Y program on child abuse is slated tonight

The Warren YMCA will host ‘Darkness to Light: Stewards of Children,’ a free program focused on ending child sexual abuse, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. today.

“Darkness to Light is a Pennsylvania State Alliance of YMCAs initiative to increase awareness and help people prevent child sexual abuse,” said Warren YMCA CEO Thad Turner.

“After everything that happened with (Jerry) Sandusky in Centre County, this program formed to help prevent child sexual abuse rather than focusing on intervention as most national programs do,” explained Cameron Frantz, director at the State College YMCA. “It’s not necessarily a knee-jerk reaction, but it was definitely a factor.”

Darkness to Light boasts that it is the only nationally available program that has been scientifically proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child-protective behaviors. “Prevention, recognition, and appropriate responses are the main things we focus on for adults,” said Frantz.

“It really does help you understand child sexual abuse better,” Turner said. “One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18. Sixty percent of pregnant teens have been sexually abused, but most of them never tell.”

The program has been geared towards organizations that serve youth as well as individuals who are concerned about the safety of their children and even offers an opportunity to earn continuing education credit.

Registration is requested but not required, and limited to those who are 18 years of age and over.

Visit www.D2L.org for more information on what the program offers or contact Frantz at cfrantz@ymcaofcentrecounty.org.