Originally published on BeAKidsHero on April 2, 2015.

by Ginger Kadlec — get free updates of new posts here.

Preventing Child Abuse
I was reminded at a recent fundraising dinner how many people want to help prevent child abuse, but aren’t quite sure what to do or where to start.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month so now’s a great time to get involved! YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE and it’s easy to do!

4 Ways to Make a Difference

Here are 4 ways you can get involved… a little or a lot… to help protect children from abuse and neglect.

1. Educate yourself and others in your circle of influence. Talk about easy! There’s a plethora of information available online and via local resources that is literally at our fingertips. Raising awareness by sharing sites like mine and others dedicated to protecting children is a quick and effective way to make an immediate impact. I continue to be amazed at the power of social media and the number of people it touches.

Share stories, posts and tweets that speak to you or that you think are relevant to people in your circle. The more we talk about child abuse, the better able we will be to respond to and even prevent it.

Thousands of organizations around the world offer services to children and families in need, including those that aid victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. Here are a few of those amazing organizations with whom you may wish to connect (please note — this is not a comprehensive list and I apologize to those not included):

2. Support your local child advocacy center. There are hundreds of child advocacy centers (CACs) located throughout the United States. Most (if not all) of these are not-for-profit centers, so they rely heavily on donations of time, money and resources. I volunteer for a couple of CACs in my area, as a member of the board of directors for the Boone Co. CACand as a “Smart Steps” and fundraising volunteer at Chaucie’s Place. Of course, I would recommend donating to either of these centers (they are AWESOME!), but you can also donate to your local center. To find a center near you, simply search the Internet for “child advocacy center in…” and add your municipality or state. Contact a center near you to see what volunteer opportunities they have or to make a donation.

The National Children’s Alliance is a national certification organization for CACs around the country and lists all member CACs on its website. Learn more about the role of CACs in child abuse investigations in “Children Are Job #1.”

3. Support any organization that helps children. Heroes are everywhere! In schools. students who are lovedAt Boys and Girls Clubs. On playgrounds. At camps. So, go grab your cape and do something that fires you up! Kids need engaged, caring adults in their lives — the absence of that has dire consequences both for them, and society as a whole. Recently, a child disclosed abuse to me because he didn’t feel he could talk to any other adult he knew… while I was extremely proud of his bravery, I was sad to learn the adults in his life apparently weren’t connecting on a deeper level with this young boy.

It may sound cliche, but children who feel secure, confident, safe and loved are more likely to stand-up and speak out against abuse… abuse of themselves, and of others. If parents don’t instill these feelings in their children, their children will seek to find validation elsewhere. By volunteering to work one-on-one with a child or by donating to organizations who provide that very service, YOU will make a difference in building a child’s self-esteem, knowledge and well-being.

4. “Do something!” The keynote speaker at the fundraiser that got me thinking about all of this quoted a guest from “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. In 1996, then 11-year-old Hydeia Broadbent shared with Oprah her experience as being HIV-positive in a powerfully candid interview. Hydeia said, “If you stay in your bed and feel sorry for yourself… and say, ‘I’m going to die,’ (then) why get up and try to make a difference? But if you say, ‘Today’s another day. I can get up, I can do something,’ (you can) make something positive.”

The takeaway? 

  • Support organizations in your community that help children and families.
  • Do something.
  • YOU can make a difference.

By working together to educate and empower ourselves and the children in our lives, we WILL improve the world one child at a time.

 About Ginger

Ginger KadlecWorking to improve the world one child at a time, Ginger has made it her life mission to raise awareness of the world-wide epidemic of child abuse. An impassioned child advocate, trainer, speaker and child forensic interviewer, Ginger regularly blogs about child protection issues and has released a report for parents and other caring adults, “10 Scary Apps.” Ginger can be contacted via her website “Ginger Kadlec: BeAKidsHero™” at BeAKidsHero.com or find her on Facebook at facebook.com/gingergkadlec.

You can also connect with Ginger via other social media at:

Kristen Jenson
Kristen A. Jenson is the founder of Protect Young Minds and author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids. Kristen enjoys speaking, writing and anything else that will help empower kids to reject pornography. Kristen earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden, watching Masterpiece Theater, and taking long walks with friends who tolerate her incessant talking about you know what. Above all else, her husband and three children are her greatest treasures.