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Turning Good into Greater Good

Why We Give: The Kerengende Foundation

When her daughter experienced sexual abuse, Amber Clayborne quickly discovered a world she knew little about. From working with law enforcement to finding therapy services, she slowly built a reservoir of knowledge and resources that she realized could help other victims and families. Her experiences led her to establishThe 

Kerengende Foundation in 2019, a 2023 SOS grantee, to support families dealing with similar crises. Based in Belleville, Illinois, the Foundation currently reaches over 1,000 people annually, primarily in the Metro East.

“When a child experiences sexual abuse, the entire family is affected and it can be a very lonely and isolating experience for them. Many people don’t know how to help and can’t really understand what you’re going through,” says Amber. “Lots of families find themselves navigating life on their own, like I did. Kerengende Foundation serves as a resource to help families, from focusing on ways to prevent abuse in the first place to assisting impacted families through the healing process. We want our programming to be comprehensive.”

Amber initially envisioned simply providing funding for therapy services, but she quickly realized that families may need more holistic support. “There’s so much to manage. Families often need an advocate to deal with law enforcement, or help with managing court dates,” she says. “And beyond finding therapy for the child, other family members can often benefit from it, too. I didn’t get therapy for myself for seven years because I couldn’t afford it and I wanted to ensure that my daughter was in therapy and getting the help she needed. That’s the kind of life experience I can share to help other families.”

Among the services provided through The Kerengende Foundation are workshops and community education events designed to prevent, respond to, and heal from sexual violence; direct case management support; survivor and family therapy services; and support groups. The Foundation recently piloted a school-based program for middle-school girls focused on building healthy relationships.

Another unique program involves working with law enforcement personnel to create more compassionate interactions with families. “Sometimes, law enforcement’s primary focus is on getting justice, but they don’t always take into account the impact an investigation has on the family,” Amber says.

The Kerengende Foundation’s unique approach to both prevention and support stands apart from other area programs, according to Ann Desai, a member of SOS’s Impact Committee who recently participated in a mid-year review of the organization. “While they’ve had great success in supporting survivors and families, the Foundation’s number one goal is prevention so there is no more youth sexual abuse,” says Ann. “That starts with helping young people – and the community as a whole – in recognizing risks and establishing boundaries. The work they are doing will be life-changing for future generations.”

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