Nonprofit gets $10K donation for Sumter, Clarendon youth violence prevention

Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands will hire additional educator


A nonprofit that serves sexual assault and abuse victims throughout Sumter, Clarendon and the Midlands wants to take South Carolina out of the top ranks for women being killed by men, and a recent anonymous donation will help its effort.

Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands received a $10,000 donation from a "Cheerful Giver" in recognition of the group's Youth Violence Prevention Curriculum and vision for ending violence, according to Mary Dell, executive director.

"There is nothing more powerful we can do to break the cycle of violence than to make sure all children receive violence prevention education from educators who are trained to recognize and respond to trauma," Dell said.

Dell said the donation has made it possible to hire an additional full-time prevention educator this summer to "increase access to violence prevention education for youth in Sumter and Clarendon counties."

"While this grant is not specifically funding that work, it frees up some other areas of support to make that possible," she said. "We're really excited to continue to grow our team in Sumter and Clarendon."

The Youth Violence Prevention Curriculum, which currently serves more than 3,500 local children a year, is a primary prevention, practice-based approach to ending violence by helping young people build communication, boundary setting, conflict resolution and other relationship skills that prepare them to have healthy friend and dating relationships, according to the nonprofit.

Youth are taught to safely intervene to prevent interpersonal violence much in the way that the stop smoking campaign helped to dramatically reduce the number of smokers.

Information provided by the nonprofit says years of research and advocacy have established that these topics must be addressed in schools and other community settings - in addition to the home - to effectively stop the cycle of violence. In addition to implementation by STSM staff, a facilitator training model is available to the community so that local educators, guidance counselors and youth workers can implement the curriculum.