As summer is starting, many parents will have to make choices about summer camps, child care and other activities to keep our children engaged and cared for. One thing recent child abuse scandals taught us is that sex offenders are not those scary men in trench coats waiting to prey on children. They are mentors, coaches, role models, fathers and upstanding people in the community. Sex offenders will be attracted to work and volunteer at places where there are children. So how can we as parents and caregivers protect our children to ensure that they have a safe summer?
Hope Haven of the Lowcountry, our local Children’s Advocacy and Rape Crisis Center, is taking a proactive step to engage parents in becoming knowledgeable when it comes to this problem of child sexual abuse. “We want parents to know the right questions to ask, the right things to look for when making choices on summer activities for their children. We also want parents to know how to talk to their children about this topic that will not scare them but empower the children to know what to do in situations where their safety is compromised,” says executive director Shauw Chin Capps.
Hope Haven is offering a brown bag series called “Protecting Childhood Innocence” focusing on the prevention of child sexual abuse. Bring a bag lunch and be a part of an important discussion led by the experts in child sexual abuse prevention from Hope Haven. Participants will get the opportunity to receive invaluable information and resources that are practical and can be put to immediate use to protect children from being sexually abused. There will be four brown bag sessions offered in the Lowcountry community and participants can choose to attend any one of the four. The dates and times are:
• June 17, 12 to 1:30 p.m., at Hope Haven’s office (4th floor of the Region’s Bank building on Robert Smalls Parkway right across from Stokes Honda dealership in Beaufort), 69 Robert Smalls Parkway, Beaufort, SC
• June 20, 12 to 1:30 p.m., at the Bluffton Public Library Small Conference Room, 120 Palmetto Way, Bluffton, SC
• June 24, 12 to 1:30 p.m., at the Palmetto Electric Cooperative Community Room, 111 Mathews Drive, Hilton Head Island, SC
• June 27, 12 to 1:30 p.m., at the Harrison Peeples Health Care Center Conference Room, 970 Pine Street, Varnville, SC 29944
Please RSVP to Leigh-Ann Shoupe at 843-524-2256 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.