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Students engage in ‘Stewards of Children’ training

Empowering adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse is the goal of specialized training received recently by 20 students in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s human services and restorative justice major.

Led by the organization, Darkness to Light, the training is called Stewards of Children and has been offered by the human services and restorative justice program as part of its commitment to provide one external professional development opportunity for its students each academic year.

Students and faculty undergo virtual training related to child sexual abuse.
Students and faculty undergo virtual training related to child sexual abuse.

“Many of the human services and restorative justice graduates will work in careers that interface with children in various capacities, so it’s important for the program to provide supplemental learning opportunities that address one of the most prevalent health problems children face – child sexual abuse,” said Elizabeth E. Winder, assistant professor of human services.

Darkness to Light estimates that 1 in 10 children will experience sexual abuse before their 18th birthday.

The Stewards of Children training was initially planned for an in-person format in Spring 2020, however due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the training was modified to a virtual application.

“This training is one that will help me be more aware and help aid in a better understanding of signs and situations that I should be more cautious of when working with children,” said Candy M. Harvey, of Cogan Station, a senior in the major. “I think this training will be a big aspect and help to my future career.”

Deanna M. Mancuso, of Williamsport, a junior in the major, said, “After completing this training, I feel very confident that I will be able to recognize the signs of child sexual abuse. I feel an extra sense of responsibility to protect children because they may not have a voice to speak for themselves, and I would be more than willing to speak for them. Children are so pure, and it angers me to know their innocence is being taken away by someone.” Mancuso added, “We were always taught about “stranger danger,” but the truth is that most sexual abuse happens by people we know and trust.”

Darkness to LightBased in South Carolina, Darkness to Light is guided by the vision of a world free from child sexual abuse. The organization’s evidence-informed trainings strive to increase knowledge and change behavior while empowering adults and organizations to enhance child safety in their communities.

In addition to an Associate of Applied Science degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in human services and restorative justice, Penn College offers an online competency credential in chemical dependency. The educational offerings are a response to industry and societal needs and aim to educate and empower professionals to make transformative changes in their workplaces and communities.

To learn more about human services and restorative justice, call the School of Business, Arts & Sciences at 570-327-4521.

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