Personality: Kay Tyler

Spotlight on board president of Greater Richmond SCAN

2/7/2020, 6 a.m.
It has been more than a decade since Kay Tyler started volunteering with Greater Richmond Stop Child Abuse Now, and …

It has been more than a decade since Kay Tyler started volunteering with Greater Richmond Stop Child Abuse Now, and she is still finding new ways to contribute to its mission of a safer future for Richmond youths.

The Knoxville, Tenn., native balances teaching music to preschoolers at the St. James’s Children’s Center and real estate staging with her responsibilities with SCAN. She is now getting acclimated to her new role as president of SCAN’s board of directors after taking the helm in July.

“After almost five years serving on the board, I felt I had gained the knowledge to help direct the board,” Ms. Tyler says.

SCAN was founded in 1991 to address a rising trend of child abuse and neglect in Richmond and the neighboring counties. Through a variety of programs like Families are Magic and Court Appointed Special Advocates, and partnerships with civic and government organizations, the organization seeks to treat and prevent abuse and neglect by protecting youngsters and strengthening families.

Ms. Tyler first connected with SCAN when a friend invited her to tour SCAN’s Child Advocacy Center. From there, she volunteered with one of SCAN’s annual fundraising events and the rest, as they say, is history.

She joined the board of directors in 2015.

Faced with the task of meeting SCAN’s goal of ending child abuse and neglect in the region, Ms. Tyler wants to continue to expand public awareness of the group’s many programs. Among the major obstacles, she says, is the denial that child abuse persists in the region and the stigma that abuse creates. The two issues compound each other, she says, “keeping the issue from being fully dealt with.”

When not properly addressed, child abuse and neglect can contribute to physical, psychological and behavioral consequences that can negatively impact a child’s future development as well as the larger community with which the child interacts.

“In order to succeed in life and be healthy, active members of the metropolitan community, the next generation of adults in the Greater Richmond area must grow up in safe and nurturing homes,” Ms. Tyler says.

“Child abuse and neglect affects all economic, racial, social, ethnic and religious groups,” Ms. Tyler says.

She offers statistics from the Virginia Department of Social Services from 2017 to 2018 about the victims: 32.8 percent were younger than 4; 42.2 percent were ages 4 through 11; 22 percent were ages 12 to 17, while the ages of 2.8 percent were unknown.

A majority of children who are sexually abused, she says, are victimized by someone they know.

The public can help, she says, by reporting suspected abuse to a state hotline at (800) 552-7096. People also can help by volunteering with SCAN, she adds.

“The best way to positively impact abused/neglected children is to provide support and education to parents and care- givers,” she says, “and to work on other issues related to child well-being, such as housing, economic stability, education and health care access.”

While Ms. Tyler’s tenure as board president ends in July, she intends to continue her volunteer efforts with SCAN as the organization approaches its 30th anniversary.

“Servant leadership is important to me and I hope to continue working with SCAN after my term,” Ms. Tyler says. “I will always be involved if I can, God willing.”

Meet an advocate for children and this week’s Personality, Kay Tyler:

No. 1 volunteer position: President of the board of directors, Greater Richmond SCAN, Stop Child Abuse Now.

Occupation: Music Together teacher, St. James’s Children’s Center and owner-founder of Staging consulting company for the real estate industry.

What I do: Teach preschool 2- to 5-year-olds music using the Music Together curriculum. I also have been staging homes for the real estate market for the last 15 years.

Date and place of birth: April 1 in Knoxville, Tenn.

Current residence: Richmond.

Education: Bachelor’s in business administration, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 1986; and MBA, University of Richmond, 1992.

Family: Married 27 years with three children ages, 18, 20 and 22.

Greater Richmond SCAN’s mission: SCAN’s mission is to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect throughout the Greater Richmond area by protecting children, promoting positive parenting, strengthening families and creating a community that values and cares for its children.

Great Richmond SCAN’s No. 1 goal: To prevent and eradicate child abuse and neglect in our community.

How I plan to meet it: By continuing to introduce people to SCAN’s programs, which are the Children’s Advocacy Center, FAM (Families are Magic), CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Community Programs and the Circle Preschool located at St. James’s Episcopal Church, and to advocate for policies and resources that support and protect children from child abuse and neglect.

Greater Richmond SCAN’s biggest challenge: One big challenge is the denial that abuse happens in our community and the stigma associated with abuse and neglect. This stigma makes it more difficult for victims to come forward and get help. The denial that abuse and neglect happens in our community allows it to continue. By not fully acknowledging the issue, abuse and neglect remains in the shad- ows, seems less prevalent than it actually is and keeps the issue from being fully dealt with.

Why I wanted to serve: To help children who have been abused and/or neglected and to teach parents and educators to prevent it from happening in our society. After almost five years serving on the board, I felt I had gained the knowledge to help direct the board. Servant leadership is important to me and I hope to continue working with SCAN after my term.

When and how I got involved with Greater Richmond SCAN: I’ve been involved in one way or another for about 15 years. A friend invited me to tour the Child Advocacy Center Downtown at Old City Hall and that did it for me. It helped to know that the executive director was Jeanine Harper, who I admire very much for her commitment and leadership. I began helping with the Progressive Dinner Committee, the annual fundraising event for SCAN, and eventually chaired the committee. I was asked to serve on the board not long after and was trained as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and served four years.

How Greater Richmond SCAN is funded: SCAN implements an annual development plan to secure support from diverse revenue sources. Each year, SCAN receives volunteer support, in-kind services and funding from area corporations, civic groups, congregations, government sources and foundations. Special events and annual individual giving also are significant sources for program and project funding.

Organizations Greater Richmond SCAN partners with: SCAN operates under the belief that we can serve children and families better when the community comes together. Therefore, SCAN operates in a way that is inherently collaborative. SCAN has seen great success and progress in the community at the organizational level through our leadership starting the Greater Richmond Trauma Informed Community Network, or TICN, which now has more than 450 members from 160 area organizations, agencies and businesses.

Since its establishment in 2012 as the first network of its kind in Virginia, Richmond’s TICN has convened multidisciplinary stakeholders devoted to developing a common agenda and implements plans of action related to preventing, reducing and treating trauma at the individual, familial and community levels. TICN works at the com- munity level in a cross-section of different systems. This work is done through TICN’s various committees. SCAN also has long-standing partnerships with the Richmond Police Department, the Richmond Department of Social Services, Family Lifeline, St. James’s Children’s Center and so many more.

Extent of known child abuse in area: According to the Virginia Department of Social Services, 901 children in Central Virginia were victims of child abuse and/or neglect in 2019, and an additional 5,278 were placed in the Family Assessment Track at high risk for abuse. Statewide in 2017-18, there were 6,485 founded cases of child abuse and/ or neglect and 39,047 placed in the Family Assessment Track, according to the Virginia Depart- ment of Social Services.

How child abuse impacts society: Children who are abused and/or neglected often have social, cognitive and economic difficulties in adulthood. Studies have shown that they are more likely to have low rates of aca- demic achievement, poor coping and decision-making skills, while they also fail to develop adequate and positive social support networks. In addition to suffering from the immediate physical injuries, victims of child abuse and neglect are more likely to develop behaviors that lead to obesity, diabetes, depression, post traumatic stress disorder and other chronic diseases.

How I start the day: My phone alarm is set to music, typically from the musical “Hamilton.” My bedside alarm is set to VPM news for that perspective. I actually start my day the night before with a master list so I can stay focused. It’s amazing how once I’ve written my list, it gets done. I often use a meditation app to get my day off to a calm start.

How I unwind: At the end of the day, an episode or two of “Modern Family” puts me in a happy place, along with a good book or finding a good British mystery or “Masterpiece” on PBS. Yoga and/or meditation is always a nice way to unwind.

At the top of my “to-do list”:Reducing clutter is always on my long-term list. It’s hard for me to throw things away I might want to use in the future.

Something I love to do that most people would never imagine: I was a coxswain in college and continued that when I came to Richmond. I’m still a member of Virginia Boat Club and began training to be a coach before I was married. Although I have not been able to row for some time now, I do love it!

Best late-night snack: A great homemade dessert is hard to resist.

Favorite recreational activity: Tennis and walking.

A quote that I am inspired by: “To forget and forgive is a good way to live.” I’ve enjoyed that quote since about fourth grade.

The best thing kindergarten taught me: Sharing ... also from my three sisters.

Person who influenced me the most: My father’s mother raised her five children after her husband’s death in 1945. Her independent spirit and strength set a strong example for me.

Book that influenced me the most: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.

What I’m reading now: “The Beauty of Humanity Movement” by Camilla Gibb and “Common- wealth” by Ann Patchett.

If I’ve learned one thing in life, it is: That “Love Heals,” to quote a song title by Levi Hummon, and inspired by Thistle Farm residents in Nashville, Tenn.

My next goal: To develop my new mid-life career teaching children through the Music To- gether program. Maybe further my education with early child- hood classes, especially those with special needs or affected by trauma.