By Amanda Foust
April is Child Abuse Awareness month, and several Hamilton County businesses and organizations have planted symbolic pinwheel gardens to remind the community to advocate for children and prevent abuse.
“This month, we don’t want awareness to be about child abuse but what we can do for children to make them happy, safe, and carefree,” said Sandy Runkle, director of programs for Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, which offers training, safety talks and programs for professionals, parents and youth to help them understand what to look for in a potentially dangerous situation.
“We work all year round, but April is the month we recharge and remind everyone what we want for all children,” Runkle said.
Chaucie’s Place, a child advocacy organization founded in 2001, is one of the local organizations that has planted a Pinwheel Garden for April. The pinwheel is the awareness symbol for child abuse.
“[The symbol] used to be the blue ribbon, but the pinwheel now represents a happy childhood and symbolizes what we want for children,” Runkle said.
The annual Friends of Chaucie’s Place Breakfast is one way to show support to children within the community. The event will be held on from 7 to 9 a.m. April 27 at the Ritz Charles in Carmel. The morning will offer a continental breakfast, a panel of speakers and information on the organization’s programs and mission.
“(The event is) open to anyone who would like to learn more about Chaucie’s Place, support our mission or learn about opportunities to help prevent child sexual abuse and youth suicide,” said Brady Powers, Chaucie’s Place director of programs.
Another awareness event for Chaucie’s Place is planned from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. April 26 at Recreation Unlimited, 5043 96th Street in Indianapolis.
“Children can enjoy free play and get a water and a cookie to celebrate the carefree childhood that every child should have,” said Terri Parke, director of Children’s Bureau, a nonprofit that provides services for at-risk children.
Tickets to the Friends of Chaucie’s Place Breakfast are $10. To order visit chauciesplace.org. This month, all are invited to participate and purchase pinwheels online at pcain.org/store/merchandise/.