Fighting back against child abuse
You may have seen them around town lately — whimsical, blue pinwheels, spinning carefree in the breeze.
For the Children has helped plant these pinwheel gardens to acknowledge April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
"Our whole purpose for our group is to promote safety for children and healthy families, and we try to do that through free events in the community for families during the year," explained For the Children Chair Kris Williams.
During April, families will be treated to a free movie, children will be able to get their bikes repaired and receive new helmets, and locals will be encouraged to wear blue ribbons and purchase pinwheels.
Because April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Williams said it's an appropriate time to remind people that children's lives should be carefree.
"The pinwheels are part of a national public awareness campaign. They symbolize happy and healthy children," Williams said. "For the Children is trying to promote carefree, happy, healthy families."
Last Friday morning, Williams and her team planted pinwheel gardens in the Prineville Police Department front yard and in front of local schools.
Businesses and individuals may purchase some of the 2,200 pinwheels for $1 each and plant them in their yards or give them away to children.
"We have people that buy five of them, and we have places that buy 100 of them to put into their pots out front or to hand out," Williams said.
Helping kick off the month, members of the Crook County Court will read a Child Abuse Prevention Proclamation during their meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 3 at the Crook County Annex.
MountainStar Family Relief Nursery will host Prineville Perk from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Friday, April 5. Attendees will tour the therapeutic classroom and hear about MountainStar's efforts to strengthen families and keep kids safe in Crook County.
KIDS Center, a child abuse intervention center, will host a Darkness to Light Training from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 12 at the Crook County Library. The interactive training provides participants with steps to better protect children from sexual abuse.
For the Children is sponsoring a free movie at Pine Theater. Families and children are welcome to watch "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 13.
Good Bike Company and Crook County Health Department are collaborating on the Tired Bike Derby, planned for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 27 at the Prineville Bike Park. Bike repairmen will be on hand to do minor repairs on bikes. For the Children will give free helmets to children of all ages. Williams said Jody Stahancyk donated funds to For the Children specifically to provide bike helmets for youth.
KIDS Center will offer SafetyNet: Smart Cyber Choices, an internet safety training, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday, April 29 at the Crook County Library. They will also offer Let's Talk About It from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 30 at the library. The training is designed to provide parents and caregivers information about the difference between healthy, developmentally appropriate body exploration and inappropriate and unsafe behavior that can cause harm to self and others.
The KIDS Center provides jars of blue ribbons to the community each April as part of the Blue Ribbon Campaign, encouraging recipients to wear them on their shirts. For the Children distributes blue ribbons to schools for students to tie on their backpacks to help promote child abuse prevention.
"The blue color itself was started a few years back. It was started by a grandmother whose grandson had been physically abused," Williams said. "The blue ribbons represented his bruising."
Williams said the hope is that trusted adults such as teachers could be a positive influence in helping reduce child abuse in the community.
"If the teachers are handing out the blue ribbons and saying it's Child Abuse Prevention Month, then the kids are more apt to talk to them if they need a trusted adult," she said.
Child Abuse Prevention Month
To buy pinwheels, call Michelle Duff, 541-323-5330; Deb Patterson, 447-5161; or Kris Williams 541-548-1540. Pinwheels are $1 each.