by Mindy East
“Imagine this, a world without child abuse”, that is this years theme for the Exchange Club Carl Perkins Center of Gibson County.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan declared April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a tradition that still continues on today. For 37 years, April has been used to raise awareness of the problem of child abuse. Carl Perkins Center uses April to focus on how you can prevent child abuse and neglect.
This April, the Gibson County Carl Perkins Center staff will distribute Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness literature throughout Gibson County. A timeline overview of the events and outings are starting with distributing Child Abuse Prevention themed pencils to every third grader in rural West Tennessee.
On Wednesday, April 1, starting at 9 a.m. in Trenton at the courthouse, there will be the Gibson County Mayoral Proclamation singing declaring April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month with county and city government mayors attending.
The Gibson County Carl Perkins Center will host the Humboldt Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours on Thursday, April 2, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Humboldt Carl Perkins Center located at 306 N. 22nd Ave. The center will also host an open house event and distribute prevention and awareness information.
Tuesday, April 7, beginning at 6:30 p.m. a child abuse prevention presentation will be made to the court attorney’s at the Jackson Country Club.
The centers staff will attend Mom’s Day Out at First Baptist Church in Dyer on Wednesday, April 8; Monday, April 13, TNCares Headstart in Trenton and Monday, April 20 TNCares Headstart in Humboldt, to read to the children, There will be a bubble launch and stickers with this year’s theme. The children will take home literature for parents.
The staff will visit the Boys & Girls Club of Humboldt for a safety presentation for kindergarten through fifth grade on April 13 and on April 14 they will return to give the presentation to grades six through 12.
“Every April we ask the community and businesses to display blue ribbons to show support in the prevention of child abuse and to spread awareness,” said Bett Jewell, director of Gibson County Carl Perkins Center. “The center also has shirts available from sizes youth x-small to adult 5 x-large to help spread awareness with a link on our Facebook page.”
Jewell added that the center is available all year to distribute information and to spread awareness to any group, agency and/or events.
Services offered by the Gibson County Carl Perkins Center include: trauma focused—cognitive behavioral therapy, victim’s advocacy assistance, victims of crime assistance counseling, child advocacy center services, child sexual abuse services, forensic interviews, relative caregiver program, nurturing parenting classes, Stewards of Children, support services, volunteer services, community education forever parents, 24 hour hotline services and school-based intervention services.
The five steps to protecting our children are:
•Learn the facts; 1 in 10 children are sexually abused. Over 90-percent of them know their abuser.
•Minimize opportunity; eliminate or reduce isolated one-on-one situations to decrease risk for abuse.
•Talk about it; have open conversations with children about our bodies, sex, and boundaries.
•Recognize the signs; know the signs of abuse to protect children from further harm.
•React responsibly; understand how to respond to risky behaviors and suspicions or reports of sexual abuse.
If you suspect child abuse or neglect, be the voice for the innocent and call the 24-hour, seven days a week hotline at 1-800-273-4747.