Thursday, November 27, 2008

International Spokesperson & Volunteer Coordinator: Stop the Silence

Well, this Thanksgiving, I certainly have a lot to be thankful for! So many blessings have come my way this week! One of the greatest is finding out that I will be the spokesperson for Stop the Silence!

Child sexual abuse is a silent epidemic throughout the United States and the world, creating social havoc–for the children, adult survivors, and society. It can be prevented and it can be treated, but a conscious and sustained effort to ensure the safety of the children is both missing and essential.

Stop the Silence, Inc. works with individuals, community- and faith-based organizations, companies, and governmental organizations in various communities—locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally—to raise awareness and funds to comprehensively support and conduct programming.

The overarching Goals are to:
1) to promote healing of victims and survivors; and
2) to celebrate the lives of those healed.

Pamela Pine, PhD, MPH, an international health and development specialist, began the programming to address the pandemic and the critical need for comprehensive programming for this very complex issue. In 2003, as a result of an obvious lack of funding and awareness on the part of the public and policymakers alike, Dr. Pine conducted research with the University of Maryland's Department of Communication to better understand what the public knew about CSA and what would motivate them to action. Drawing on that research, the annual, National (now International) Race to Stop the Silence was born in 2004. This event generated forward movement of the organization. A grant from DHHS for a comprehensive CSA focus in Maryland followed.

Pamela Pine incorporated Stop the Silence in 2004 given the need for a structure from which to provide adequate, essential, and comprehensive programming. Activities include research, media advocacy, training, community outreach and education, policy development, and support for direct services. The organization is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, with Dr. Pine serving as CEO. Funding levels continue to grow steadily from various foundations, (e.g. FORD FOUNDATION), private donations (e.g.., through the SCHWAB CHARITABLE FUND), government organizations (DOJ), corporations (PEPSI BOTTLING GROUP), and private individuals, and now stands at approximately $350,000 per year. Stop the Silence functions with a small staff, low overhead, and a force of volunteers, the total for which varies from four to 150, depending upon the time of year and ongoing projects.

Stop the Silence has proven its drive and capabilities and plans to push forward on all fronts to ensure that children are protected and that survivors get the help they need to thrive.

I am so excited to be working with such a winning team!

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