April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and to help ensure safe, healthy childhoods for all, Moline-based EveryChild will lead a variety of events, activities, and community trainings throughout the month.
“Childhood well-being is a community issue, and Child Abuse Prevention Month is an opportunity for our community to come together to celebrate the small steps we can take to strengthen children and families, not just this month but throughout the year—and far into the future,” Mark Mathews, EveryChild’s executive director, said in a Tuesday release. “We take a proactive, strength-based approach to preventing child abuse, and that starts with a foundation of awareness and education.”
“This year, we’ve got the calendar filled with different ways for everybody in the community to get involved,” said Heather Lamb, one of EveryChild’s prevention education specialists.
Major events include several Pinwheel Garden dedication ceremonies at locations across the Quad Cities and the Celebrate Every Child Gala on April 27. Throughout the month, community members are encouraged to join a range of meetings, free trainings, and dine-for-a-cause nights, while different family activities centered on wellness, safety, and relationship-building are suggested each week, the nonprofit’s release says.
For Lamb, the main goal of Child Abuse Prevention Month and the agency’s community education initiatives throughout the year is to build a common language the community can use to talk about childhood well-being and preventing child abuse.
“Childhood trauma, the challenges of parenting—these can be difficult things for people to discuss,” said Lamb. “But if we all talk about the same topics with the same vocabulary, and we do it often, these issues become normalized and seeking help and support becomes common.”
EveryChild’s community education programming ranges from basic overviews and refreshers to more in-depth, targeted trainings. The Community Education team meets regularly with early childhood educators, case workers, law enforcement officers, parents, and even business professionals in the community to equip them with the tools and knowledge they need to support community efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect and lay the foundation for every child to thrive.
“While we have great evidence-based, licensed curriculums, we also have the ability to adapt our materials to suit the audience we’re talking to,” said Lamb. “For instance, we can facilitate the same Technology Safety training to two very different groups; adapting the information to fit each group’s needs (for example, parents of toddlers vs. parents of teens), and it will benefit families and kids in our community.
“When you know better, you do better,” she added. “Every parent, every community member can benefit from the skills and resources we provide. We need the community’s help in providing every child with the safe, healthy childhood they deserve – and that starts with supporting families.”
Upcoming events in April will be:
- Saturday, April 1: Rock Island County AOK Community Resource Fair
- Monday, April 3: Davenport Police Department Pinwheel Ceremony – 1 p.m.
- Monday, April 3: Dine for a Cause – Adolph’s – East Moline
- Tuesday, April 4: Giving Tuesday for Child Abuse Prevention Month
- Tuesday, April 4: Rock Island County Children’s Advocacy Center Pinwheel Ceremony – 11 a.m.
- Wednesday, April 5: Rock Island County Justice Center Pinwheel Ceremony – 11 a.m.
- Wednesday, April 5: Stewards of Children – Community Training – 12 p.m.
- Wednesday, April 5: St. Ambrose University Children’s Campus Pinwheel Ceremony – 3 p.m.
- Friday, April 7: Blue Out Day
- Friday, April 7: Muscatine County Courthouse Pinwheel Garden – 1 p.m.
- Monday, April 10: Dine for a Cause – Bad Boy’z Pizza
- Tuesday, April 18: Moline Police Department Pinwheel Ceremony – 11:30 a.m.
- Wednesday, April 19: Dine for a Cause – Panchero’s – Moline
- Thursday, April 20: Parenting Workshop – Managing Strong Emotions – 5:30 p.m.
- Thursday, April 27: Celebrate Every Child Gala – 5:30 p.m.
For more information on all of EveryChild’s April events, visit the group website HERE.