Library’s Storytime focuses on Childhood Abuse Prevention Month

Published 9:26 am Wednesday, April 15, 2015

NW0415 Pinwheels for Prevention C

The pinwheel is one of the most simple childhood toys, but during April, it takes on a deeper meaning during National Childhood Abuse Prevention Month.

The Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library participated in the nationwide Pinwheels for Prevention campaign during Storytime on Tuesday.

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Each child at Storytime was given a blue and silver pinwheel to play with during the session and take home with them. The library had received close to 500 pinwheels from Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee.

The goal was to “plant” these pinwheels at Edwards Island Pavilion in recognition of each child in Tennessee who was a victim of child abuse. However, those plans had to be changed because of the rain that moved through the area early Tuesday.

“The pinwheel is a symbol of childhood innocence,” Children’s Librarian Ashlee Williams said. “Blue is traditionally the color used in support of child abuse prevention. We wanted to plant a pinwheel garden in honor of the happy, healthy childhood all children deserve.”

It was important for the library to take part in the nationwide campaign because one of its goals is to focus on childhood education, health and safety, Williams said.

“Since our focus is on preschoolers and their education and safety, we want to work to make sure each preschooler grows up safe, happy and healthy,” she said. “Every child deserves that.”

The library helps provide for a child’s intellectual growth by supporting reading, but also partners with other organizations to help with physical and emotion needs as well, Williams said.

“We host programs with the health department for health concerns, with the extension office for nutrition classes and with the Red Cross for safety,” Williams said. “We focus on the safety, health and welfare of every child. We care about their whole being; their mental, emotional and physical welfare.”

Prevent Child Abuse America launched the national Pinwheels for Prevention Campaign in 2008. Before that, the campaign was recognized at a local level in various towns throughout the country. The organization also shares information on child abuse statistics and what the public can do to stop and prevent the abuse from occurring.

“Ensuring children have the opportunity to grow up in a safe, healthy environment is everyone’s responsibility,” Kristen Rector, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee said. “The pinwheel is a reminder that we all play a role in the future of our children. Children deserve to grow up feeling safe, nurtured and loved, and the pinwheel gardens planted across the state this April show our commitment to the families in the communities where we work and live everyday.”

Some statistics on child abuse and neglect: each year the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that more than 1,500 children die from abuse and neglect in the United States. In 2013, there were 59,180 reported child abuse cases in Tennessee.

During the month of April, 50,000 pinwheels will be planted at local businesses, schools, community centers and churches across Tennessee. Rector hopes seeing the bright blue pinwheel gardens that pop up across the state will help community members become active in preventing child abuse and neglect.