As part of its ongoing commitment to helping families in Dawson County, Family Connection offered a new way to watch over the community's children.
During its March 25 luncheon, Family Connection held a seminar on preventing sexual abuse of children. The luncheon's guest speaker was Steve Collins, founder of the nonprofit organization Adults Protecting Children.
Collins spoke to the crowd about his organization's new initiative on making communities more aware of child safety.
"We focus full-time on preventing childhood sexual abuse," he said. "Our effort is going into counties and starting initiatives in each county. Our section of the state is now leading the state in counties that have started this program."
According to Collins, if each county can reach a "tipping point," then information will begin to spread.
"At just 5 percent of the adult population educated, you reach a point of momentum that you can bring about a cultural shift and, eventually, change," Collins said, quoting Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell.
Collins continued to say that by making adults in the community more aware of signs of childhood sexual abuse, parents would also be more aware of protecting their own children.
"We want to change attitudes and behaviors of adults around the issue of child sexual abuse from ... one shrouded in fear and denial ... to one where the adults in the community are working together to prevent it and kids are safe," he said.
According to Collins, the training uses material from the "Darkness to Light" program, part of an award-winning, third-party evaluated program to bring signs of abuse to light.
The program's training includes Stewards of Children training, volunteering to become a host for the Stewards. The program also provides scholarships for groups to be trained and will help identify funding sources for further education.
"I believe that it can be done," Collins said. "This isn't a pipe dream. Five percent of adults in this county would only be a little over 800 people. It's a very achievable tipping point."
For more information about the program, contact Nancy Stites with Family Connection at (706) 265-1981 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.