How to Show Support for Child Abuse Prevention Month in Missoula
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and exists to raise awareness and educate families in hopes of preventing child abuse. Of course, communities should be using and sharing child abuse and neglect prevention strategies throughout the year, but April's events shine a light on the importance of working together to promote the social and emotional well-being of families.
CASA of Missoula hosts several events and opportunities to create awareness for child abuse prevention each April, including the "Pinwheels for Prevention" campaign that you may be familiar with. Blue pinwheels are the national symbol for child abuse prevention, representing innocence and reflecting the bright future that kids deserve. If you can't find any pinwheels locally, you can make your own, it certainly makes for a fun family activity, or, you can order some on Amazon. I found a pack of 36 for $15 that will fill my front yard.
There's also an art contest where you can draw/paint/create blue pinwheels for a chance to win prizes. Simply snap a pic of your blue pinwheel art and submit it along with your name and age to firstname.lastname@example.org. Prizes will be awarded for Best Group/Business, 13+ Division, and Children's Division. Prizes from Crumbl, Missoula Downtown, Donation Warehouse, Black Cat Bake Shop, and SpectrUM are up for grabs! If you're not feeling creative but your kids would like to enter the contest, you can print this pinwheel page for them to color or paint, and here's a fun DIY pinwheel to print as well.
Another way to recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month is to wear blue, and encourage your co-workers and family to wear blue in solidarity. I would also encourage you to make friends with your neighbors and their children, as you have likely experienced, problems often seem less overwhelming when you have support nearby. Like, if you're having a moment, and can ask the kids to visit a friend next door for an hour so you can get a hold of your feelings, it's so helpful. Also, be involved in your child’s school and attend school events. Having a support network of parents is so important in decreasing some of the pressures of daily life, being able to participate in ride sharing and trading playdates can give you a little extra time in your day to take a breather. And if you suspect child abuse, it IS your business, you must report it. I've never heard of anyone regretting reporting abuse, but I've definitely seen people regretting they didn't.