FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2017
CONTACT: LuAnn Ritsema, firstname.lastname@example.org, 704-943-9611
Meghan McDonald, email@example.com, 704-686-0726
Mecklenburg County agencies launch 2017 Child Abuse Prevention Month
MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. – Local officials and representatives of more than a dozen child-serving organizations will launch the fifth annual Child Abuse Prevention Month campaign in Mecklenburg County on Friday, March 31, at a press conference at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse.
Speakers include Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio, President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina Sharon Hirsch and Director of the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services Peggy Eagan. Ella Scarborough, chair of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners, will share the proclamation declaring April 2017 as Child Abuse Prevention Month. Also participating in the event is the Charlotte Children’s Choir of the Community School of the Arts, which will provide a musical performance.
Following the press conference, participants will “plant” a pinwheel garden outside of the courthouse to serve as a visual reminder of the importance of child abuse prevention. The pinwheel has become a symbol of child abuse awareness across the United States. Shining in the sun, pinwheels are reflective of the bright future all children deserve. Pinwheel gardens will be visible across Mecklenburg County in April at a variety of locations, including schools, nonprofits, churches and 20 parks.
The fifth annual campaign is organized by the Mecklenburg Child Abuse Prevention Team, which is made up of representatives from government, education, nonprofit and health organizations that play a role in the protection of children. These agencies join forces in April because their leaders recognize the need to educate the community about child abuse prevention strategies. Throughout the month, the team will use outreach and social media to share prevention tips with the public while also working to educate Mecklenburg County residents about their legal and moral responsibility to report suspected child abuse or neglect. Meanwhile, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the YMCA of Greater Charlotte will provide age-appropriate lessons to students about how to recognize abuse and get help.
The month’s awareness and prevention activities begin with the March 31 press conference, which will be held at 10 a.m. The event will take place on the lawn behind the courthouse, located at 832 E. Fourth Street in Charlotte, near the traffic circle, which is accessible from Fourth Street. Parking is available in the 4th Street parking deck. In the event of rain, the press conference will be held in the lobby of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center.
Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center, a Mecklenburg Child Abuse Prevention Team participating agency, will plant pinwheels at the center’s location on East Boulevard in Charlotte from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 31. The community and members of the media are also invited to join volunteers there for pinwheel planting. For more information about the event at Pat’s Place, contact Janet Harmon at 980-613-8967.
For details about upcoming events, ways to help and more information about the Mecklenburg Child Abuse Prevention Team, visit www.meck4kids.org or find the team on Facebook and Twitter.
Since 1983, April has been nationally designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Mecklenburg Child Abuse Prevention Team is made up of representatives from various local agencies, including the Council for Children’s Rights, the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office, the Mecklenburg County Guardian ad Litem’s Office, the Mecklenburg Guardian ad Litem Advocacy Foundation, Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center, YMCA of Greater Charlotte, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, the Arts Empowerment Project, Child Care Resources, Children’s Home Society of North Carolina, Communities in Schools, the Junior League of Charlotte, Novant Health, A Child’s Place, Teen Health Connection, Care Ring, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department and Mecklenburg County Community Support Services.