Child abuse awareness event includes walk, pinwheel planting

Sean C. Morgan

Sweet Home residents gathered with Sweet Home Police Department volunteers and personnel Saturday, April 8, to walk a mile as part of Child Abuse Awareness Month.

About 50 people, including children, gathered at the Police Department to plant pinwheels, eat hot dogs, walk and share information about child abuse.

During April, blue ribbons are available to support possible victims of child abuse. Proceeds from the sales of blue pinwheels help provide gas cards to families so they can transport their children to the ABC House in Albany.

“This is all about kids,” said SHPD Community Services Officer Gina Riley. “April is Child Abuse Awareness and Education Month.”

The blue ribbons and pinwheels represent happy, safe children, Riley said. She wanted children to understand that police staff and others gathered want them to be safe and that they should always ask for help if they need help.

Riley said that the Kiwanis Club provided seed money to buy the pinwheels. Cascade Timber Consulting donated blue ribbons.

The event raised about $1,100 this year, Riley said. That’s almost double last year’s. Much of it came through a donation for 489 pinwheels by KidCo Head Start for every child involved with the ABC House.

“Our job, what you’re helping us do, is give kids their childhoods back,” said Jennifer Gilmore-Robinson. “The thing that’s so heartbreaking about child abuse is that it’s hidden.”

Children receive everything from medical service to forensic interviews to allow investigators to gather the most accurate information possible into child abuse cases, setting families’ minds at ease or uncovering the truth in connection to possible abuse.

ABC House also provides a variety of resources that children and families may need, she said.

Last year, the ABC House served 641 children, she said. Some 25 percent were from Sweet Home and Lebanon.

“You’re making all that possible,” Gilmore-Robinson said. “The pinwheels are a perfect symbol of what childhood should be.”

Ribbons, which may be tied to antennae or other objects, are available free at the Sweet Home Police Department and pinwheels are $1, 1950 Main St. Call (541) 367-5181 for more information.