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Submitted by Julie Mann
You may have already noticed the blue ribbons that have began to appear around our community. This is the special time of year set aside to raise awareness for the plight of children who suffer from abuse and neglect.
The first proclamation declaring the month of April as National Child Abuse and Prevention Month was signed by President Ronal Reagan in 1985. The campaign gained momentum in the spring of 1989 when grandmother, Bonnie Finney of Norfolk, Virginia took on the cause as a personal campaign.
Physically incapable of caring for her three young grandchildren, Ms. Finney was unable to convince authorities that her own daughter could not provide a safe home. After her grandson was found dead — a victim of child abuse, Finney began a personal crusade to raise awareness of child abuse and neglect. Her first act was to tie a blue ribbon to the antenna of her van. She chose the color blue to serve as a constant reminder of the bruised and battered bodies of her precious grandchildren. Those blue ribbons are now a national symbol and sign of solidarity that our community is dedicated to preventing child abuse in all its forms.
Preventing child abuse is something each of us can do. Here are some practical suggestions from Prevent Child Abuse America:
• Be a friend to a parent you know. Ask how their children are doing. If a parent seems to be struggling, offer to baby-sit, run errands, or lend a friendly ear.
• Talk to your neighbors about looking out for one another's children. Encourage a supportive spirit among parents in your community.
• Donate your used clothing, furniture, and toys for use by another family. This can relieve the stress of financial burdens that sometimes trigger abuse.
• If you or someone you know feel overwhelmed by the demands of parenting, call the Parent Helpline at 1-800-342-7472 for information about family support resources.
• Wear a blue ribbon and tell people it stands for the prevention of child abuse and neglect.
• Call or write your elected officials and ask them to support funding and legislative initiatives for parent support and child abuse prevention programs.
• Educate yourself and others to help prevent child abuse from happening in the first place.
For more information on recognizing and preventing child abuse log on to www.preventchildabuse.org.
As part of our community's dedication to ending child abuse, we invite you to join us for the Henry County CARE Team's 10th Annual Celebration KIDS event on Saturday, April 26 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Eminence School Gym. This community fair style event is guaranteed fun for the entire family with booths, games, inflatables, live music, food, dancing and much, much more!
The Henry County CARE Team is a coalition of social service agencies, faith community representatives, local businesses, law enforcement officials, school personnel, civic organizations, government associates, parents and impassioned citizens, working together to build a stronger Henry County. For more information about the work of the Henry County CARE Team, please contact our office at (502) 878-0001. You can also make plans to attend our monthly coalition meetings on the second Wednesday of each month at the Henry County Public Library. The meetings are held at NOON and lunch is provided, however, we do request an RSVP and a minimal monetary donation to help off-set the cost of the meal. We hope that you will consider joining the "Team!"