Seventh-day Adventist risk management officers are hoping a grassroots campaign to stop child abuse finds traction among the church’s 17-million member global family.
Launched last week at the North American Division’s Teacher’s Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, United States, the Seven Campaign invites Adventists worldwide to join in spreading a clear message against all forms of child abuse, bullying and neglect.
“Children are one of the most important resources entrusted to us by God, so we feel it’s important to work together with our partners to mobilize Adventists around the world -- along with our community partners -- to advocate for an end to child abuse,” said Julio Munoz, manager for client experience for Adventist Risk Management.
The Seven Campaign is the latest step in the organization’s recent emphasis on abuse awareness and prevention. In February, ARM launched the Child Protection Plan, which shores up Adventist Church guidelines on child abuse with practical methods of training and screening employees and volunteers who work closely with minors.
Now, ARM officials want to spur a groundswell of advocacy to further ensure that Adventist Churches, camps and clubs shelter children from abuse and misconduct.
“We want to not only make it clear that we stand against child abuse, but we want to get our members talking and actually engaged in spotting and preventing misconduct,” said David Fournier, ARM manager for Marketing & Communication.
Already, more than six thousand Adventist educators from the United States, Canada, Bermuda and the Micronesian islands have pledged to rally their students in an awareness campaign using social media and a digital resource kit that includes flyers, posters, talking points, petition forms and logos available on the initiative’s website.
“A grassroots movement such as the Seven Campaign is important because people know what’s going to work best in their communities, so we give them the resources and they can customize the campaign for their community, Munoz said.
ARM is also depending on the involvement of its partners – chief among them the North American Division’s Education department -- in spreading a strong message of awareness and advocacy.
“It is our responsibility as educators, administrators and church members to make each child feel valued and safe,” said Larry Blackmer, NAD vice president for Education, in the Seven Campaign launch press release.
Other partners include the Center for Conflict Resolution at La Sierra University, Christian Record Services for the Blind, the Center for Youth Evangelism, John Hancock Center at La Sierra University and the Children’s, Women’s, Family and Youth Ministries departments of the Seventh-day Adventist world church.
“Hopefully this will become a cultural movement among Adventist membership, and with that, create upward pressure to make use of the Child Protection Plan and other child-protection resources that Adventist Risk Management offers,” Fournier said.
To download the Seven Campaign digital resource kit, visit www.thesevencampaign.com.