Earlier this year the City of Sandy Springs awarded a grant to the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy to train 600 adults that live, work, or play in . The intent is to raise awareness in the community about the personal and societal effects of child sexual abuse. The three hour training (called "Stewards of Children") will also teach adults things to look for in potential predators, how to identify signs of sexual abuse, the questions to ask of youth serving organizations, and how to make a report of such a crime. It is intense and emotional, but so is the issue.
On June 7th, the first event launched was a “Prevent Now!” breakfast hosted by City Councilman Chip Collins. It was an "overview" about what the training entails and outlines suggestions for organizations and individuals to take in order to prevent CSA. As often is the case, after a "Prevent Now", individuals sign-up for trainings and organizations commit to train "X" number of employees. Fire Chief McElfish signed up approximately 100 members of the Sandy Springs Fire Department and Mary Hall Freedom House will be having 85 residents, staff, and faculty trained.
This past Wednesday, June 20th, New York Life opened its doors to host the first "open to the public" Stewards of Children training. It was a light, but powerful crowd. Among some of the attendees was Alec Baulding, CFO for 4.0 Martial Arts studio for kids. He intends to not only teach kids self-defense, but to put prevention forth to his parent base. Imagine if all youth serving organizations were proactive about protecting young people. COO of Life Center Ministries Samuel Giles, and Leisa White, Independent Living Director for Wellspring Living, Wellspring Living were also in attendance and are in unique positions to curb this heinous crime. Prevention is also going to get under way with the new knowledge that was imparted on local artist Janet Gannon, J. Gannon, and Sandy Springs Educational Force, SSEdForce, Executive Director, Irene Schweiger. Everyone, and their organizations, will be in a valuable position to spread prevention.
The possibilities are endless with the start of this movement. Imagine living in a city where child sexual abuse cannot hide!