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The City Journals

Murray City, Exchange Club Join Forces to Spread Child Abuse Awareness

May 05, 2016 02:03PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

Murray -  The Murray City Hall landscaping received a makeover for the month of march by honoring Child Abuse Prevention Month with blue pinwheels dotted all over its lawn and garden.

Thoughts tend to veer away from depressing subjects such as child abuse awareness, but the month of April offered Murray the opportunity to steer into the skid. 

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Murray City, with the support of the Murray Exchange Club, marked the occasion on Monday, April 4 in front of City Hall with a Prevent Child Abuse ceremony to expand awareness of the issue. 

“This is a problem that needs our awareness and our attention,” Jennifer Brass, Murray Exchange Club President, told the over 65 people in attendance. 

The ceremony included Murray Mayor Ted Eyre reading the resolution passed last month declaring April 2016 as Child Abuse Prevention Month along with the presentation of plaques to the Murray City Police and Fire Departments from the Murray Exchange Club for their community service. Craig Burnett, Murray City Police Chief, was on hand to accept the honor. 

“They [Police and Fire Departments] are our champions, they are often the first responders in child abuse cases,” Brass said. 

Interspersed throughout the ceremony were songs from students of the Parkside Elementary School Choir. Songs included a recalibrated rendition of Katy Perry’s “Roar” – but replaced the word “tiger” with “panther,” the school’s mascot – as well as “Hall of Fame” by The Script and “Seize the Day” from the musical “Newsies.”

The ceremony concluded by planting blue pinwheels in the lawn and garden in front of City Hall and tying ribbons around branches and tree trunks. Nationally the blue pinwheels represent the happy childhood all children should have. 

234 pinwheels were to be planted throughout the month to denote the number of all-encompassing cases of Child Abuse and Neglect that were reported in Murray in 2015. That number is up from the 229 reported cases in 2014. 

“We just cannot live in a society that is progressive and forward thinking and have this type of thing within our community,” Mayor Ted Eyre said. 

City Hall flew the Child Abuse Prevention Flag and placed two small banners in front of its building. 

During the ceremony Brass said she already saw drivers passing on State Street craning their heads to look at the banners, ribbons and pinwheels. 

Brass said anyone can help in the prevention of child abuse by helping overworked parents, supporting any number of groups that assist in child abuse cases or simply listening to a friend or neighbor. 

“Everyone can help to aid the prevention of child abuse by lending an ear to anyone, tall or small, who needs to talk,” Brass said. 

“We try to get the word out so people understand that there’s help,” Carlton Defosse, Murray Exchange Club member, said. 

Brass said people assist when they support some organizations whose ideal it is to help. 

Some of that help includes Family Support Centers around the Salt Lake Valley as well as the Utah Food Bank and the Boys and Girls Club. 

Brass and Defosse were quick to point out the assistance they received from not only the Murray City Council but from the community’s youth in both the Excel Club, a junior program of the Exchange Club, and the Murray Youth Chamber of Commerce.

Defosse said child abuse awareness shouldn’t stop when April ended. 

“Everybody needs to be aware that we have to prevent child abuse, we’re just emphasizing it through this [ceremony] but we need to do this 12 months a year,” Defosse said. 

Brass said events like the Child Abuse Prevention ceremony really brings the community together. 

“If we’re all watching out for everybody else’s kids too, then we’re all watching out together.” Brass said.