DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A national campaign is underway to protect our most vulnerable population, and Care House is raising awareness for child abuse prevention with blue pinwheels.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan declared April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. In 2008, pinwheels became a symbol for the campaign.
“It is designed to represent the carefree life that we want all children to be able to enjoy,” says Libby Nicholson, Director of CARE House, an advocacy center for children and families affected by abuse.
But the sad reality is not all children get to enjoy that through no fault of their own.
“What we need to do as a community is to open our eyes to situations that we may come in contact with where a child is at risk or being exploited or maltreated in any way,” says Nicholson. “Any case of child abuse in my opinion is the saddest one I’ve ever seen.”
For many years, CARE House has been raising awareness with pinwheels. This year, for a dollar a pinwheel, they’ve encouraged other agencies to do the same to help broaden the message.
Throughout the Miami Valley, more than 60 pinwheel gardens have been planted, including one in front of the Dayton Police Safety Building.
“I think the biggest components to crimes against children or any other crime is awareness,” says Dayton Police Lt. Jason Hall.
CARE House sees about one thousand new case of child abuse a year and provides a coordinated response to help children and families. Statistics show 1 in 4 children will experience some form of abuse in his or her lifetime.
“It absolutely can be prevented and it can be prevented by supporting families and strengthening our response to those children who are in need,” says Nicholson.
“They’re our most vulnerable victims. Children are innocent,” states Lt. Hall.
Donations from the pinwheels will go back to support CARE House.
“Hopefully as people drive by and see them spinning in the wind and sparkling in the sunshine, they will think of the children that are affected by abuse and how we’re trying to help them,” says Nicholson.