Summer Book Picks from SCAN

We’re reading some great books this summer at SCAN! Here are some of our current picks:


  • Our CASA volunteers just finished reading Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc as part of their quarterly book club for in-service hours. LeBlanc chronicles the lives of two teenage girls in this New York Times bestseller, giving a glimpse of the tragedy they endure through homelessness, betrayal, the heartbreaking separation of prison, and, throughout it all, the damage of poverty.
  • Parenting with Presence: Practices for Raising Conscious, Confident, Caring Kids by Susan Stiffelman, MFT, was recommended by SCAN’s Parent Education Program Manager. An easy, non-academic read, the book covers concepts through the author’s own experience working with families. Stiffelman expresses the challenges many families face, and provides insight on why certain behaviors are happening, ways to help parents build awareness about these behaviors and small changes families can make that can make a big difference.
  • Know a tween/teen reader? Check out Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories, R.J. Palacio’s sequel to the wildly popular Wonder. These stories are an extra peek at main character Auggie before he started at Beecher Prep and during his first year there. Readers get to see other perspecties of Auggie and his life through Julian, the bully; Christopher, Auggie’s oldest friend; and Charlotte, Auggie’s new friend. Wonder is a book in SCAN’s Young Adult Stories that Build Resiliency series; discussion questions and other resources can be found here.

What are YOU reading this summer? We’d love to hear!

Becoming a Voice for Kids: A Glimpse Into Volunteer Training

wood-light-fashion-peopleSCAN’s volunteers have varied backgrounds in both experience and culture but are brought together because of a shared commitment to our mission.  One such volunteer is Emma Pazos.  She is a part of our newest CASA volunteer group going through training right now.  And although she has not yet been assigned a CASA case (this new class will be sworn-in next month), she has already made an impact that I am not sure she even realizes. Which is why we wanted to take time to learn more about her story…

Emma was driven to find a volunteer opportunity that helped children who were abused, which is how she found SCAN. She wanted to do something meaningful – “to help children in the healing process, and help them to change their lives – a better future without pain, and a chance to have a normal childhood.”

Once she was accepted into the training program for CASA volunteers, Emma wanted more!  She asked about bringing a Darkness to Light Stewards of Children training to a small group at her place of work.  Emma “wanted to create consciousness in other people. It is a team effort. Children can’t do it alone. People need to be aware of this societal problem.”  So she decided to begin with the adults closest to her, her co-workers. I asked Emma how her co-workers felt about the training.

“They liked it a lot and they felt great to learn about this,” she said. “In fact, a co-worker told me that she has shared some tips with her brother in Germany who has a seven-year-old kid, and other co-workers are using the techniques learned in the training to talk with their children.”

I also asked Emma how CASA training is going:

“It is going great. It is really enriching to hear the different speakers and topics associated with this problem. It opens your mind and makes you understand the mission we all have to protect children and all the parties that participate in this process…

I am so thankful for CASA because they are giving me this wonderful opportunity to help children. I strongly believe that it is going to change my life, as well.” 

Emma knows she will have an impact on children as a CASA volunteer.  She says “I will contribute to change a child’s present life for a better future, for a permanent home. It is a great responsibility because our reports will make a great impact in the judge’s decision, as well. Hopefully, step-by-step, we can make a difference for them forever. I can’t wait to pass the final interview, and be ready for the fieldwork!”

– Tracy Leonard, Public Education Manager


A Guest Post (and a Peek at Public Ed in 2015) for the CFP GoodWorks Blog

SCAN is thrilled to once again be named “one of the best small charities” in the DC region by the Catalogue for Philanthropy, and this week we guest-blogged over on their site. Read on for their popular “7 Questions” series, written by our own Public Education Manager Tracy Leonard:

[Re-posted from CFO GoodWorks Blog, original post on 12/18/14]

Tracy 27 Questions with Tracy Leonard, Public Education Manager of SCAN

SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) works to stop the cycle of abuse through its parent education, child advocacy and community outreach programs. Tracy works to enhance how SCAN both engages and empowers community members to take action to stop child abuse. She facilitates SCAN’s Allies in Prevention Coalition — Northern Virginia’s only comprehensive coalition focused on child abuse prevention — as well as SCAN’s partnership with Darkness to Light.

  1. What motivated you to begin working with your organization?

SCAN and I found each other at just the right moment in time. After staying home with my two children for three years, it was time for me to go back to work. Children and children’s issues have always been a passion of mine so when I saw that SCAN was looking for a Public Education Manager, I knew it was the right fit. The position was a compliment to my background in elementary education as well as my recent Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology. I was given the task of educating those in Northern Virginia about the scope, nature and consequences of child abuse and neglect and the importance of positive, nurturing parenting. A task that I met with open arms and an open mind.

  1. What exciting change or innovation is on your mind?

SCAN is known for its innovation in programming. One program we are planning to launch is Operation Safe Babies – an educational program that would teach new parents about safe sleep, how to soothe a crying baby, and the effects of Shaken Baby Syndrome. In addition to the educational resources, we hope to be able to provide cribs for their new bundles of joy. We are looking forward to working with other social service agencies in Northern Virginia to help reach the families they serve.

  1. Who inspires you (in the philanthropy world or otherwise)? Do you have a hero?

My parents are my biggest heroes and champions. They were young parents (17 and 18 years old) when they had me in 1973. Despite every obstacle they faced and every indicator that said they would not be successful parents or partners, they…[READ THE FULL BLOG POST ON CFP GOODWORKS BLOG HERE.]

New Work = New Opportunities with Mandated Reporters

SCAN’s work in Public Education has been expanding its reach to include child care workers. These newly formed relationships are a perfect example of how we connect with the communities in which we live.

Through our involvement with the Child Protection Partnership of Greater Prince William, we have received funding and administrative support from the Early Childhood Partnership to train 100 child care workers in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park using the Darkness to Light curriculum. There are 6 trainings scheduled before January 1 in which child care staff from large centers, home-based centers, and preschools will be trained.

Another opportunity with local child care workers came up as well — to educate them about their role as mandated reporters and more importantly, their role in protecting children.  SCAN was connected with Open Arms Christian Child Development Center in Ashburn by one of our board members, Joe Carlin.  Through this connection, we were able to provide one of our newly developed workshops to a group of over 70 child care staff at Open Arms.

Although child care staff are required to take mandated reporter training, mostly through online tools, it is important to have discussions around the topic in person and to constantly remind child care workers that they are mandated reporters and have a responsibility to protect children.  Through this training, not only did we discuss the roles and responsibilities of mandated reporters within their center, but also when they are in the community.  Their mandated reporter “hat” should not simply come off when they walk out of their classrooms.  They have an obligation to help keep all of the children in their communities safe by speaking up when they witness abuse or harsh interactions or when they have suspicions of child abuse and neglect.

It is a great responsibility to be a mandated reporter.  But children need a voice and it starts with them and it should start with you, too.

For more information about workshops – fee for service workshops

For more information about harsh interactions – fact sheet

For more information about being a voice for children – Advocacy Day

New website, new blog page – come on over!

We are thrilled to share that earlier this month we launched our brand new website. It’s full of great new ways to access our program information, search for parenting resources and learn more about SCAN. (Not to mention the fact that it’s mobile-friendly and works well on smartphones and tablets!)

The launch of the new site means our BuildingBlocks blog will now live THERE, and still bring you great information on child welfare trends, happenings at SCAN and ways to get involved. If you are a subscriber here, you have been automatically subscribed to receive updates via the new blog.

If not, we invite you to click here and subscribe today!

It’s coming: Prevention 2.0

We’re gearing up for a meeting with our local Stewards of Children authorized facilitators this September, and this blog post was going to be a quick, simple reminder that these professionals are available across Northern Virginia to give your community organizations powerful trainings in the prevention of child sexual abuse.

But then our national partner in this outreach, Darkness to Light, announced this week that they’re unveiling Stewards of Children version 2.0 – an even more impactful training to help adults recognize their responsibility and feel empowered to take action. And we got inspired all over again to do more outreach, taking this opportunity – referred to as a “documentary training that will change the world” – to invite every one of our friends and supporters and contacts like you to consider how you could support one of the new, two-hour trainings. How YOU can encourage a group you’re involved with to consider having a one-day training that could change the lives of the children you care about, the children who NEED YOU TO PROTECT THEM.

We hope you’ll watch D2L’s new video preview of their program, and then contact SCAN to discuss a training with your youth sports league coaches, your faith group, your Parent Teacher Association, your playgroup, your neighborhood association and so on. We’re meeting next month with our group of trained facilitators who are ready to change the way you think about the prevention of child sexual abuse, and our partners at the Center for Alexandria’s Children also have a group of facilitators available for trainings in the City of Alexandria.


For information on our work with Darkness to Light, visit

To request more information or schedule a training, contact Tracy Leonard, SCAN’s Community Education & Engagement Coordinator at

SNEAK PEEK @ SCAN’s Croquet Day

Wondering what our new Croquet Day on May 18th will be all about? We have to keep some of the fun a surprise, but we can share a few photos of the preparations in full swing for this family-friendly event. Enjoy this sneak peek of the FUN, then contact us to VOLUNTEER ( or REGISTER TODAY (it’s the final day to register!)…Family Teams are only $75 and Spectator Tickets (for other lawn games and treats) are only $15 per person! Otherwise, stop by to see the fun, buy a snack and play a lawn game or two. See you on the 18th!

And now, for the official Sneak Peek:









A mid-month update: Smiles, pinwheels & so many more opportunities to make a difference!

blogblock_midApril2013We kicked off National Child Abuse Prevention Month in a blur of smiles and blue pinwheels! On April 2nd we distributed thousands of public education materials at our exciting Allies in Prevention Awards (smiles courtesy of ABC7’s Leon Harris and our amazing 2013 honorees!), and we haven’t slowed down since. From visits to dozens of local businesses and faith groups (otherwise known as Pinwheel Partners) to attending the statewide Virginia Child Abuse Prevention Conference to media coverage in the local papers and even on the ABC7 evening news, SCAN staff and volunteers have found a renewed energy and commitment this month to empowering adults right here in our community to prevent child abuse and neglect.

SCAN’s “regular” work continues, too. Our Alexandria/Arlington CASA Program just completed a new round of Volunteer Training and hosted a swearing-in for 14 new volunteer child advocates this month. Our Parent Education Program kicked off a new ABCs Para Padres (ABCs of Parenting) Class for Spanish-speaking families in April, and is hosting a number of fantastic Parent Workshops this spring covering topics like immigration law and family financial planning.

To top it all off we’re thrilled to report that through our participation in Alexandria’s amazing one-day Spring2Action event yesterday, generous donors helped us raise over $4,000 for SCAN’s programs!

So we may be half-way through Child Abuse Prevention Month, but there are still SO MANY opportunities to take action this April:

1. THIS SATURDAY, APRIL 20th, attend a Stewards of Children Training with SCAN at McLean Baptist Church. We’ll be training participants to recognize, respond and react to signs of child sexual abuse. EVERY adult in our community should have this training. Consider your faith group, local youth sports organization or neighborhood. Who else might be interested in this information? Learn more (and register) here.

2. THROUGH APRIL 30th, donate your change at a local Burke & Herbert Bank location and they will match up to $1,000 for SCAN! Simply let your teller know you want to donate your coins to SCAN, and they’ll take care of the rest. For participating locations, see the official flyer here.

3. ALL MONTH LONG, visit our Pinwheel Partners in your community. Tell them you appreciate that they’re making a commitment to your community’s children and families. Buy a pinwheel from them to support SCAN, and then plant that pinwheel in your front yard, at your workplace or with your faith group.

4. ALL YEAR LONG, spread the word that EVERY CHILD & FAMILY MATTERS by sharing SCAN’s The Little Picture campaign. Check out our resources for community members and organizations to share here.

p.s. And don’t forget – we love to hear about everything you’re doing this month for SCAN! Plant a pinwheel? Send us a pic! Visit a Pinwheel Partner? Message us on Facebook!

What is a Pinwheel Partner?

PinwheelPartner_ClingWe’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response from dozens of local businesses and faith groups who have joined us as Pinwheel Partners this year during National Child Abuse Prevention Month. From salons and toy stores to coffee shops and churches, there are so many places where you might see the official Pinwheel Partner decal this April! But what does being a Pinwheel Partner really mean? For many local businesses, it means they’ll be selling pinwheels for $2 to raise money for SCAN, distributing materials from our The Little Picture: Every Child & Family Matters campaign or hosting special events to support our programs. It’s an exciting program because every Pinwheel Partner provides a way for us to reach new neighborhoods and families we might not otherwise touch.

In addition to our important organizational partners, we consider every individual who buys a pinwheel or supports these partners during April a Pinwheel Partner. Because—when it comes down to it—being a Pinwheel Partner is really about simply saying, “I’m planting this pinwheel because I support the prevention of child abuse and neglect.” We invite businesses, faith groups and individual community members to get involved this April:

  • BHB Flyer.pubPurchase a pinwheel from one of our Pinwheel Partners (see the full list here) or make your own here! Plant it at home, your office, school or faith group. Spread the word that you believe every child and family matters.
  • Register for our April 20th Stewards of Children Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training held at McLean Baptist Church. Learn more here.
  • Use our bulletin inserts, fact sheets and newsletter articles at your place of worship or local school.
  • Tweet about the campaign! @scanofnova #TheLittlePicture #PinwheelsforPrevention
  • Donate your change to SCAN at one of the 10 Burke & Herbert Bank locations with a Change Machine. Find locations here. Burke & Herbert Bank will match up to $1,000 in donations to SCAN!

We believe every child and family matters. Every Pinwheel Partner does, too. So the important question isn’t ‘What is a Pinwheel Partner?’—it’s ‘Are you ready to be one?’

SCAN on the radio? Yes!

blogblock_parentingtoday2013A lot of people receive SCAN’s parenting resources in-person at community events. Thousands visit our online Parent Resource Center every month. Hundreds follow SCAN on Facebook. Dozens even read this blog every week. But there’s another way we’re able to reach thousands – perhaps tens of thousands! – of families every month: radio.

For over a decade, SCAN has worked with Clear Channel Media + Entertainment to produce Parenting Today, an interview-style show focusing on one parenting topic or challenge at a time. SCAN’s Executive Director Sonia Quiñónez hosts the show, interviewing one local expert for each segment that airs on various Clear Channel stations including 97.1 WASH-FM, 98.7 WMZQ, HOT 99.5, BIG 100.3, and DC 101. In recent months, topics and guests have included:

We invite you to listen to topics that interest you on our website here. But we also hope you’ll tune in on Sunday mornings to catch our newest shows, as well as the public affairs programming created by Clear Channel and other nonprofits in our region.

(Do you know someone who could offer great insight and resources for today’s parents? Let us know! We’re always developing new show topics and searching for knowledgable guests. Leave a comment below or email us at with your suggestions. Thanks!)