Monday, March 3, 2014

Monique Burrs Foundation

Over the last year and half, I have had the privileged of working with the Monique Burr Foundation  through our county. The district views child abuse prevention as an essential part of elementary curriculum in our schools. While this is an awful topic that I truly hate discussing, it is one that children need to learn about in order to stay safe from strangers, and even those they know. I have been trained in 2 of their programs: The Speak Up Be Safe (SUBS) program, which is now called Child Safety Matters, and Darkness to Light . Child Safety Matters is a program for children in the classroom that teaches prevention; it aims to educate children K-5, and is supported by the DOE in FL, and DCF. The main points about this program entail:

What is child abuse?
Explain what physical, emotional, sexual abuse, and neglect are.
Bullying & cyber bullying- what is it and how to prevent it? 
What to do if you see bullying/cyber bullying?

Now I know what you are thinking: Talking about all these types of abuse in PUBLIC- ELEMENTARY school?! Yes, sadly, these are real issues that need to be addressed. The MBF does a phenomenal job of making the lessons interactive, fun, yet soft enough of an issue that children do not leave scared or worried for their own well being. 

When I attended the Darkness to Light workshop and training, I have to admit- I had no idea what I was in for. I knew that we would be discussing children in some capacity and I figured since the MBF was putting it on, it would include prevention information of some sort. What I was shocked by was how moving these hours were for me. I have never been sexually abused, nor have I heard of anyone personally who has been involved in sexual abuse in any capacity. I left with real names and emotions of people who have had to live through these awful experiences. These people show courage, strength, and resilience. 

This program is adult focused, that shares sad but true stories of sexual abuse. This prevention program left me thinking about these personal stories- days, weeks, and now months later. It is the only national, evidence-based program that teaches adults how to prevent sexual abuse. The intentions of this program are for adults to take this information and use the knowledge to keep students safe. 

I love sharing about this non-profit because it feels only right to share how good things can come from very awful situations. 

Keeping our kids a little safer,

Your Floridian Chick!