Published: Aug 07, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Aug 07, 2012 12:12 PM
Roses to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA for offering the Darkness to Light Stewards of Children workshop, and to the 70 members of the Chapel Hill Fire Department who recently participated in it to add child sexual abuse prevention to their safety arsenal.
The firefighters and emergency personnel recently completed the workshop, an award-winning child sexual abuse prevention program offered by the YMCA.
Deputy Fire Chief Matt Lawrence said the program helped the participants understand the problem of child sexual abuse and gave them the necessary tools to recognize the signs of abuse and take a proactive approach to help put an end to it.
“Historically, our responders have been more focused on the immediate emergencies,” Lawrence said. “However, this training has enabled us to be more mindful and vigilant of the potential for physical and sexual abuse, and helped our staff become more thoughtful about the ways that we interact with children and caregivers during the outreach opportunities that we provide.”
The two-and-one-half hour training session, featuring a video presentation and group discussions, illustrated the rate of incidence and teaches participants how to recognize, respond and prevent the occurrence of child sexual abuse.
The Y offered the workshop at different times for several days to accommodate the shift scheduling of the Fire Department.
Free sessions of D2L’s Stewards of Children are also offered by the Y to the public. For more information, see chcymca.org/d2l
Roses to Rob Greenberg, earth and environmental science teacher at Chapel Hill High School, and the volunteers and other participants in the new Chapel Hill High School Water Sustainability Initiative.
Greenberg came up with the idea in discussions with Betsy Kempter, educational outreach coordinator for Friends of Bolin Creek. The immediate goal was to reduce the high school’s “water footprint” – that is, reduce the amount of rainwater that runs unfiltered off the school’s buildings, sidewalks and parking lots into nearby waterways. That runoff carries contaminants and after heavy rains can overwhelm the streams.
Friends of Bolin Creek got involved, and so did the Redwoods Group insurance company. And recently, about 50 volunteers gathered to start work, clearing stream channels, diverting water from erosion areas and building an information kiosk.
Future plans include building rain gardens and green roofs, working with N.C. State to develop an engineering plan, and using hydrology tables to teach students about the importance and behavior of water.
That last part is crucial. Improving the ecosystem around the high school is a worthy objective, but a limited one.
Passing on knowledge and passion about the critical importance of clean water and a healthy environment to the next generation is an opportunity for that good work to spread like ripples on a pond.
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