Blue Sky Bridge, a child abuse intervention and education organization, has been serving Boulder County since 1995. They are child advocates who work to keep children safe from abuse and help to intervene when that is needed. They provide educational programs for adults and children as part of their efforts to prevent child abuse.
Executive Director Gina Earles began her leadership of the organization 10 years ago. Gina says, “[Blue Sky Bridge] is here to help kids live their full potential in life.”
An essential element of the organization’s work is intervening in incidents or potential incidents of child sexual abuse. Blue Sky Bridge’s skilled staff members provide family advocacy in English and Spanish. They provide forensic interviews for case management partners in a child-friendly facility, trauma-sensitive medical examinations, and trauma-informed therapy. Blue Sky Bridge’s crisis call responses provide support, referrals, and resources to caregivers and to the entire community.
“It is the responsibility of adults to keep children safe” adds Gina. “At the same time, children need to know they have body autonomy and [they need to know] what to do,” should they encounter abuse situations.
This is the heart of Blue Sky Bridge’s education programs, programs that give children skills and knowledge to recognize and leave problematic situations, and to have the vocabulary to tell a safe adult. According to research by the organization Darkness to Light, 1 in 10 children are abused before the age of 18. To help prevent this abuse, Blue Sky Bridge partners with both Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley School Districts as well as private schools in the county, reaching Kindergarten, 3rd and 5th grade students with its empowering curriculum. Blue Sky Bridge provides education for parents, teachers and school staff, its partners in law enforcement and social services, and many other adults throughout the community.
Gina is proud of her team for stepping up over the last year. From forensic interviews to crisis calls to medical exams, the demand for services has increased dramatically. All this while funding has tightened, the availability of outside therapists has decreased, and education programs have doubled.
What can you do to get involved?
- Donate or attend an upcoming event like A Moveable Feast in on June 3rd.
- Volunteer on the Education Committee, volunteer your skills, or join an Event Planning Committee.
- Attend a training session: there are many offerings including Nurturing Healthy Sexual Development, Darkness to Light’s “Stewards of Children,” and other topics throughout the year.
Child Abuse Prevention Month is recognized nationally in April. Let us all work to “keep the fabric of our community strong,” as Gina says, and to keep all our children safe.