"I Stand With Kids" Month Addresses Child Abuse

Updated: September 10, 2019 07:52 PM

September is 'I Stand With Kids' month. And community leaders in Duluth stood shoulder to shoulder, to call for action to prevent child abuse.


"We talk about child abuse and neglect, and it breaks our hearts. It breaks all of our hearts, as parents and community members," said police chief Mike Tusken.

But there are caring, compassionate people who are here to help, inside the comforting walls of First Witness.

First Witness provides services to coordinate an appropriate and well-rounded response to child abuse. They are calling on the community to help them provide needed education programming, to protect our kids. The goal is $50,000 for the month of September. That money will cover the Safe and Strong program.

"In September, we elevate our conversations about child abuse prevention," said Tracie Clanaugh, executive director of First Witness. 

Safe and Strong will begin in schools in October. "It's really to teach them that their bodies are their own, and it's OK to be in control of their bodies. It's not to scare them about strangers," said Kylee Pass, a family advocate.

It will cover 4,000 people, including the Duluth Schools, Hermantown, Silver Bay, Two Harbors, and Edison. Mayor Emily Larson has seen the impact in action with her own kids. "To have sons come home, and talk about what they had learned, to be mindful of their own bodies, and help their friends stay safe," she said.

Superintendent Bill Gronseth added, "First Witness is one of our most valuable community partners. Our kids depend on us, to stand up for them."

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