DanceSations School of Dance teamed up with a local charity this weekend to provide child sexual abuse awareness training for parents and instructors.

Director and owner Holly Pacheco said she invited Scars to conduct the training to help the organisation become more aware of the issue and protect its children.

“The training was very empowering,” Ms Pacheco said. “The information we received helped us to be more aware of the issue of child sexual abuse and taught us skills in how to recognise it, ways to prevent it, and how to act responsibly should it occur.”

Ms Pacheco said DanceSations wants its dancers to be in an environment where they feel safe and nurtured.

“We believe that protecting children in our studio and in our families is one of the most important things we can do and we felt it was important to learn all we can about this issue,” she said.

DanceSations invited Scars to provide the Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children training to their dance instructors and parents of dancers. It was conducted with the founder and director of Scars, Debi Ray-Rivers.

Ms Pacheco said that it is important to her that her organisation is capable of dealing with every aspect of a child’s life.

“Yes, we are a dance school, but as educators we are much more to these kids then just their dance instructors. Many of them confide in us.”

She added that DanceSations aims to take the lead in ensuring that its dancers not only have a firm grasp on dance technique but also that it is able to assist them in their social lives and be positive role models for them.

“In our search for areas in which we could make a difference in a child’s life we came across the Scars programme and felt it was a good start to what we want our school to be known for in looking after all the dancers that come through DanceSations’ doors.”

Mrs Ray-Rivers told The Royal Gazette that DanceSations is the first dance school that has become certified in their Stewards of Children sexual abuse prevention training.

“We were grateful that they offered the training not only to their dance instructors but also to the parents of their dancers,” she added.

“It is our hope that every organisation entrusted with the care of our children will learn the facts about sexual abuse, learn how to minimise the risk in their organisation, encourage staff members and parents to talk to their own children and families, recognise any possible signs and react responsibly to the issue of child sexual abuse.”

By Lisa Simpson The Royal Gazette