
- Talk about it (have open conversations with children about our bodies, sex and boundaries)
- Recognize the signs (know the signs of abuse to protect children from further harm); and
- React responsibly (understand how to respond to suspicions or reports of sexual abuse).
“Child sexual abuse is a silent epidemic that crosses every socioeconomic boundary and does not discriminate,” said Gorab. “We, as adults, need to take responsibility and protect children in our community.
By offering Stewards of Children training, the Y hopes to empower and mobilize adults to take action and prevent child sexual abuse.”
To date, the Metro YMCA has trained 2 facilitators, 19 instructors and educated nearly 800 people. We have a goal of 21,460 and will work with community partners including schools, volunteer groups and local government to meet the goal and help facilitate change.
As research has shown that 5 percent is the critical point for positive change in the community, the NJ YMCA State Alliance has a goal of training 83,000 adults by 2017.
The Ys will work with local community partners including schools, volunteer groups and local government to meet their goal and help facilitate change.
“The YMCA and New Jersey YMCA State Alliance continue to be incredible partners in the fight against child sexual abuse. Their commitment to protect children in YMCA programs, facilities and in the community should serve as an inspiration to all youth serving organizations across the country,” said Jolie Logan, President and CEO of Darkness to Light.
For more information and to learn about Stewards of Children workshops or online training sessions, contact Maureen Simons at (973) 758-9622 or email@example.com.