The Child Abuse Pre­vention and Awareness orga­ni­zation of Hillsdale County will hold an event to educate adults about sexual abuse of children. | Facebook

The Child Abuse Pre­vention and Awareness orga­ni­zation of Hillsdale County will host a training event to teach adults who work with children how to prevent sexual abuse of children. 

The event, called “Keeping Our Children Safe,” is part of CAPA’s Stewards of Children program and will be held on March 14.

“The Stewards of Children program is an evi­dence-informed, proactive approach to child sexual abuse pre­vention,” Exec­utive Director of CAPA Christie Campbell said in an email.  

Campbell said the training will take about two hours and includes an hour-long video called “Darkness to Light” that fea­tures stories from sur­vivors of abuse, expert advice on how to rec­ognize and prevent abuse, and prac­tical guidance. In addition to the video, member training will feature a workbook and class dis­cus­sions.  

“You’ll learn the ‘Five Steps to Pro­tecting Our Children’ and how they can be applied to keep our kids safe,” Campbell said in an email. 

Court Appointed Special Advocate Program Coor­di­nator Heather Upton will lead the program. Upton recently took similar training herself to prepare for facil­i­tating this program. She said the sur­vivors’ stories made this training stand out as one of the only pro­grams she has done that struck her as real­istic. She added that there was an element of hope to these stories as well.

“They’re not letting it define them. They’re wanting to get the word out there so that people know what to look for, and how to under­stand the struggle that people that have been sex­ually abused go through,” Upton said.

Upton added that she hopes the training will raise awareness in the com­munity and help those who vol­unteer with CAPA to under­stand how to rec­ognize and deal with sit­u­a­tions such as these. 

“It’s a topic that most people don’t want to talk about, and right­fully so, but it does happen, and I think it’s good to have that com­munity awareness there,” Upton said. 

The training is designed for adults who work with children but is open to all members of the com­munity. Space is limited to a capacity of 25, but those inter­ested can contact or call 517 – 437-3100.