From the blog: Two incredible teens and why they help SCAN

blockblock_teensApril 7, 2014

We are continually impressed and inspired by the young volunteers involved with SCAN. There’s something special about teenagers making the time commitment to be a connection for kids in their own community, and for setting an example that many adults would be smart to follow. This month – as we launch our new Kids Need Connections campaign – seems like the perfect time to share a teen perspective of SCAN and its programs, so we sat down with Colleen and Cecily, two local high school students with a passion for supporting SCAN this month and all year long.

SCAN: Girls, tell us a little about yourselves.

COLLEEN: I’m a senior at TC Williams High School, and I run the TC Abuse Awareness Club. We’re helping SCAN by running bake sales, promoting the symbol of the pinwheel around our school, making posters with statistics to raise awareness of abuse in our community, and any other things SCAN may ask for assistance with.

CECILY: I’m a junior at Patriot High School. I’m helping SCAN as an individual. I’m self-motivated, and decided to reach out and support SCAN this April because it’s a wonderful cause.

SCAN: Why do you think it’s so important for young people to get involved with abuse prevention? 

COLLEEN: As a youth in foster care myself, I understand how child abuse is still shadowed by social taboos, and I believe that we as youth should (more…)

From the blog: What parents need to know about Sexting

Jenna-Lyn Ryckebusch, a Senior Programs Coordinator at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, recently joined the Darkness to Light Facilitators at their quarterly meeting to discuss sexting and online solicitation. 

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children categorizes sexting as the sending or posting of nude or partially nude images.  With the availability of technologically advanced cell phones with video capabilities, sexting is a growing issue for teens.  4% of cell-owning teens (12-17) say they have sent nude or partially nude images.  NCMEC through their NetSmartz Workshop, have developed 5 tips that parents can use to talk to their teens about sexting.

  1. Think about the consequences of taking, sending, or forwarding a sexual picture of someone else, even if it’s of you.  You could get kicked off of sports teams, face humiliation, lose educational opportunities, and even face a police investigation.
  2. Never take images of yourself that you wouldn’t want everyone – your classmates, your teachers, your family, or your employer – to see.
  3. Before hitting send remember that you can’t control where this image may travel.  What you send to a boyfriend or girlfriend could easily end up with their friends, and their friends’ friends, and so on.
  4. If you forward a sexual picture of someone without their consent, you are violating their trust and exposing them to potential ridicule.  It’s not up to you to decide who should see their body, so don’t forward the image to anyone.
  5. If anyone pressures you to send a sexual picture, don’t give in and talk to an adult you trust.  Remember that anyone who tries to get you to do something you are uncomfortable with is probably not trustworthy.

To prevent your teen from sexting, try setting house rules for Internet and cell phone use with your teen.  Talk about what the consequences will be if the rules are broken.   Know what apps teens are downloading and using.  Look for apps such as Snap Chat, Yik Yak, and Kik on their mobile devices and understand how the apps work and what they are used for.  Remember to model for your children what is appropriate to post on your own social media.

Try these Discussion Starters

• Have you ever received a sexual message or naked picture on your cell phone?

• Has anyone ever asked or pressured you to send a nude or sexual picture?

• Do you think it’s OK to send “sexy” images? Why?

• What could happen to you if you send or forward a naked picture?

• How likely is it that images and messages intended for one person will be seen by others?

For more information, visit our online Parent Resource Center and explore topics like Internet Safety & Cyber Bullying and Tech-Savvy Parenting.




From the blog: Why I support SCAN

Ever want to learn more about the people who support SCAN? Ever wonder WHY they support SCAN? Today we talk with Paola McDonald, a local entrepreneur (and mom), about her personal and professional support of SCAN’s programs in Northern Virginia.

SCAN: How did you first learn about SCAN? What was your initial involvement?

Paola: I used to work for SCAN several years ago.  I was the Parent Education Coordinator, back before I had children myself.  I was also the CASA Volunteer Recruiter for about one year.  It was a short term, contract position where I was able to assist the CASA program with their minority volunteer recruitment efforts.

SCAN: What is your involvement today? Why do you continue to support SCAN?

Paola: Today I continue to support SCAN as a Pinwheel Partner.  I am also on (more…)

From the blog: Thoughts from SCAN’s Parent Education Program

We’re currently in the middle of our spring ABCs of Parenting Class (in English), with 22 parents and their children joining us for a special 8-week series designed to change the way they nurture and raise their kids.  What better moment than this to share recent thoughts from our current Parent Education Manager, Andres Marquez-Lara, who acknowledges how well-known the classes are, but asks us to consider how ongoing support groups also play a critical role in SCAN’s impact on families moving forward:

DSC_3499SCAN’s Parent Education Program weaves together a series of programs that support parents and their children in fostering positive relationships with each other. The Parent Support Groups (PSGs) are a very important part of our Parent Education Program.

At times, they have been overshadowed by (more…)

From the blog: Speaking up for children…and SCAN

blogblock_spokespersonIt’s not easy to talk about child abuse and neglect. But it’s not something we can ignore. And we can’t keep thinking it doesn’t happen “in my community.”

Child abuse cuts across all boundaries of economic level, race, ethnic heritage and religious faith. Unfortunately, child abuse occurs in all segments of our society, but (more…)

From the blog: An opportunity to honor the heroes among us

alliesawards365 days a year, thousands of people across Northern Virginia are working to protect children, support parents and strengthen families. From social workers to teachers to child advocates to coaches to faith leaders, these people are our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends.

They’re also HEROES.

They’re connecting with the children in our community every day, changing the directions of lives and (more…)

From the blog: Lighting the Way for More Adults to Stand Up Against Child Sexual Abuse

blogblock_loudounCSAChild sexual abuse is not the problem of one socio-economic status, culture, race, religion, or gender. It impacts every community and every person across the globe. ~

SCAN is once again at the forefront of not only raising awareness of the prevalence of child sexual abuse in Northern Virginia, but also in providing adults with concrete ways in which they can prevent, recognize and react to child sexual abuse.  Two of our trained facilitators and SCAN staff members, Sonia Quiñónez and Delmira Morales, recently provided the Stewards of Children Training to a group of Arlington parents.  And although Sonia and Delmira have done multiple trainings across Northern Virginia over the last few years, this time, they were able to provide the training in Spanish with Spanish materials. We’re grateful that SCAN can be reactive to the community’s needs and that we are continually searching for funding to aide us in educating and engaging the community with such crucial trainings.

SCAN is also the recipient of a 100 Women Strong grant to provide the Stewards of Children training in Loudoun County over the next year.  We will be working with the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter (LAWS) and the Loudoun Child Advocacy Center to coordinate our efforts to reach community members who would benefit the most from the Stewards of Children Training.

f you are interested in your group, organization or company receiving the Stewards of Children Training, please contact me! I’m SCAN’s Community Education and Engagement Coordinator and would love to share more information with you.  To learn more about our work with Darkness to Light, you can also click here.

– Tracy Leonard




From the blog: A special request from CASA

AR_CASASCAN’s CASA volunteers are an incredibly special group of people. Last year, 79 individuals volunteered over 6,100 hours to advocate for 165 children in the Alexandria and Arlington court systems. They’re a diverse group — and it’s important they continue to be. We give a voice to a very diverse group of children: infants and teens, boys and girls, locally born & raised and recent immigrants. Having a volunteer base that includes male and bilingual volunteers is critical if we hope to continue speaking up for our community’s most at-risk children.

This winter, we’re working with CASA for Children of DC and CASA of Montgomery County MD to focus on the recruitment of male and bilingual volunteers. Know someone who might be interested? Please share the news; thousands of children in our region–especially young boys and Spanish-speaking children–are depending on it.

Of the more than 900 CASA programs across the country, six operate in our region. Click on a link below to learn more about the impact of CASAs in a specific local community and how you can help: