Yikes! King Street Invaded by Marching Ants!

August 13, 2009

Local Artist, King Street Merchants Use Insect Procession To Support Darkness to Light’s “Prevent-a-Thon” in August

CHARLESTON, SC – July 27, 2009 – Backed by an army of colorful, giant ants, King Street merchants and a local artist are sending a message of support to prevent child sexual abuse.

Ant sculptures designed by artist Jeffrey Kennedy will “march” along King Street during August to raise awareness of Darkness to Light’s month-long series of free public workshops to teach adults how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to signs of child sexual abuse.

Susan Lucas of the King Street Marketing Group designed the promotion after learning of Darkness to Light’s connection to Kennedy’s inspiring sculptures. Anne Lee, Founder of Darkness to Light, first saw the sculptures in 2002 at Jeffrey’s gallery and was struck by the “strong little ants that move mountains carrying one grain at a time, just as we work to educate the public about how to prevent child sexual abuse,” said Lee. The duo then went on to have the giant 7 ft. Darkness to Light Ant’s be the focal point of Marion Square for the 2003 Piccolo Spoleto.

“We are thrilled to be able to support Anne and D2L’s awareness program, and appreciate the opportunity to work together on such a worthy and notable project, said Lucas.

 Follow this schedule and web sites to catch the march:

About Prevent-a-Thon

Widespread regional media support and volunteers will help raise awareness to prevent child sexual abuse during the month-long Darkness to Light “Prevent-a-Thon” program in August.

Prevent-a-Thon will launch Thursday, July 30 with a televised broadcast on WCIV-TV4 of Darkness to Light’s moving documentary of interviews with survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Their personal, courageous stories illustrate the devastating impact of this societal epidemic. In the U.S. alone, there are an estimated 40 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse. It is linked to a host of other social issues including teen pregnancy, psychiatric disorders and substance abuse. Statistics show one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before age 18. Additionally, it ranks second to murder as the most expensive victim crime in the country. US taxpayers spend $35 billion annually for the direct and indirect costs of child sexual abuse.

Regional support to raise public awareness during Prevent-a-Thon also includes WCBD-TV2, WCSC-TV5, The Post and Courier, Charleston Regional Business Journal, Skirt, Adams Outdoor, CARTA, Charleston Magazine, The CW, Comcast Spotlight, Comcast C2, WTAT-Fox24, WMMP-MyTV, Clear Channel Radio, Citadel Communications, Kirkman Broadcasting, Apex Broadcasting and the Janis Agency.

Stacey Lindbergh of Palmetto Behavioral Health and Laura Varn of Santee Cooper lead Prevent-a-Thon’s volunteer committee efforts, which will help reach thousands of residents across the lowcountry.

The goal of this year’s event is to educate 5,000 adults with Darkness to Light’s award-winning prevention training program, Stewards of Children. More than 70 free training sessions will be offered throughout the region during August. The programs include video instruction and interactive workbook tools that enable adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to the reality of the sexual abuse of children.

Most trainings are open to the public and is of specific interest among parents, youth sports organizations / coaches / camp counselors, youth service organizations, teachers / school personnel and faith centers. Dates, times and locations of the training are available online at www.d2l.org.

Anne Lee, Founder and President of Darkness to Light, says public education is an essential tool to provide real impact to prevent sexual abuse of children. She points to leading research that shows educating five-percent of a community’s adult population can create a “tipping point” toward societal behavior change. This tipping point carries momentum throughout the community to further spread awareness and prevention.

The tipping point goal for Stewards of Children in the tri-county area is to train 22,500 adults, says Lee. To date, over 10,000 citizens in the region have participated.
Darkness to Light will soon surpass certification of 2000 Facilitators, who undergo advanced training in order to lead Stewards of Children workshops. Also, two communities are very close to achieving the “tipping point” milestone: Georgetown, S.C. and the Cayman Islands. Full statewide initiatives are also underway in Ohio and Georgia.

About Darkness To Light

Darkness To Light (D2L) is a national non-profit, 501c3, dedicated to the prevention of child sexual abuse through public education and awareness. Research shows that one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated there are 40 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse.

D2L programs raise awareness of the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse by educating adults on the steps they can take to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to the reality of the sexual abuse of children.

Charleston, S.C. resident Anne Lee, a child sexual abuse survivor, founded D2L in 2000 and serves as the organization’s President and CEO.

Since its founding, D2L has created ongoing public education programs in 47 states and 10 foreign countries. These “Stewards of Children” training programs form a grass roots push at the community level to educate parents, youth service organizations, youth sports leagues and coaches, faith centers and teachers / school leaders.

Additionally, a nationally-acclaimed advertising and promotional campaign helps spread a multi-media message through partners including CNN, Comcast, Time-Warner, AOL, Lifetime, Oxygen and many others.

Immediate access educational resources provided by D2L include:

  • 7 Steps to Protecting our Children from Child Sexual Abuse: A Guide for Responsible Adults.
  • Stewards of Children: Prevention training courses for adults, provided in a workshop format by trained Facilitators and online through www.darkness2light.org.
  • Helpline:  a toll-free number for community based referrals (1-800-FOR-LIGHT).
  • Web:   www.darkness2light.org, features recent articles on child sexual abuse, suggested books, mandatory reporting laws, access to other educational materials and a D2L sponsored podcast talk show.
  • Prevention Products:  7 Steps Booklets, rack cards, “Power of the Ant” sculptures, Cherish the Innocent bracelets, Risk Management Essentials and more.