Children’s Concerns of St. Joseph County continues to empower kids
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY — The Children’s Concerns of St. Joseph County, Inc. has been providing awareness of personal body safety to local children since the 1980s.
Dianne Gorsuch, board member of Children’s Concerns, said the program began taking shape in 1983 when Judge Tom Shumaker secured a grant from the Michigan Trust Fund to start a sexual abuse prevention program for elementary school children in the county.
“It was first called the Child Abuse and Neglect Council (CA/N),” she said. “In 1985, I was hired on as one of the program’s first instructors. I had a background in education, so when the position of instructor opened up, it was the right fit for me.”
When state funding for CA/N halted in 1988, Children’s Concerns was formed as a non-profit organization in order to sustain the program.
The program is funded by the United Way, private donations, and a small service fee charged to the schools when Children’s Concerns visits.
“We started our own nonprofit and all we do is this program,” Gorsuch said. “We wanted to keep this program going because empowering kids and educating them about body safety is our mission. We have heard so many stories and seen so many good results because of this program.”
Gorsuch said the program instructs preschoolers, kindergarteners, and third graders in most of the schools in the county.
“We see approximately 2,000 school children every year,” she said. “We hope that a child in the county will see [the demonstration] probably three times by the time they [finish] third grade.”
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