"The whole movement of life is learning" (Krishnamurti). "To be an act of knowing, then, the adult literacy process must engage the learners in the constant problematizing of their existential situations" (Freire). "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" (Douglass). "I can learn anything I have the desire to learn" (White, S.G.).

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Precious and SCAN

The Sunday before Easter, I volunteered at SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now). I know this doesn’t immediately seem blog worthy, and I have hesitated to post it, but I did it because of Precious. While I can’t help her directly, because she’s a character in a book, I can find ways to help other children like her. My volunteer event wasn’t direct service, meaning we didn’t work with the children, rather we created a heart wall. We each created artwork on canvases of different sizes that will be hung in the new Child Advocacy Center (CAC).

They also gave us a tour of the new Child Advocacy Center, which they moved into just two weeks before. I felt like reading Precious’ story gave me the ability to go into that Child Advocacy Center and face whatever facts and feelings might be presented to me. It was a beautiful new space and they were still setting up some of the rooms. While over 20 people had volunteered to help create the artwork, only 6 of us went on the tour. I wondered about the reasons why the others had volunteered, but didn’t want to know where the artwork was going. Were they uncomfortable at the idea of being inside the Child Advocacy Center? Or were they just there because they loved a good art project? It was a great turnout on a beautiful Sunday, so I know the SCAN volunteer coordinator was really pleased.

 In one of the rooms, she showed us a TV screen and said it was where they will do their peer reviews, where they are able to watch themselves as they interview the children and get peer feedback. They have a lot of social work interns from VCU and so I sensed that it has been designed to be a supportive learning environment.

The statistic on their website is: “In 2012-2013, the CAC served 535 children who were victims of severe physical or sexual abuse and 44 of their non-offending caregivers.” I asked the staff member who gave us a tour and she said they see 40-60 children a month. I believe they support 3-5 cities/counties in the local area, but most of their cases come from the City of Richmond. (I wish I could have taken notes during the tour).

They need artwork. The building is three times as big as when they were at City Hall, and they need to decorate and warm up the space. If you happen to have any pictures that you think would brighten their empty walls, they would love to have it.


  1. Thank you for sharing, Jen! I'm sure your presence meant so much to this organization. I used to work with at-risk kids, and I know from experience that even if you didn't actually work with the children, they really feel valued when someone takes the time to create something beautiful for them. Where is their new building?

  2. Thank you, Rachel! The new Child Advocacy Center is right next to the SCAN building. It's at 103 East Grace Street. I painted at Spirited Art on Friday night and asked if they might be able to donate some of their children's pieces. (The instructor creates a duplicate every time they teach a class so they have lots to spare.) Hoping to hear from the manager this week. I know their artwork would be perfect at the CAC!

  3. Jen, knowing you, I am quite sure you would have taken the tour even if you had not read Precious. But I am going to use your post as a sign: Next year we are reading Push again! Thank you for raising our awareness of the CAC. I'm looking around for some artwork...


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