I was going to save this until Child Abuse Prevention Month and then I remembered it doesn't come until April.
Every month has something that some one wants us to be aware of named after it. There are many important things we need to take seriously in our lives to give us and those around us a great quality of life. Preventing Child Abuse is one of those many issues. Unfortunately, it is one that can't be considered only one month out of the year.
This community is great in its support of groups and organizations that work on child abuse issues. The Family Support and CJC's annual fundraiser is coming up soon and many of you attend the Harvest Ball. The schools also do events throughout the year to help with the awareness of child abuse issues and the community always responds. There are also other groups including BACA that do fundraising and child abuse information activities.
Getting involved with those activities make us feel good. We get a warm and fuzzy feeling inside when we have done something to help "those" kids. The reality is that child abuse and neglect can and does happen in many families regardless of social or economic standing. The real way we can eliminate child abuse happens before kids are born.
If we want to prevent our children from being hurt, then we need to find ways to prepare our children about how to be good parents. If we come from a home that models good parenting then that is an easy task. However what if a child grows up in a home where the parenting is not ideal? That is where we can all help out.
As a parent you worry about how peers influence your children. Sometimes you might tell them to not hang out with this child or that one.
What if instead, you encouraged that child to spend more time at your home so you can teach and model good skills for them? You might be the key that not only changes the life of that child, but that of generations to come.
Reach out to your neighbors and friends to help them in their parenting. Isolation is a big factor in letting abusive situations blossom. Don't ignore signs that you may see. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, make the call to DCFS or law enforcement. You will be helping a child and a family.
Let's work together to make our community one that is a great place for kids to grow up in.