Stacie and Viola March 2019 in Norfolk, Virginia
Viola and Stacie, having known of each other’s work through the child advocacy arena, were asked to present together in September 2011 at the 16th International Conference on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma in San Diego, CA on one of their shared topics, nonoffending caregivers parenting their sexually abused children. They hit it off and that collaboration revealed their mutual passion to move upstream to end child abuse. Over the years, their philanthropy led to them serving together on the board of directors of Darkness to Light and the American Professional Society for the Abuse of Children (APSAC), as well as the executive committees of No Hit Zones and the National Initiative to End Corporal Punishment.
Yet, it was their common vision of moving upstream for child abuse solutions that solidified their partnership and ultimately, in March 2019, they co-founded The UP Institute. The UP Institute was created to provide upstream interventions and strategies for reducing adverse childhood experiences and to promote resilience so children can have positive, supportive, and healthy relationships. With their combined expertise, The UP Institute delivers innovative solutions to help professionals develop and enhance programs that will improve their communities.
However, unbeknownst to them, their journey was just beginning. In fall of 2021, the board of directors of Champions for Children: Prevent Child Abuse Hampton Roads reached out to Viola to discuss her leading their organization. Having spent her entire professional life in Hampton Roads and having worked with many of the board members in a variety of settings over her more than 35-year career, it seemed like a natural fit. After much discussion, in February 2022, the board of Champions for Children transferred the non-profit to Viola and a new board of directors. As President and CEO, she once again partnered with Stacie to develop UP FOR CHAMPIONS. In partnership with The UP Institute, UP FOR CHAMPIONS became the next iteration of Prevent Child Abuse Hampton Roads. Like its predecessors, UP FOR CHAMPIONS continues the mission of creating safe and healthy communities for children and their families. It supports professionals working to solve child abuse and neglect globally, through advocacy, public education, and family support programs. UP FOR CHAMPIONS works with community, state, and national organizations to expand and disseminate knowledge about child abuse and neglect.
Watch the video below to learn more about PCAHR’s history and the work of former executive directors, Betty Wade Coyle and Melynda Ciccotti.