It started with one. One precious life exploited.

Claves is a program that provides training for kids, families, and front line workers to prevent violence and abuse against children and teens, and promotes fair and caring treatment of youth. 

It all began with Karina. She was a student who regularly attended the YFC Youth Center in Montevideo.

One of the Youth Center mentors closest to her noticed a difference in her.  She kept to herself. She seemed afraid. She didn’t go to the Youth Center camp because her family wouldn’t sign the permission slip.

For several weeks her leader tried to get closer to her, without much success.

Little by little, Karina* was able to talk about the terrible situation of sexual exploitation, which involved her family, the police, and a neighborhood exploitation network. 

We were deeply challenged as people of faith: How to protect this girl who had risked her life by trusting us and now couldn’t go back to her family’s house?

Although we had no experience with this type of situation, we put ourselves in God’s hands and began to act stealthily. Karina was rescued with the help of a lawyer friend, a doctor, and a government institute. She was taken from her home environment to a safe place while waiting on the judicial process. 

After some time, Karina was able to provide evidence she had obtained by putting her life at risk, and several of the people involved were prosecuted.

Karina was able to get out and she started a new life.

*a pseudonym. Names have been changed for the privacy and protection of our students.

We searched for an answer.

This experience opened our eyes to a reality that we had not seen: the sexual violence suffered by many children and adolescents.

This difficult experience planted a seed that led us to study the issue in-depth. We searched for a way to prevent sexual violence and intervene before these little ones, who are loved deeply by God, experience so much suffering.

Violence in childhood limits the possibilities for physical, mental, social, and spiritual development. But it also affects the possibility of a healthy relationship with God.

Programs for CHANGE.

For 25 years, a team of professionals at Youth for Christ Uruguay has led Programa Claves- a ministry focused on the prevention of violence against children and adolescents. The ministry comes from a hope-filled perspective, in tune with the good news of Jesus Christ. We want each child and adolescent to be treated as Jesus would treat them.

These programs include:

  • “Empowering Ourselves through Play to Face Hard Situations”: Sexual violence prevention through workshops led by trained educators and mentors. The workshops establish a playful and pleasant space, without creating unnecessary fear. Children and adolescents develop cognitive, emotional, relational, and spiritual strengths to face situations of sexual abuse or other situations where their rights are not respected.

  • “Fair and Caring Treatment within the Family”: Promotion of healthy family relationships and parental capacities. A family may be the best place to grow or the worst, where children are most vulnerable to abuse. To grow as God wants, children need people who love them, take care of them, listen to them, satisfy their needs, comfort them, and are good models. Children need to be disciplined without violence, educated with love and hope, and to be shown the concrete expression of God's love.

At this time, there are more than 100 Claves trainers in the region, who are certified to train in our main curricula. Teams in Bolivia and Guatemala are now training up leaders and implementing these programs in their ministries as well!  

Fair and Caring Treatment Campaigns

The Fair and Caring Treatment Campaign is a public awareness campaign led by adolescents to raise awareness about the mistreatment of children and adolescents.

This campaign was born in Uruguay in 2003 and has expanded to 16 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela.


The vision for the future. 

We are on a mission to bring this program to every ministry in The Americas. 

Joining us as a monthly giving partner means that you are resourcing our ministries with the training materials for this effective program. 

We want every parent, teacher, and caregiver to be resourced with the training needed to identify and help youth in need, and also prevent abuse in their care. 

We want every single young person to be resourced and empowered to protect themselves from violence. 

Will you join us?