From Darkness To Light – Empowering Adults To Prevent Child Abuse
Posted by: Finn Ruehrdanz | Facility Manager
The most important thing to Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club (CRYSC) is the safety of our players. Safety means more than scrapes and bruises they experience when stepping on the field to compete. To us, safety means the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of each player. Your kids are our kids, literally and figuratively. We’re One Club and what we would do for our children is the same as what we would do for yours.
CRYSC recognizes the prevalence of child sexual abuse within the greater community and in youth-focused organizations across America. Recent local and national occurrences of this issue have allowed us to find the courage to move forward with a campaign to address the issue. We MUST do our part. Through our unwavering commitment to children, we continue to strive to create safe environments for our players. We often ask our players to be courageous on the field. Today we are choosing to be courageous off the field and truly commit our time, resources and energy to do good.
Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children prevention training provides a proactive answer to child sexual abuse prevention. This 2-hour training incorporates a combination of survivor stories, expert advice, and practical guidance. It is the only nationally available, evidence-informed program of its kind and has been shown to increase knowledge, improve attitudes, and change child-protective behaviors. In the past few weeks, all 62 full-time Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club staff have completed the training.
We are a soccer Club with a conscious and are taking a stand on an issue that so many others choose to leave out of the workplace. The national statistics show that a youth-focused organization of our size has victims of child sexual abuse, so it is our obligation to assist in supporting survivors and provide resources as necessary.
The statistics are horrifying and unacceptable:
- Approximately 1 of every 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday
- 90% of abuse happens by someone they know and trust
- 60% of children who are victims of sexual abuse NEVER tell anyone
Child sexual abuse has become a heavily stigmatized topic, from talking about it publicly as well as reporting and prosecuting it. We are here to start to work towards de-stigmatizing the conversation, by expanding the message Darkness to Light offers through the Stewards of Children training program. We are talking about it right NOW and working towards the prevention of further abuse. The Club is prepared to lead the charge in changing this in our community. Prevention is a collective journey and it will take a village, the village of CRYSC, to be the leaders of the change we wish to see.
Stewards of Children has used real people and real stories to show CRYSC staff how to protect children. The framework of the training is built off the foundation of The 5 Steps to Protecting Children.
Our core goal is for the lessons learned from the Stewards of Children training to extend well beyond the reach of the Club and into the lives of our colleagues, friends, and family, globally. Thinking globally and acting locally is what we are doing here.There are those around us dealing with this type of trauma on a daily basis, whether we know it or not. The effects of our actions, or inactions, will undoubtedly be enormous and span generations. We are choosing to take action and set in motion a wave of change.
Would you like to join the CRYSC staff in putting the safety of all children at the forefront of our daily lives? We would like to offer 50 people the ability to take the training inside or outside of the Club at no cost to them. If you are interested in taking the training, please contact Finn@rapidsyouthsoccer.org and he will get back to you about next steps.
If you are a victim or survivor seeking resources or information, please call the nationwide helpline at 866-FOR-LIGHT or text LIGHT to 741741 to speak with a trained counselor.