According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before age 18. This shocking statistic is the reason why the Riverbrook Regional YMCA, Wilton Public Schools, and Trackside Teen Center will host a kick-off event to bring the Stewards of Children sexual abuse prevention training to the Wilton community on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 a.m. at Trackside.

The announcement comes just one day after disturbing news from Wilton Police about the arrest of a 28-year-old NY man suspected of using Facebook to send pornographic selfies to multiple Wilton teens, and of trying to entice at least one 15 year old girl to meet him to have sex.

The nationally recognized Stewards of Children training was created by nonprofit Darkness to Light and teaches adults how to recognize, prevent and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The kick-off event will introduce guests to the training and is offered to day care providers, coaches, youth organizers, teachers, parents and concerned citizens.

“At the Y, we are committed to protecting the innocence of children,” says Bob McDowell, CEO of the Riverbrook Regional YMCA. “We are glad to be part of the solution by educating responsible adults and we are grateful to Wilton Public Schools and Trackside for partnering in this important community effort.”

According to information provided by the YMCA, 20-percent of sexually abused children are under the age of 8 years old. More than 90-percent of children who’ve been sexually abused know their abusers. Darkness to Light is taking a proactive approach to diminishing this social ill.

The mission of Darkness to Light is to empower people to prevent child sexual abuse. The organization’s programs raise awareness of the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse by educating adults about the steps they can take to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to the reality of child sexual abuse. Today, the program has more than 2,500 facilitators who teach the program in 48 states and 10 additional countries; more than 200,000 copies of the Stewards of Children curriculum have been distributed and the program is also available in Spanish and Icelandic.

“The ultimate mission of Darkness to Light, to end childhood sexual abuse, can only be accomplished by sharing the solution of prevention, awareness and education with more and more people. This, in turn, builds momentum and over time, changes the way our nation and culture cares for, protects and nurtures our children,” says Elizabeth Warren, national prevention program manager at Darkness to Light.

Studies have shown that participants in the Stewards of Children training program are better prepared to discuss child sex abuse issues with children and other adults, and are more aware of potential signs that sexual abuse may be occurring.

Stewards of Children was recognized by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services in their publication, Emerging Practices in Child Abuse Prevention.

The kick off event is free and will be held at Trackside Teen Center, 15 Station Rd.. To RSVP contact Christene Freedman via email  or by calling 203.762.8384, ext. 279. For additional information about Darkness to Light visit their website.