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Black Churches Unite Against Child Abuse

 CHICAGO -- More than three million African-American church members across the U.S. will soon begin participating in education courses to help prevent child sexual abuse.

The program extends from a partnership with Chicago, IL-based Urban Ministries, Inc. (UMI) and Darkness to Light (D2L), aCharleston, S.C.-based non-profit with an international education outreach program. The training workshops are focused on educating adults how to prevent child sexual abuse, how to recognize the signs of abuse and how to react responsibly if abuse is suspected.

The partnership will be announced at UMI's 40th Anniversary event on Sept. 17 as part of the organization's continued outreach of community service among churches nationwide. UMI represents more than 40,000 African-American churches in the U.S. and three foreign countries, providing resources, curriculums and communication tools for Sunday Schools, Vacation Bible Schools, youth camps and other programs.

"Protecting our youth from abuse begins with community education and providing a dialogue to discuss this very difficult topic," said UMI spokesman Terence Chatmon. "Darkness to Light provides a very well researched and successful program that creates a tangible change in the way adults can work to protect our children. We are pleased to provide access to this training as part of UMI's ongoing community service."

Anne Lee, President / CEO of Darkness to Light, said the partnership with UMI is an important outlet for D2L's prevention message. She says similar partnerships with school districts, law enforcement, youth camps and other youth serving organizations expands the reach of prevention training.

For instance, South Carolina now leads the nation with more trainings of teachers and school staff than any other state, said Ms. Lee. By the end of 2010, more than 50-percent of the state's teachers will complete the D2L training course, she said.

About Darkness to Light

Darkness to Light (D2L) is a national non-profit, 501c3, dedicated to the prevention of child sexual abuse through public education and awareness. Research shows that one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that 40 million Americans are victims of child sexual abuse.

D2L programs raise awareness of the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse by educating adults on the steps they can take to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to the reality of the sexual abuse of children.


 



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