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Community Event Highlights: Stewards of Children Training, Westfield

Stewards of Children Training – August 20, 2013
Westfield, WI

Hope House of South Central Wisconsin hosted a free Stewards of Children training on August 20 from 9am-noon at the Westfield Community Center.  Created by Darkness to Light, Stewards of Children teaches adults how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse (CSA). Stewards of Children is a three-hour training involving a video, workbook and group discussion. WCASA interviewed Jess Kaehny, Community Education Coordinator of Hope House to get a little more about the event.

How was Hope House involved?

I was trained to be a Stewards of Children facilitator in 2009 and have been facilitating workshops ever since.

How do you believe it helped sexual assault survivors?

I think the training is affirming and empowering for survivors to hear from other adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the video about how they were impacted, how they are in a better place, and how they can help prevent CSA from happening to others.

What did participants learn as a result of this event?

Participants learned the 7 Steps to Protecting Our Children, which are – 1.) learn the facts and understand the risks; 2.) minimize opportunity for CSA by reducing one-adult/one-child situations; 3.) talk to children about their bodies, sex, and sexual abuse; 4.) stay alert to signs of CSA; 5.) make a plan of where to go, whom to call, and how to react to CSA; 6.) act on suspicions; and 7.) get involved in the movement to end CSA.

What did you learn as organizer (or one of the organizers)?

I was excited by the variety of agencies that the participants were representing.  There was staff from a day care center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, human services, the public library, a child advocacy center, a community-based organization, and a substance abuse treatment center.  There was excellent discussion, including tips they had as parents for talking to their children about their bodies and sexual abuse.

What are similar upcoming events readers might be interested in?

I’m happy to facilitate the Stewards of Children workshop wherever there is interest within our service area of Sauk, Columbia, Juneau, Marquette, and Adams Counties.  For instance, I’m scheduled to facilitate it for a particular day care center in Baraboo next month.  Outside of our service area, there are other facilitators, which you can find on the Darkness to Light website:

An upcoming community event we have planned is in partnership with a committee of local clergy, parish nurses, and lay leaders called Faith Leaders for Healthy Relationships.  On September 19 in Portage and on September 24 in Wisconsin Dells, we’re hosting “Be Educated & Be Safe: Responding to Sex Offenders in Our Community” from 11:30am-1pm.  Valerie Santana from the Department of Corrections will be talking about sex offenders and the registry list.  Following her presentation, the faith leaders will facilitate a discussion specific to churches on what they can do when a sex offender is interested in attending their church.  More information is at

Any resources you would like to point readers to?

If you haven’t read the book, “There is No Sex Fairy: Featuring the Ten Commandments of Raising Sexually Respectful Children” by Jan Hindman, I’d recommend it.  If you’re looking for a video on CSA, Darkness to Light has a 20-minute video called “Childhood Stories Documentary” available for free on their website:

Anything else you’d like to share not mentioned above?

Last week Darkness to Light released a Stewards of Children 2.0 version with more diversity and updated statistics.  You can learn more, including how to become a facilitator, by visiting  Awareness to Action is currently offering the materials for Stewards of Children to Wisconsin facilitators for free.


Thank you Jess for your contribution! If you are interested in highlighting your event, please contact Peter Fiala at

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