On Thursday, February 28th, I facilitated my first Stewards of Children training for the staff of Central Bucks Family YMCA. Stewards of Children is an awareness program for adults that teaches them to recognize, prevent and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
As I setup for the training, I was very much aware that with the statistic of “1 in 4 girls” and “1 in 6 boys” having been sexually abused before age 18, I could possibly have staff in the training who have had some experience with child sexual abuse, either personally or through a friend or family member. Knowing this, I proceeded with caution as I moved through the first part of the training, which teaches the four tools we possess in our personal tool kit to protect children: Consciousness, Choice, Personal Power & Relentless Compassion and Child Sexual Abuse statistics.
I was very mindful of the reactions of everyone in attendance as they watched the video showing real victims, as adults, telling their story and how they kept their secret into adulthood. After each video segment, the group took time for reflection and questions. The staff were engaged and actively participated in the conversation.
The next two sections taught everyone to Minimize Opportunity, Talk About it, Stay Alert, Make a Plan, Act on Suspicions and Get involved. By the end of the three hour session, I felt the overwhelming need to be sure that all of the staff was emotionally okay. In my facilitator training, I learned that after this training, everyone needs time to process their emotional response to the material. I was glad to be able to walk around the room, talking to groups of staff as we ended the session with an ice cream and cake treat.
Afterwards, I was thankful for the many positive compliments I received about the content of the program material. I am very passionate about the issue of Child Sexual Abuse in our society and feel that we all need to take action for the many children we interact with each day. I was pleased that the staff also felt the compassion for those children who may be experiencing child sexual abuse and I felt that the staff would be even more proactive and accountable to protect children in their care.
My goal is to continue to facilitate the “Stewards of Children” training throughout the county. I would like to empower and encourage others to take a proactive approach to protect our children. I was happy to have the opportunity to specifically train our staff family to better protect children in their families in the Y and our community.
Ro Molyneux is the Chief Operation Officer at Central Bucks Family YMCA.
Central Bucks Family YMCA is a charitable non-profit organization whose purpose is to improve the quality of community life. The Y strengthens the spirit, mind and body of its members. We build character by promoting the values of caring, respect, honesty and responsibility