Blue pinwheels can be seen on the lawns of businesses across Genoese County in the month of April. Why? April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the color blue and the pinwheels are the nationally recognized symbol for child abuse prevention.
Genesee County kicked off its campaign to raise awareness of child abuse and prevention at the Prevention Partner Breakfast, sponsored by the Weiss Advocacy Center, on March 29. The purpose of the breakfast was to educate community members about child abuse prevention and to recognize the businesses and organizations who are partners in the cause. Community leaders, including Congressman Dale Kildee, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, Genesee County Assistant Prosecutor Sara Coaster and Flint Police Chief Tim Johnson all spoke at the event. “Child abuse is very strong in our community,” said the police chief. “Please don’t hesitate to call us and report it. That’s our job and we have no problem doing it.”
Robert Ennis of the Ennis Center told the audience the blue pinwheels represent “kids being kid,” and he urged the community to participate in Wear Blue Day on April 20. Funding for prevention all comes through the community,” he said. “Child abuse has no color. We have a ton of work to do and it’s getting worse. We need more resources and more money.”
Coaster said she has tried many child abuse cases, pointing out that Genesee County is the top county in the state in child abuse deaths. “Child abuse is 100 percent preventable,” she reported. Coaster has tried cases involving a three-month-old-infant with a fractured skull, and a case where a mother tortured her three-year-old to death. “This is what is going on in our county and what we are trying to prevent. We need to listen to our kids and we need to believe them. We CAN keep our kids safe. I don’t want to see any more child abuse and sex abuse cases on my docket.”
“When you speak up and speak out. Change can happen,” said the mayor. “We owe that to our children.”
Congressman Kildee said there is nothing more important than protecting kids and that working at Whaley Children’s Center for 10 years formed his view of life. “I go home every day knowing that I had accomplished something by helping the most vulnerable kids,” he said, adding that there is no job more important than helping kids. He also said that his goal, back when he was chairman of the Genesee County Board of Commissioners and now, as congressman, is to make Genesee County the safest place for kids. “But we have to have the resources,” he said. “If I can help make that happen, maybe I will feel like I’m working at Whaley again.”
You can help make a difference!
Paint our Town Blue
Paint our Town Blue is a public awareness campaign presented by Ennis Children’s Center, Weiss Child Advocacy Center and Whaley Children’s Center, to promote the prevention of child abuse and neglect in Genesee County through education and increased attention to the problem. The goal is to raise attention to its prevalence, and the long-term impact it has on child development, as well as social and economic conditions in the community. To get involved contact Kalita McClure at 810.238.3333 ext 207 or visit www.PaintOurTownBlue.org.
Wear Blue Day
Both the pinwheel and the color blue symbolize the hope Child Abuse Prevention Month can bring to children across the county. Help spread awareness and give every child the chance of the healthy, happy and full life they deserve. Community members are invited to get involved with the Paint Our Town Blue Initiative by wearing blue clothing on Wear Blue Day on April 20. To purchase a Wear Blue Day shirt, visit www.PaintOurTownBlue.org.
Planting a blue pinwheel in front of your home, business or church is a great way to show your support of Paint Our Town Blue.
Decorate your business in blue
- There are a lot of ways to paint your business blue.
- Change light bulbs to blue.
- Display blue pinwheel arrangements.
- Use blue balloons as decor.
- Hang blue lights or fabric.
Blue Sunday April 29
Churches in Genesee are encouraged to participate in Blue Sunday. Join the fight by to end child abuse by speaking out to your congregation about this growing epidemic. Pray for those who are victims and for the people who help them and share a moment of silence for those affected. Visit www.paintourtownblue.org for more activities, a video and how you and your congregation can support the cause.