04-24-13-pinwheels.gifI hope you’ve seen the pinwheels that have been popping up all over Cumberland County during the month of April. Gardens of bright blue pinwheels have been “planted” in numerous locations in honor of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The pinwheel serves as a reminder of a happy, safe and carefree childhood, one that every child deserves. Adopted by Prevent Child Abuse America, more than a million pinwheels have been displayed nationwide since April 2008 when the campaign began. Locally, the Child Advocacy Center has coordinated with area schools, organizations and agencies to sponsor the gardens.

The Child Advocacy Center hosted a Pinwheel Garden planting on April 9 in honor of the 487 children served by the center in fiscal year 2012. The pinwheels will remain on display until the end of April.

As another reminder of Child Abuse Prevention Month, volunteers from the Child Advocacy Center are decorating many of the downtown black flower pots with giant, bright blue bows during the last week of April, just in time for 4th Friday and the Dogwood Festival.

Pinwheels and bright blue bows also serve as a reminder of the “power of play.” Taking time out to play with our children not only develops bonds of affection and joy but also helps children learn. Through play, children gain communication and social skills as well as developing their abilities to tackle problems and deal with conflict. Adults can reinforce children’s feelings of self-esteem and competence by interacting and encouraging them in their play time. We invite families to enjoy the many fun “play time” events and activities held in our community during April and May to recognize the power of play and to celebrate our community as a place that supports programs and policies that encourage children’s healthy development.

Joining hands with 19 community agencies, the Child Advocacy Center offers a safe and child-friendly place to interview, investigate and provide support for abused children. The CAC also provides prevention education for parents, professionals and agencies in our community. We look to a future where all children live in a safe and nurturing environment free from abuse.

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