The YMCA Pledges to Protect Children During Five Days of Action

News | Mary Anne Swanstrom | April 19, 2019

Heart of the Valley YMCA is marking Child Abuse Prevention Month with Five Days of Action, April 22-26, 2019. Leading up to Healthy Kids Day® – a national initiative to improve the health and well-being of kids – Five Days of Action focuses on preventing child sexual abuse.

During April and all year long, Heart of the Valley YMCA encourages adults and organizations in the community to play a vital role in making North Alabama a safer place for children. This year’s Five Days of Action theme is “Know. See. Respond.” When adults know how abuse happens, see the warning signs and respond quickly to prevent abuse, they foster a culture of child abuse prevention. Together, we can bring awareness to the issue of child sexual abuse in our communities and have important conversations around how we can all work together to prevent it from happening.

“Protecting children from sexual abuse must be the number one goal of every person who cares about the health and well-being of kids,” said Jerry Courtney, Heart of the Valley YMCA CEO/President. “Together, we can stand up to demand that children are protected and encourage adults to make it happen in our community. It takes all of us.”

During the Five Days of Action, Heart of the Valley YMCA will host these events:

  • Cyber Security information sessions at the Hogan Family YMCA and the Southeast Family YMCA will help parents be proactive against cyberbuylling and sexting using best practices as well as understand computer protection, passwords and the potential pitfalls of apps, social media and online gaming.
  • Special displays of blue pinwheels – the symbol for child abuse prevention – outside Y branches and Early Childhood Education Centers remind members that the Y is committed to preventing child abuse with staff training and awareness campaigns.
  • Information stations inside branches and Early Childhood Education Centers feature child abuse prevention tip sheets and booklets, as well as Pledge to Protect cards. Heart of the Valley YMCA and the YMCA Guardians for Child Protection, with support from YMCA of the USA, Darkness to Light, the Redwoods Group Foundation, and Praesidium have made materials available to help adults learn more about preventing child sexual abuse.

For more information about preventing child sexual abuse visit


  • One in ten children will be sexually abused before they are 18.
  • 90% of child sexual abuse victims know their abuser.
  • Approximately 30% of children who are sexually abused are abused by family members.
  • 60% of child sexual abuse victims never tell anyone.
  • False reports are rare. Research shows that only 4 to 8% of child sexual abuse reports are fabricated.


  • You do not need to have proof that abuse is occurring to make a report, only reasonable suspicion. Reasonable suspicion means that you have witnessed maltreatment or boundary violations, either in the child or adult, or both. Or, you have received a disclosure from a child about abuse, neglect, or boundary violations towards them.
  • Child sexual abuse reports should be made to the police and/or state child protective services.
  • Contact the Darkness to Light Helpline at 866-FOR-LIGHT or text LIGHT to 741741 to have questions answered by trained counselors at no charge.
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