By Debbie Adam
The GFWC Woman’s Club of Vinton and the Vinton Police Department held their annual Pinwheel Garden planting at the Vinton Municipal Building on April 2. The two organizations partner to plant the pinwheels in the raised flower beds in front of the building to draw the public’s attention to National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The pinwheels remain in place during the month of April.
Woman’s Club spokesperson Kathryn Sowers accepted a proclamation from Town Council at the council meeting on April 6, declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The Proclamation states in part that “the health and safety of all citizens is important to the prosperity and well-being of our families and communities; and our children are our most valuable resource and will shape the future of the Vinton community. Child abuse is considered to be one of our nation’s most serious public health problems, and the majority of child abuse cases stem from situations and conditions that are preventable in an engaged and supportive community. We acknowledge that we must work together as a community to increase awareness about child abuse and how we can we prevent it, because prevention remains the best defense for our children.
“Displaying pinwheels during the month of April will serve as a positive reminder that together we can prevent child abuse and neglect and keep our children safe. The General Federation of Women’s Clubs–Vinton Women’s Club and the Vinton Police Department have worked together in partnership to raise awareness and promote the prevention of child abuse in our community.”
In accepting the Proclamation, Sowers told council, “On behalf of the GFWC Woman’s Club of Vinton and the Vinton Police Department we would like to thank the Town of Vinton for allowing us to ‘plant’ our blue and silver pinwheel garden. Thanks to Chief Fabricio Drumond, Sgt. Michael Caldwell, Sgt. Scott Hurt, Officer William Holland, and Cpl. Silas Chapman for partnering with our club members with the planting that took place on April 2nd to promote National Child Abuse Awareness Prevention Month. Thanks also to Mayor Brad Grose, Vice Mayor Sabrina McCarty, Councilman Mike Stovall, Susan Johnson, Donna Collins and Mandie Baker for helping us plant the pinwheel garden.”
She also thanked the police department for creating the newly designed banners on display in the gardens.
Sowers went on to tell council about the General Federation of Women’s Clubs “as we celebrate 130 years of service and volunteering. In all 50 states and more than a dozen countries, our members work locally to create changes. GFWC clubwomen are mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, doctors, teachers, CEOs and community leaders who are dedicated to enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service.
“Similar gardens have been planted all across the United States including at our organization’s headquarters in Washington D.C., during April, which is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Every year, clubwomen raise awareness of child abuse and promote healthy childhoods by planting pinwheel gardens. Prevent Child Abuse introduced the pinwheel in 2008 as the official symbol of great childhoods. The pinwheel reminds us of our own childhoods and the fact that all children deserve to be happy and healthy.
“In addition, GFWC has earned a reputation as a powerful force in the fight against domestic violence,” Sowers said. “GFWC adopted as our signature project to work bringing hope to victims and survivors of domestic violence and abuse. Each year over 4.1 million referrals are made to child protection agencies involving 7.4 million children. A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds and neglect is the Number One form of abuse. GFWC members care because we all play a role in children’s lives and because the costs are too high. We must ‘Step up, Stand up, Speak up, Report it.’ Together we can prevent child abuse because childhood lasts a lifetime.
“The Pinwheels for Prevention campaign provides a unique opportunity for all of us to work together as a community to increase awareness about child abuse and contribute to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families in a safe, stable, nurturing environment. Prevention remains the best defense for our children and families. All children deserve great childhoods because our children are our future. Thank you for helping us as we are building community, building Hope.
“This year we have added support and encourage the awareness of autism by wearing blue for World Autism Awareness Day. Autism Awareness Day is about celebrating and recognizing people on the autism spectrum, as well as researching and fundraising initiatives which promote inclusivity for people with autism. The world’s understanding of autism as a disorder has changed drastically over time. Until the second half of the 20th century, only people with severe symptoms were diagnosed with autism, and those who were diagnosed were often institutionalized. Autism was believed to result from poor parenting or vaccinations, instead of understood as a neurological disorder. Thankfully, special events such as the Power of One March, awareness campaigns at schools, and autism self-advocacy have increased the world’s understanding and acceptance of autism.
“In 2007, the organization Autism Speaks created Autism Awareness Day. The United Nations passed a resolution to adopt the holiday, and in 2008, the day was celebrated worldwide as it has been ever since. On April 2nd, we celebrate the members of our communities, families, and world who live with autism for their diversity and unique talents.
Chief Drumond’s message from the police department to the community in supporting Child Abuse Prevention Month is, “Our kids are our national treasure. They are the measure and the true visual representation of a continuing legacy. As we become adults, we foster our children so that they become an even better version of ourselves.
“As an organization built on the premise of community, compassion, and the rule of law, it is only proper that we shed light and bring awareness on such a critical issue as child abuse.
“In a world with so much adversity, our children need unconditional love, guidance, and the feeling of belonging. It is through positive upbringing that we influence a child’s development during the critical stages of their lives. Healthy childhood development promotes an engaged future in community strength.
“The more of ourselves we invest in our children, the more we’ll get back; everyone can have a role in the development of healthy adults. Understand the pressures that our youth are facing today. Our kids should be our priority. The pressures of adulthood will undoubtedly come. Our kids are distinct by age and have different needs during different stages of life.
“No child should ever feel alone, and no child should ever be victimized unjustifiably by abuse in all its forms. Instances of unwarranted neglect will give a lifelong undeniable notion of the existence of pain. Be compassionate. Be a beacon of light for our kids.”