Local residents should take advantage of numerous ways to support and learn more about child abuse prevention

Those who have driven down Third Street through downtown Prineville these past few days have probably noticed a few new, shiny blue decorations.

The blue pinwheels are back, blue ribbons are now available at local businesses, and schoolchildren will likely bring them home this week as well. In April, people throughout Crook County and the rest of the country will celebrate Child Abuse Prevention Month, a wonderful month-long recognition of how important it is to protect some of the most vulnerable in our population, but also a sobering reminder of the ongoing abuse problem that too many children sadly face.

Locally, residents can choose from a variety of different events in which to participate. Not only can you make an outward show of support by sporting a blue ribbon, you can attend everything from a Chamber of Commerce-led Prineville Perk this Friday at MountainStar Family Relief Nursery, to free family movie at Pine Theater, to Darkness to Light classes that focus on child sex abuse prevention.

Given the amount of months, weeks and days devoted to recognizing a certain cause or concern, it is easy to let something like Child Abuse Prevention Month go by with little more than a brief thought about the problem. However, people should give this cause more attention and action because children not only can't protect and care for themselves, those who endure abuse could be damaged for years, if not the rest of their lives. Abuse gone undetected and halted could stunt a very bright and productive future for a person who might go on to do great things and make a difference in many lives down the road.

So make a point of wearing a blue ribbon this month. If you have time to do it, head over to the MountainStar facility for a tour or take your family out for a free Saturday movie. And more importantly, make a concerted effort to embrace the Child Abuse Prevention Month motto, "Speak up and Save a Child."

Yes, this is an action that takes a little bit of bravery and pushes adults out of their comfort zone. Experts on child abuse prevention acknowledge that people by and large prefer to mind their own business and assume that what they are seeing is not abuse. And while there are times where that may be true, those experts point out that many other times there was reason to worry and reporting what they saw could have prevented further abuse. This is a case where it is better to err on the side of caution.

And for those who would prefer some education on the topic so that they are better equipped to detect the warning signs, people can take advantage of trainings not only this month, but year-round.

Get involved, show your support and speak up this month and every month. Protect those in our community who can't protect themselves.

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