Meet Denise Jenkins, a prevention specialist with CARE House, a child advocacy center in Dayton, Ohio. Through a generous grant from The Health Path Foundation of Ohio, CARE House became the site for the first national pilot of the MBF Child Safety Matters™ program, which it began implementing this past spring.
Denise is a passionate child advocate. After CARE House participated in Darkness to Light’s pilot phase of the Stewards of Children program, she was trained to educate facilitators in Authorized Facilitator Workshops and has trained nearly 300 facilitators to date. She has also facilitated more than 700 training sessions educating nearly 8,500 adults to recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse to date, in addition to serving on state and community advisory boards, coalitions, and committees. She’s also been trained by MBF Child Safety Matters to facilitate its curriculum and to educate facilitators in Certified Facilitator Training.
The wife of a retired Air Force Officer, Denise still holds a special place in her heart for Florida, MBF’s home base, especially the beautiful beaches of the panhandle, which she and her family still visit several times a year. Denise and her husband Larry are grateful to live in the same community as their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren, as they enjoy the grandchildren’s many activities and frequent overnights. Denise is also a passionate University of Dayton basketball fans – Go Flyers!
Facilitator Q & A
What made you decide to use the MBF Child Safety Matters program?
We’re experiencing much success with the Stewards of Children curriculum, and responding to research and trends, CARE House made the decision to include school-based educational programs for children among its prevention efforts. We became aware of MBF Child Safety Matters three years ago when researching school-based educational programs for children and continued to watch Child Safety Matters’ effectiveness and growth in Florida.
We met with Lynn Layton, Stacy Pendarvis and Adam Hass during the International Symposium on Child Abuse in April 2015, and submitted a proposal to The Health Path Foundation of Ohio in July 2015. CARE House was awarded a two-year grant to implement MBF Child Safety Matters not only in Montgomery County but in two additional Ohio counties served by children’s advocacy centers that are associated with Dayton Children’s Hospital.
How are students, teachers, parents and administrators responding to the program?
CARE House and my personal, experiences with MBF Child Safety Matters have been remarkable. I leave each classroom observation confident that children are better protected from bullying, cyberbullying, digital abuse and all forms of child abuse. They engage quickly in the lessons and are eager to share what they have learned. I am confident, too, that the school staff is better able to protect these children. I believe we are creating a new child protection culture!
The partner schools embraced this curriculum and, as the first implementation phase ends, look forward to its continuation in the next two academic years. School leadership recognizes the need for this prevention education and supports MBF Child Safety Matters. Without exception, the eight facilitators enjoy sharing the curriculum with children in the classrooms. They are pleased with how it enhances their relationships with the teachers and the children and encourages dialogue. Teachers are not observers but participants in the lessons. Parents, with very few exceptions, chose for their children to participate in MBF Child Safety Matters and feedback is only positive.
CARE House is actively seeking funding to increase programming in the two current partner schools as well as to identify and recruit underserved school communities. The center looks forward to further developing the teacher and parent roles in this model.
What do you like about the program?
All the reasons CARE House chose to implement MBF Child Safety Matters:
- Adaptability to the implementation model developed by CARE House
- Recruitment of school partners enhanced by MBF Child Safety Matters materials; the efficacy is immediately recognized!
- Opportunities to develop partnerships with school communities to increase the awareness of CARE House and its services and resources
- Welcoming, collegial, supportive MBF Child Safety Matters staff
- Flash drive . . . always plugged in!
- Website . . . almost always minimized on my screen!