Stephanie Barron Lu, co-chair of the Children's Network of Santa Cruz County, co-hosts the programming with Robert Aldana, a Scotts Valley-based realtor. (Contributed)

Starting this weekend, a Scotts Valley podcast focusing on protecting children will begin rolling out a series of episodes.

Stephanie Barron Lu, co-chair of the Children’s Network of Santa Cruz County who co-hosts the programming with Robert Aldana, a Scotts Valley-based realtor, says she’s confident the shows will have a big impact.

“It’s something that’s been a long time in the making,” she said. “I think my favorite part was coming together and having really great conversations.”

The audio project comes as the City of Scotts Valley recently agreed to adopt a Youth Bill of Rights and put a proclamation on this week’s Council agenda naming April as Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month.

Aldana explained that the idea was to allow a wide range of organizations to come in and speak about the sorts of services they offer and the tools available to families that may be under stress.

“They’re great segments,” he said. “Everyone was fantastic.”

Child abuse isn’t just about sexual crimes, he noted, adding that the podcast attempts to destigmatize seeking help and lists various resources that people can access free of charge.

“You have allies,” he said, thinking of the drive behind the initiative. “If you’re a spouse that’s experiencing domestic abuse, here’s some information.”

Each episode will be about 45 minutes to an hour, with the first episode dropping on Sunday.

“What it does is it promotes awareness,” he said, adding the recordings could be the catalyst to resolving a negative situation, such as a mother with a partner who’s being abusive to their children. “I’m super humbled to be the host of the program.”

They plan to share the podcast on groups like My Scotts Valley and My Beach Towns and are asking community groups to help spread the word.

“We’re going to give everybody links,” Aldana said. “We’re going to make a big push.”

Barron Lu, who is the executive director of Positive Discipline Community Resources in Watsonville, said they’re trying to help people shed the blame and guilt that can stop them from seeking assistance.

“We really emphasize preventative and early intervention services that maximize the healthy development of children and families,” she said. “Even those that are out there helping others, we need help ourselves.”

Organizations involved in the project include the Walnut Avenue Family and Women’s Center, Second Harvest of Food Bank Santa Cruz County, Cabrillo College, the Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance, and Court Appointed Special Advocates, among others.

“We know that a full-resourced family is a protected child,” said Barron Lu, emphasizing that parents of any age or gender or socio-economic status will face challenges. “We’re all doing the best we can and we all need support at one point or another.”

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Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


  1. such as a mother with a partner who’s being abusive to their children.
    Equity demands equal protection IN POLICIES
    such as a FATHER with a partner who’s being abusive to their children.

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