10/08/10 — Smith hopes to distribute book statewide

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Smith hopes to distribute book statewide

By Staff Reports
Published in News on October 8, 2010 1:46 PM

Selena Smith

A Wayne County Public Schools teacher who published a book on preventing childhood sexual abuse hopes to distribute it to schools around the state, if she receives funding in a national competition.

Selena Smith, an English teacher at Wayne Early/Middle College High School, is participating in this month's Pepsi Refresh Project, which features a possible $50,000 prize.

The monthly competition offers $1.3 million in grants, ranging from $5,000 to $250,000, with individuals, companies and organizations vying for a portion.

As of this week, Mrs. Smith was ranked 40 out of the hundreds of candidates in the $50,000 grant category. If she climbs the ranks by month's end, her grant proposal -- "Stop Childhood Sexual Abuse through Education" -- will be funded.

Her hope is to distribute more than 6,000 copies of her book, "Joey Wants to Know: A Parent-Child Guide to Inappropriate Touch," and related lesson plans to 1,500 elementary schools in North Carolina. The resource would help teachers easily and effectively teach about this topic, she said.

"Teaching about inappropriate touch is in the N.C. health curriculum for first-grade students, but many teachers find it difficult to teach because they do not have adequate materials and it is an uncomfortable topic," she said. "It is my mission to stop child sexual abuse and my book can help teachers, counselors and parents become better equipped to educate children in a tactful way about inappropriate touch and what to do if it happens."

The Pepsi Refresh Project accepts 1,000 grant applications each month. Votes of the public determine which are funded.

To locate the project online, go to refresheverything.com/ stopchildabuse. Click on the "vote for this idea" button or text 103033 to Pepsi at 73774.

Mrs. Smith, a National Board-certified teacher, has worked in the district for 15 years. Her book, published in Feb. 2009, was recently recognized in Eastern Carolina Parent Magazine.