North Carolina is rich in history. A visit to the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum or 04-23-14-child-advocacy.gifNorth Carolina Veterans Park will convince you of that in just a matter of minutes. North Carolina also boasts of some well-known personalities like Andy Griffith, Elizabeth Dole and Michael Jordan. Another personality familiar to North Carolina is Jason Michael Carroll who performed at Festival Park this past summer.

Carroll, the son of a preacher, grew up in Youngsville, N.C., in Franklin County — not far from Raleigh. He is probably best known for his debut single, “Alyssa Lies.” “Alyssa Lies” is a song about abuse. In an interview, Carroll said he felt led to write the song but it still took almost three years to craft it to his satisfaction. He understood it was an important message and wanted to perfect it as best he could. Unfortunately, it is difficult to perfect something that is far from perfect itself. Carroll said the song was so emotionally painful that he got migraines while writing.

“Alyssa Lies” is based on a true story of a little girl that wasn’t saved in time. As the song evolves, the listener realizes the narrator’s daughter met a friend at school named Alyssa, who is suffering from abuse. To explain her injuries, Alyssa lies to the teachers and classmates, so as not to implicate her abuser. As the narrator’s daughter explains all this, she then asks why Alyssa lies about her situation.

Eventually, the father (narrator) of the little girl, after hearing her pray one night for Alyssa’s safety, decides to report the suspected abuse at school. However, when they get to school on Monday, it is too late.

This is too many times the case. Concerned people act too late.

Crime and behavioral studies have long cited child abuse for its devastating impact on society. Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) statistics are startling as well. According to the Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse & Neglect:

• 95 percent of abuse is by someone the child knows and trusts.

• 73 percent of children don’t tell anyone until well after the abuse has occurred, if they tell at all.

• Statistically, approximately 500,000 babies born in the U.S. each year will be sexually abused before they reach age 18.

For those reasons and many more, Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation (FCPR) joined hands with the Child Advocacy Center of Fayetteville to protect children and stop abuse.

The partnership provides many benefits to both organizations and the Fayetteville-Cumberland community. One benefit of the partnership is training. The Child Advocacy Center’s training curriculum points out that CSA is pervasive in a society where it is repressed and not discussed. Thousands of organizations across the U.S. and Canada are now seeking out a dialogue for prevention and they are sending this message to parents and their communities.

When a parent leaves their child in FCPR’s care, they are entrusting to us their most prized and cherished possession. We take that responsibility very seriously. So seriously, that FCPR has sought after and achieved “Partner in Prevention” status; a nationally-recognized public standard to end child sexual abuse.

The designation was awarded for FCPR’s commitment to protecting children by training 100-percent of its full-time recreation staff on how to prevent, recognize the signs and react responsibly to CSA.

By partnering with the Child Advocacy Center, FCPR hopes to heighten community awareness of CSA. Please accept this as your personal invitation to join the fight as well. Our children need us. Youth can be empowered with awareness and choice, but the real responsibility for protecting children must be shouldered by the adults.

Don’t wait. You can receive the same training as the staff at FCPR. To learn more about CSA prevention and training, please contact our friends at the Child Advocacy Center of Fayetteville. With your help, we can make North Carolina well-known for yet another reason; protecting our most cherished resource — our children.

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