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Children Spread Child Abuse Awareness in Pinwheel Parade

May 05, 2016 05:14PM ● Published by Bryan Scott

By Travis Barton | travis@mycityjournals.com

West Valley - In the journey to conquer child abuse, kids carried the torch during the Prevent Child Abuse Parade at Carl Sandburg Elementary.

On April 8, children of Carl Sandburg Elementary walked in a parade around the school carrying blue pinwheels in honor of Child Abuse Prevention month. 

“This was phenomenal,” Principal Marilyn Laughlin said. 

Sponsored by the mayor and Salt Lake County Council, the event saw kids chanting “no more child abuse” as they high-fived Aimee Winder Newton, Salt Lake County council member, during the parade. 

“That’s just so invigorating to watch those children do their parade and they’re yelling ‘no more child abuse’ and ‘save the children,’ so we love these opportunities,” Mary Lucero, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Utah (PCAU), said.

It not only excites Lucero, but she said it also incorporates the community at large. 

“It really gets the community engaged when they see the children get so emphatic and invested in it,” Lucero said. 

The PCAU offers an AdoptASchool program, where a company adopts a school for $2,500 to provide child abuse prevention education to an entire school, receive a 240 pinwheel garden and a sign in front of the adopted school for the month of April. 

Earlier in the week, the school planted 400 blue pinwheels in its front garden. Nationally, the blue pinwheel is a symbol for preventing child abuse.

Laughlin said the week is utilized to celebrate children being safe. 

Carl Sandburg Elementary was chosen by the Salt Lake County Council for their AdoptASchool program after the school approached the PCAU requesting its help. 

“We just thought it was a good fit because they were so excited about getting this education,” Winder Newton said. 

“These wonderful, humble families really deserve that — it’s a great community,” Laughlin said. 

PCAU is the only provider approved by the state board of education to provide child abuse education in schools. 

“A lot of kids who are being abused don’t know that they are so [the education] is a really good thing,” Winder Newton, a PCAU board member, said. 

“We’ve all taught our kids to be afraid of stranger danger, but 90 percent of the time it’s someone they know and love and trust,” Lucero said. 

Lucero said it’s very important to spread awareness about child abuse and the statistics of how common its occurrences are.

“I really think if the community knew more about it, no question everyone would be on board with making sure children have the education,” Lucero said. 

Those statistics include that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18 and Lucero cited the state’s sexual violence council, which said that child abuse costs Utah taxpayers $1 billion annually. 

Lucero said it costs the PCAU $3.50 to educate a child versus the potential lifetime cost of $210,000 for kids who do suffer abuse. Not to mention the effect on the child’s relationships as they grow older. 

“[Child abuse] prevention helps saves us a lot of tax dollars down the road and education is key,” Winder Newton said. 

Winder Newton said the county council wanted to highlight child abuse and show people it’s okay for it to be spoken about. 

“So if we do have victims, they can come forward and get the help that they need,” Winder Newton said. 

Lucero said the education needs to be comprehensive with adults and educators so everyone is ready to have an informed discussion with the children. 

“They [the PCAU] come into the schools and talk about abuse and they help kids understand what it is and what to do,” Winder Newton said. 

“We’d love to see all the schools do something like this,” Lucero said. 

For more information on the AdoptASchool program, go to www.preventchildabuseutah.org

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