Childbuilders: "Prevention is the Heart of the Thing"

One way to help ensure that kids grow into thriving adults is to reduce their exposure to abusive situations. That's a core mission of the Houston nonprofit, Childbuilders, which works to provide parenting, personal safety, and relationship education to both English and Spanish speaking communities. For over a decade, Childbuilders has found a friend in the Houston Endowment, which has given the group around $1 million since 2011

“There are lifelong consequences to child abuse,” tweets Trish King, RN, and she would know. For over 25 years, she has worked in the healthcare sector, spending 13 years as a nurse at the Texas Medical Center. She was a founding member of the Child Abuse Prevention Network and joined Childbuilders in 2005.  

By educating around 500 teachers, nurses, and counselors to work with about 60,000 children per year, the program has helped to deter bullying, teach about internet dangers, and instruct kids on how to get help if they experience abuse.  

You might think a program like this is brand new, but Childbuilders has actually been around for 40 years. Founded in 1974, the organization has been raising awareness with carefully structured courses that teach everything from improving self-esteem to preventing dating violence. They also have an after-work philanthropy program called Childbuilders Nightshift, which hosts social events to bring new members into the organization and raise money.  

“Prevention is the heart of the thing,” King says on the Childbusters website.  “We invest in prevention, in solutions, and the ultimate welfare of our kids.”

That tracks with the Houston Endowment's own keen interest in preventive strategies in the area of human services. Like many funders, the foundation knows that philanthropic dollars spent on such strategies now go a lot further than the funds spent later on fighting problems when they become full blown.