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April is Child Abuse Awareness Month; help prevent child abuse

(By Liz Jones, JER Chilton YMCA Membership & Wellness Director)

April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month. At the YMCA we champion child abuse prevention every day, but during April we will be working hard to bring awareness to this issue. I have seen child abuse from many angles. As a former executive director of domestic abuse and sexual assault programs, I saw family after family come through the shelters and many, many of the children had also been abused; physically, emotionally or sexually.  I was also a foster kid in my teens and saw so many children come through the foster care system who had suffered abuse, many times from those who they loved and trusted the most.  I have also mentored and taught many youth who came from abusive homes.  Much of my work before I came to Texas focused on stopping the cycle of abuse, helping families heal, and empowering young men and women as a prevention tool as they continued into adulthood.  So what can we do as community members, family members, and human beings to help stop child abuse?

First, be informed:

  • About 2,000 children in the US have a cause of death listed as “homicide.”  More than 80% of these children are under the age of 4; more than 80% of these children die at the hands of a parent or parental figure.
  • There are more than 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the U.S. (Smith et al., 2000; Broman-Fulks et al., 2007)
  • Adult retrospective studies show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18 (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006)
  • For more statistics on child abuse, please visit: https://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/statistics/can/stat_natl_state.cfm

Next, help spread the awareness:

  • Post a link of this article on your Facebook page and send an email to your friends and coworkers
  • Talk to your children and family members about abuse
  • Speak up

Finally, be the peace that you want to see in the world.  World peace begins at home.

Healthy Kids Day will be at the JER Chilton YMCA at Rockwall on Saturday April 20, 2:30-4:00 pm.  We will have “Minute to Win It” games at each table and will be drawing for prizes.  There will be educational materials, snacks, a bounce house and lots of fun!  We will also have numerous service providers including the police department, fire department, safety and health providers and lots of information on YMCA programming to promote healthy kids, healthy families, and healthy communities.

Liz Jones is the Membership & Wellness Director at the JER Chilton YMCA at Rockwall, located at 1210 N Goliad in Rockwall, TX.  She is a writer, certified yoga instructor, personal trainer and wellness coach.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management, with a graduate certificate in Ethics and Leadership.  Her studies included communication, business, writing, law, art, fitness, and dance.

She is trained in Reiki, Guided Imagery, and various healing method.  Her background includes non-profit management and working with various at-risk populations, women’s empowerment workshops, and mentoring programs.

Liz Jones can be reached at: ejones@ymcadallas.org or 972-772-9622.

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