The Roots of My Advocacy, Part 3

This week’s Committee for Children blog post was written by our executive director, Joan Duffell, and is Part 3 of a three-part series. If you like, read Part 1 and Part 2.

Joan DuffellAs research validated our programs, word about Committee for Children spread. In the mid-1990s, researchers and practitioners from other countries began asking us if they could replicate our programs in their settings. Our then-executive director Karen Bachelder and I developed a process for working with international partners who would translate, culturally adapt, and deliver our curricula and training programs to schools in their countries.

I traveled, tried on new languages, forged wonderful relationships with colleagues, and to this day am flooded with emotion when seeing our familiar lessons presented to children in other countries and languages.

In 2004 I was asked to fulfill another “dream job” at Committee for Children as director of partnership development. I focused on our expanding international work and strategic partnerships here in the U.S. About this time we were being asked for help by Catholic dioceses, as the clergy sexual abuse crisis led them to seek out our sexual abuse prevention expertise. Through all of the challenges, I find it deeply gratifying to support these efforts with the Talking About Touching program. Over the years we’ve forged strong and lasting relationships with religious leaders, state Children’s Trust Funds, Head Starts, sexual assault prevention agencies, and other key partners.

In 2007 the Board asked me to serve as Committee for Children’s executive director. As it turns out, THIS is my dream job! I thoroughly enjoy leading this vital organization, which both fuels my long-held passions and changes at a rapid-fire pace. I love collaborating with the staff and board, and with our clients, partners, and colleagues in other organizations to advance this work further.

It was an audacious dream to think that our prevention programs would “scale up” to reach millions of children around the country—indeed, throughout the world. Yet this is exactly where we find ourselves today. I feel deeply grateful to be here, doing this work: engaging with educators, families, and children to make the world a better place for all.