Approximately 3 million cases of child abuse are reported each year in the United States alone. To help combat this issue, the YMCA of Greater Houston to raise awareness and inspire adults to take action to protect children from sexual abuse. Child protection is the YMCA of Greater Houston’s number one priority. The organization is committed to helping educate parents and children on how to be safe from child abuse in any environment with the skills they learn at the YMCA. While protecting children may look different in the current environment as they are adapting to new scenarios, the Five Days of Action awareness-building initiative will help provide relevant, helpful resources for adults to navigate this time and continue to protect kids from sexual abuse.
“Throughout the year, our Houston-area YMCAs are holding “awareness-building initiatives,” providing adult training for community members, and building partnerships with subject matter experts, other youth-serving organizations, and advocacy groups. These undertakings are core to our local efforts,” states Stephen Ives, President and CEO, YMCA of Greater Houston. “It’s proven adults play a key role in preventing and creating safer environments for children who have fallen, or are at risk to fall as a victim to sexual abuse. Together as a community, we can bring awareness to this dire issue and stop the vicious, destructive cycle.”
It’s found that a shocking 90% of child sexual abuse victims know their abuser. All it takes is one active adult to intervene and save a child. Throughout the Five Days of Action, ymcahouston.org/know-see-respondand encourage important conversations around how we can all work together to prevent it from happening. Houstonians can access the information at
The YMCA is also offering a no-cost, 30-minute online training course, Protecting Children During a Crisis, in partnership with Darkness to Light®. The purpose of the course is designed to help adults navigate through the unusual circumstances they might face during times of crisis. Online attendees will receive a crisis plan worksheet designed to help reinforce key concepts and help them plan for existing or potential changes to their normal life and routine. Additionally, online attendees will be able to watch a video clip from a prevention advocate and a child sexual abuse survivor, take a deep dive into the three main principles of minimizing the opportunity for abuse – preventing isolation, keeping situations interruptible, and setting expectations, and more. The course is offered in English and Spanish and can be taken at any time. To register, participants will need to create an account with Darkness to Light available here: Create a Darkness to Light Account Registration.
YMCA of Greater Houston believes all children deserve the opportunity to discover who they are and what they can achieve in a safe space. With a zero-tolerance policy, the Y ensures all youth programs such as Summer Camp, After School programs, Youth Sports, and Teen experiences foster a safe and fun-filled environment. All staff and volunteers are trained in comprehensive and innovative practices around child safety. Additionally, symbols for “Know, See and Respond” are displayed around the center to encourage conversation among staff, parents, and guardians to talk about child protection. The YMCA understands it is through education and learning that the community can keep children safe and cultivate the values, skills, and relationships that lead to positive behaviors, better health and educational achievement.
Houstonians can help raise awareness and show support for the initiative on Facebook by adding YMCA custom profile photo frame by searching “YMCA 5 DAYS OF ACTION.”
For the most up-to-date information regarding preventing child abuse and how you can join the initiative, please visit https://www.ymcahouston.org/or follow the organization on Facebook @YMCAHouston and Instagram @YMCAHouston.