Catholic Diocese of Richmond

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VIRTUS Facilitators

Over 147 active volunteer VIRTUS Facilitators are dedicated to leading Protecting Gods Children for Adults sessions in the Diocese of Richmond. 19 of these Facilitators are bilingual. Since November 2004 more than 3,997 training sessions have been offered at parishes and schools across the diocese and 61,427 employees and volunteers have been trained. Each training session is led by a VIRTUS Facilitator who is committed to the prevention of child sexual abuse. In each session, the facilitator shares the background of the Protecting God’s Children program, provides an understanding of child sexual abuse, helps participants understand the steps to prevention of abuse, and reinforces the learning points of the program as well as the policies and reporting procedures of the Diocese of Richmond.

If you would like to become a Facilitator for your parish or school, please complete this online interest form.

Meet some of our Facilitators 

Christina Dowdy, Director of Admissions
The Blessed Sacrament Huguenot School
“I believe strongly in the VIRTUS program and that through increased awareness and vigilance, all adults can become part of the solution to stopping child sexual abuse.”

Daniel Villar, Associate Director
Office of Christian Formation, Pastoral Center
“What encouraged me to be a bilingual VIRTUS facilitator is fundamentally knowing that creating awareness through the dissemination of knowledge is power and it can help the world can be a better place for the most vulnerable in our midst.”
Donna Waymouth, Sacred Heart Catholic School, Danville
4th & 5th Grade Language Arts & History Teacher, and 4th Grade Religion Teacher SHCS Religion Coordinator Parent to three SHCS Alumni
“Over the past 30+ years I have been involved in many facets of church and school life here at Sacred Heart. I became a Facilitator for VIRTUS to help instill trust in our Catholic Community, and to invite others to the awareness that this program brings to light. Our children are our greatest gifts and protecting them is our priority. Recognizing signs and having resources for open communication, help to build the safe environment that all of us want for our children.”
Kathleen Hayden, VIRTUS Facilitator
St. Timothy Catholic Church, Tappahannock
“I am Chair of the Safe Environment Committee and VIRTUS Facilitator at St. Timothy, Tappahannock. As a retired elementary school teacher, I feel that it is our duty to do all we can to protect all of God’s children. Agape.”
Melody Smith, Director of Christian Formation / Safe Environment Administrator
Prince of Peace Catholic Church, Chesapeake
“I’m a mother of six children and strong supporter of our Safe Environment Program. In the Safe Environment Program, I help train caring volunteers by equipping them to join the growing team of people committed to raising awareness, spotting the warning signs, and keeping the predators out of our parishes, schools, and programs.”

Lourdes Travieso-Parker, VIRTUS Facilitator
Church of Saint Therese, Gloucester
“It has been my honor to have been trained in the Virtus program since its inception in 2005. Dr. Paul Ashton was the trainer and he was magnificent. Over the years, I have done numerous trainings in the Virtus programs throughout parishes in Virginia. I am bilingual and I have done numerous trainings in Spanish over the years as far away as Bristol. I have also done many trainings in English particularly around the parishes in the Peninsula and Newport News. I am glad to join the program and do my best with the help of our Blessed Mother, the Holy Spirit and God’s help.”

Steven Cottam, Director of Evangelization and Catechesis
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Henrico
“Growing up I loved my youth group and got so much out of it – it made me who I am today. So I got involved as a Virtus facilitator to make sure those programs would always be available to our young people, and to do everything I could to make sure that they would be as safe and as life-giving for today’s youth as they were for me.”

Sue Ellerbrock, Director of Religious Education
St. Mary Catholic Church, Blacksburg and St. Jude Catholic Church, Radford
“I am proud and honored to be a VIRTUS Facilitator to teach others how to keep our children as well as our parishes safe.”

Carmen Chumpitazi O’Brien, Coordinator Music Ministry and RCIA
Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Richmond
“I encourage you to be a VIRTUS Facilitator. I can have a safe environment and protect children and vulnerable adults.”

Anna Kambach, Religious Education-Children’s Liturgy of the Word, Vacation Bible School
St. Mary Catholic Church, Blacksburg
“Having worked as an elementary school teacher for our public schools and then having my own young children, I feel it is extremely important to do anything I can to protect our children and raising awareness is a big part of that. Facilitators are necessary as without them we can’t get people trained in order to work with our children and pass on the tenets of our faith.”

Kimberly Chapman, Director of Christian Formation
Peninsula Cluster Parishes
“I became a VIRTUS facilitator so that I could enable volunteers in my parishes, with vibrant and growing ministries, to become trained more quickly at a parish close to them. This training is so informative and helpful, both within parish ministries and the wider community. Education, awareness and prevention are key!”

Amy Reineberg, Star of the Sea Catholic School
“The primary reason why I am a facilitator for the Diocese of Richmond is my passion to help educate others about being proactive in protecting God’s children. I feel that if I can help facilitate valuable information to our Church and school communities that I am allowing God’s work to be done successfully and completed safely among all children. I will be certified as a Victims Advocate in 2022 and I am looking forward to promoting this valuable program.”