Anna Groff is the executive director of Dove’s Nest.
Dove’s Nest: Faith Communities Keeping Children and Youth Safe is honored to present four seminars at MennoCon19. Dove’s Nest is a nonprofit organization that was started ten years ago, at the 2009 MC USA Convention, as a grassroots organization by a group of concerned Mennonites wanting to prevent child abuse and neglect in Mennonite communities and beyond.
All three of the adult seminars feature new content. They have not been presented in other settings or at past conventions. In the seminars, Dove’s Nest staff and board members will cover the ins and outs of what we do and how we can serve your congregation, tips on parenting for prevention of abuse, and how to respond in victim-friendly ways to cases of abuse/misconduct in faith communities. The fourth seminar is for girls and grew out of the 2018 Empowering Women and Girls conference.
Calling All Protectors of Children:
If you are a member of your church’s child protection committee or tasked with taking the lead on child protection in your faith community, this seminar will help you learn more about what Dove’s Nest offers and how to plug in. It will encourage, equip, and further inform you about how to keep kids safe through Dove’s Nest’s offerings. Come hear about what churches are requesting in terms of current issues and challenges — for example, the need to address healthy touch and boundaries as well as social media and technology guidelines. We will also review the findings from our 2018 impact study. This seminar will be presented by cofounder and board member Jeanette Harder and executive director Anna Groff on July 3 at 9:00 a.m.
Parents are children’s best teachers. However, parents can feel overwhelmed with the topic of abuse prevention and how to keep their kids safe. So how do we teach our children healthy boundaries, such as empowering them to say no, helping them understand body safety basics, or teaching them to identify trusted adults? Come and learn age-appropriate, concrete ways to demonstrate to your children that God loves their entire beings and wants them to be safe. The speakers have prepared ideas and tips for parents of younger and older children. You’ll receive advice to help build a solid foundation for Circle of Grace concepts at home (whether or not your church has introduced that curriculum). This seminar will be presented by board member Samuel Voth Schrag and executive director Anna Groff on July 3 at 4:00 p.m.
Consequences for Your Congregation: Taking Victims and Survivors Seriously:
All churches have members who are survivors of abuse. We must also assume that there are offenders in our midst. Whether abuse occurred in a faith community many, many years ago or has just been uncovered, the church needs to be prepared to support victims and help the congregation process the situation. Come learn what Scripture says about how to respond to past abuse, how to truly work toward victim-centeredness in prevention work, and how to make it easier for survivors to come forward in the church with their stories and wisdom. We’ll have a do’s and don’ts tip sheet that also includes Biblical foundation for why protecting children is God’s plan for us and is a priority. This seminar will be presented by board member Nancy Kauffmann, board member Jeanette Harder, and executive director Anna Groff on July 5 at 9:00 a.m.
Finding Your Voice:
(for youth girls) Is it really okay to be assertive or to refuse to people-please? Can we be empowered to be clear about our individual needs? With Jesus as our model boundary-setter, come and learn ways to set healthy boundaries with friends and family members and at school, church and during extracurriculars. This training was presented at Dove’s Nest and Mennonite Women USA’s 2018 Empowering Women and Girls Conference. It will be offered by Dove’s Nest Speaker’s Bureau member Brenda Yoder at 2:45 p.m. on July 4 and July 5.
Dove’s Nest is fortunate to have 12 volunteers, board members and staff present at convention. We are honored to partner and share booth space with Mennonite Women USA. We invite you to stop by our booth to pick up updated resources, ask questions or hear ways you can get involved or support our work.