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American Campaign for Prevention of Child Abuse

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Child Abuse Prevention, Citizen Participation, Civil Rights, Crime & Law, Domestic Violence, Family Violence Shelters, Homeless & Housing

Mission: Founded in 1984, the National Council on Child Abuse and Family Violence (NCCAFV) and its American Campaign for Prevention of Child Abuse and Family Violence provides intergenerational violence prevention services to strengthen community prevention and treatment programs that address family violence -- child abuse, spouse/partner abuse (domestic violence), and elder abuse by bringing together community and national stakeholders, professionals and volunteers to mobilize innovative efforts that prevent the intergenerational transmission of violence within families. NCCAFV serves all fifty states and U.S. territories (and works internationally) as a resource center on family violence prevention services by utilizing professional and lay volunteers who provide indirect and direct service programs of emergency referrals; training and technical assistance; program, organization and resource development; and public education and information campaigns through the media and on its website: www.nccafv.org and www.familyviolence.org

Target demographics: children and families

Geographic areas served: the United States

Programs: Provided technical assistance and training to child abuse and family violence prevention and treatment agencies and child welfare and human service organizations at staff level both nationally and internationally

conducted the national awareness campaign of the national council's american campaign for the prevention of child abuse and family violence

published, distributed and made available prevention education materials nationally through website to hundreds of agencies, schools, libraries, and thousands of individuals

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Alan D.3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Since our organization is not legally permitted by the courts to share actual stories of people served who have experienced family violence, we share this already published story solely as representative of the work we do with individuals and families all over the United States:

Strength can be defined as “the capacity to withstand great force or pressure,” a concept with which Shaunta is more than familiar. As a single mother to an 18-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son, she wears many hats. “I’m not just their mom,” she admits proudly, “I’m their counselor, teacher, friend…” and the list goes on. Her own mother was a single mom of three children overwhelmed by physical and mental challenges. Her father had been in prison since the time Shaunta was born. As a result, Shaunta went to live with another family member and was eventually placed into foster care.

With all the instability in her life, she never had an example of how to be a mother. When she became a mother herself, she knew that providing for her children and creating the support she never had was the most important thing she could do. Throughout her journey of supporting and raising her family, Shaunta has found herself continually fighting the odds. Financial stress, physical and mental health complications, and a lack of support and compassion from outside resources are just a few of the obstacles she faced during her journey. Yet despite all this, she strives to make different choices for her children than the ones she experienced growing up. Shaunta has remained strong and faced each challenge head on, teaching her children that “as long as you are trying, anyone can beat the odds.”

Throughout the worst of her struggles, Shaunta worried that she would be unable to care for her children. She describes those times as being like a game of Russian Roulette, never knowing what bill would be paid or if there would be enough food for their next meal.

“As long as you are trying, anyone can beat the odds.”

“There were times I thought maybe I should just drive off a cliff, but I wanted a better life for my kids… I had thought maybe someone with more money could take better care of them, but I beat that,” Shaunta admits, acknowledging the similarities in the challenges she and her mother both faced.

But even in the hardest times, she told herself that her children would be taken care of. Sometimes, she went without eating, just to make sure her children had enough food for themselves. The instability of her financial situation resulted in several close calls with Child Protective Services where her children were nearly removed from her home, but Shaunta was determined to not repeat the patterns she had seen in her family.

On top of her financial challenges, Shaunta was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 32, a condition that attacks the nerves throughout her body. She found herself experiencing times of extreme numbness and couldn’t even drink a glass of water without pouring it on herself. During the worst episode, she was paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair for two months. Even then, she was fighting for her children. She told herself, “I cannot be like this. My kids have no one but me.”

She pulled through the paralysis and decided to change jobs, continuing to work while training to become a CNA to care for others living with multiple sclerosis. When her children faced challenges during this time, Shaunta still went the extra mile to care for them without neglecting her responsibilities, even when that meant taking bus rides after work to visit her daughter, who was in the hospital during this time. She pushed herself to pursue this new career to serve others and provide stable financial support for her family. Now, she is a proud CNA II empowering others with multiple sclerosis to take care of themselves and not let their lives be hindered by this disease.

“If my kids were taken from me, I don’t know what I would do,” she says. “If they go on vacation with other people, I’m worried, you know? Just the thought of not being able to take care of them, to see them, to love on them…I don’t think I could bear that feeling. That’s why I always tried my best…to stay above water and provide for them.”
This past spring, Shaunta’s daughter accomplished a major milestone, something that Shaunta had not done herself and greatly desired for her own children: graduating from high school. When her daughter’s graduation day came, it was met with great celebration. For Shaunta, family is unity and togetherness. Every challenge they have faced, they have faced together. The most important thing to her was making sure her children were not only taken care of, but that they knew they were loved and wanted. “I want them to know they have beaten the odds,” she says proudly. “I still struggle today, but I have raised my kids and supported them…”

To keep their family strong and connected, Shaunta and her children practice what they call “family sharing time.” They take the time to intentionally sit down together and share about the things going on in their life and how they can support each other through it. Everything they go through, they do so together and ultimately, they come out stronger.

Having gone through the foster care system as a child, Shaunta knew that she wanted something different for her own children and would fight to make that happen for them. Today, she still has contact with her mom and tries to forgive her and not judge her for the past. Even so, she questions why her mom did not fight harder to keep her. Shaunta wonders if a different child welfare system that offered more support systems and counseling services could have made a difference for parents like her mom. She believes that if someone had offered her mom these types of resources and programs earlier in life, she may not have felt compelled to turn to harmful choices. Maybe, she would have felt more equipped to keep her daughter.

Shaunta desires a system where families are met with kindness and humility because every situation is unique – a system free of judgement that advocates for families in their greatest time of need. With a more responsive system, Shaunta believes that families will have better chances and stronger motivation to stay together.

Shaunta shares her story with others with hope that families will find strength to fight for each other and know they are not alone. Despite all the challenges her family has faced, no matter how severely she struggled, Shaunta drew on her children as a source of strength and fought through each obstacle to keep her family together and offer her kids a better life.

“If my kids were taken from me, I don’t know what I would do,” she says. “If they go on vacation with other people, I’m worried, you know? Just the thought of not being able to take care of them, to see them, to love on them…I don’t think I could bear that feeling. That’s why I always tried my best…to stay above water and provide for them.”

When asked what she believes is the most important thing for families to take away from her story, Shaunta said, “…through all the ups and downs, through all the lonely nights and sleepless nights, you can get through with the love of your family and the strength from your kids.”


Previous Stories
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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked as a volunteer for more than 30 years with the American Campaign for Prevention of Child Abuse and Family Violence.

One of the great things about the American Campaign is that everyone on the Board of Directors and everyone in leadership as officers and as staff are unpaid volunteers who have longstanding professional experience in the prevention of all forms of family violence - child abuse and neglect, domestic violence (spouse/partner abuse), and elder abuse and neglect.

The American Campaign is a nonprofit U.S. 501(c)(3) corporation that receives no government contracts, grants or funding of any kind. It is supported by individuals through public and private sector workplace campaigns and foundation contributions.

The volunteer focus of the American Campaign assures you that your financial support provides greater direct services to family violence victims with a minimum of overhead for management and fundraising.

Donor

Rating: 5

My Giving Story……

I have several charities that are close to my heart, however American Campaign for Prevention of Child Abuse and Family Violence is the charity I am most fond of. ( http://nccafv.org )

My reason for supporting this organization is my son Adarian. When he was just 2 years old he was a victim of child abuse. He suffered blunt force trauma to his head & lacerations to his liver and pancreas from a man who my husband and I had known for well over 10 years.

Adarian was clinically pronounced brain dead less than 48 hours after he sustained his injuries, because he lacked oxygen at some point during infliction. His precious innocent life was cut short because of someone else’s selfish cruel hands.

We can no longer share the love we have for Adarian physically, BUT WE ALL can show our support and love to thousands of other innocent children by donating to help prevent something like this from happening again!!! Do you accept my challenge???

Adarian would be turning 13 years old this month on Oct. 30th. He was so full of life and a loving, happy child and his family misses him dearly. He was taken from his older sister and brother, but since his passing I have been blessed with four more beautiful healthy children -- including a beautiful, healthy baby boy in May of this year.

This is the first time I’m actually sharing my story because it’s hard talking about, but sometimes talking and sharing our stories brings out our inner strength, to reflect our outer strength.

What’s your story?

Thank You,
Elizabeth D.