CIRCLE OF GRACE: Annual Safe Environment Training for Children and Students
Was offered Jan. 30-Feb. 2; Feb. 12th and 21st, 2023 during faith formation sessions.
We here at the Good Shepherd Parish are committed to the safety of all children. Our clergy, staff and all volunteers, whether they work directly with children under the age of 18 or not, have been trained using the Essential Three guidelines given by Bishop da Cunha through the Office of Safe Environment, Diocese of Fall River. We are required annually to offer the Circle of Grace program with all the children during their religious formation sessions.
Parents, as the primary educators of your children, have the right to decline these presentations. Families will receive an informational email for the various aged lessons, as well as the opt-out form if they prefer their children to not receive this training. Any questions or concerns, please contact Sue in the office 508-693-0342 or by email to email@example.com
What is a Circle of Grace?
The Catholic Church teaches that God has created each of us as unique and special. Genesis 1:27 tells us that we are created “male and female in God’s image” and that God saw this as “very good.” In that goodness, we are meant to respect ourselves and everyone else as persons created and loved by God.
Adults assist young people to recognize God’s love by helping them to understand that each of us lives and moves in a Circle of Grace. You can imagine your own Circle of Grace by putting your arms above your head then circle down in front of your body including side to side. This circle, front to back, holds who you are in your body and through your senses. It holds your very essence in mind, heart, soul, and sexuality.
Why is it important to help our young people understand the Circle of Grace?
God intends our relationships in life to be experiences of divine love. Respectful, nurturing, loving relationships increase our understanding of our own value and help us to love others. It is never too early to help young people understand how very special they are and how relationships in life are called to be sacred. Understanding this can help them to protect the special person they are and to be respectful of others.
Adults, as they strive to provide a safe and protective environment, hold the responsibility to help young people understand and respect their own dignity and that of others. A truly safe and protective environment is one where young people recognize when they are safe or unsafe and know how to bring their concerns, fears, and uncertainties to the trusted adults in their lives.
How is the Circle of Grace Program different from other protection programs?
According to research, one in four girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused by age eighteen. Many protection programs focus on “stranger danger,” however, up to ninety percent of the time the perpetrator is a relative, family friend or other person known to the child/young person. Circle of Grace goes beyond just protection by helping young people understand the sacredness of who they are and how to seek help through their relationships with trusted adults.
Goal of the Circle of Grace Program – Grades K-12
The goal of the Circle of Grace program is to educate and empower children and young people to actively participate in a safe environment for themselves and others.
Objectives of the Circle of Grace Program – Grades K-12
- Children/Young People will understand they are created by God and live in the love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- Children/Young People will be able to describe the Circle of Grace which God gives each of us.
- Children/Young People will be able to identify, discern and maintain appropriate physical, emotional, spiritual, and sexual boundaries.
- Children/Young People will be able to identify all types of boundary violations.
- Children/Young People will be able to demonstrate how to take action if any boundary is threatened or violated.