A mid-month update: Smiles, pinwheels & so many more opportunities to make a difference!

blogblock_midApril2013We kicked off National Child Abuse Prevention Month in a blur of smiles and blue pinwheels! On April 2nd we distributed thousands of public education materials at our exciting Allies in Prevention Awards (smiles courtesy of ABC7’s Leon Harris and our amazing 2013 honorees!), and we haven’t slowed down since. From visits to dozens of local businesses and faith groups (otherwise known as Pinwheel Partners) to attending the statewide Virginia Child Abuse Prevention Conference to media coverage in the local papers and even on the ABC7 evening news, SCAN staff and volunteers have found a renewed energy and commitment this month to empowering adults right here in our community to prevent child abuse and neglect.

SCAN’s “regular” work continues, too. Our Alexandria/Arlington CASA Program just completed a new round of Volunteer Training and hosted a swearing-in for 14 new volunteer child advocates this month. Our Parent Education Program kicked off a new ABCs Para Padres (ABCs of Parenting) Class for Spanish-speaking families in April, and is hosting a number of fantastic Parent Workshops this spring covering topics like immigration law and family financial planning.

To top it all off we’re thrilled to report that through our participation in Alexandria’s amazing one-day Spring2Action event yesterday, generous donors helped us raise over $4,000 for SCAN’s programs!

So we may be half-way through Child Abuse Prevention Month, but there are still SO MANY opportunities to take action this April:

1. THIS SATURDAY, APRIL 20th, attend a Stewards of Children Training with SCAN at McLean Baptist Church. We’ll be training participants to recognize, respond and react to signs of child sexual abuse. EVERY adult in our community should have this training. Consider your faith group, local youth sports organization or neighborhood. Who else might be interested in this information? Learn more (and register) here.

2. THROUGH APRIL 30th, donate your change at a local Burke & Herbert Bank location and they will match up to $1,000 for SCAN! Simply let your teller know you want to donate your coins to SCAN, and they’ll take care of the rest. For participating locations, see the official flyer here.

3. ALL MONTH LONG, visit our Pinwheel Partners in your community. Tell them you appreciate that they’re making a commitment to your community’s children and families. Buy a pinwheel from them to support SCAN, and then plant that pinwheel in your front yard, at your workplace or with your faith group.

4. ALL YEAR LONG, spread the word that EVERY CHILD & FAMILY MATTERS by sharing SCAN’s The Little Picture campaign. Check out our resources for community members and organizations to share here.

p.s. And don’t forget – we love to hear about everything you’re doing this month for SCAN! Plant a pinwheel? Send us a pic! Visit a Pinwheel Partner? Message us on Facebook!

What is a Pinwheel Partner?

PinwheelPartner_ClingWe’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response from dozens of local businesses and faith groups who have joined us as Pinwheel Partners this year during National Child Abuse Prevention Month. From salons and toy stores to coffee shops and churches, there are so many places where you might see the official Pinwheel Partner decal this April! But what does being a Pinwheel Partner really mean? For many local businesses, it means they’ll be selling pinwheels for $2 to raise money for SCAN, distributing materials from our The Little Picture: Every Child & Family Matters campaign or hosting special events to support our programs. It’s an exciting program because every Pinwheel Partner provides a way for us to reach new neighborhoods and families we might not otherwise touch.

In addition to our important organizational partners, we consider every individual who buys a pinwheel or supports these partners during April a Pinwheel Partner. Because—when it comes down to it—being a Pinwheel Partner is really about simply saying, “I’m planting this pinwheel because I support the prevention of child abuse and neglect.” We invite businesses, faith groups and individual community members to get involved this April:

  • BHB Flyer.pubPurchase a pinwheel from one of our Pinwheel Partners (see the full list here) or make your own here! Plant it at home, your office, school or faith group. Spread the word that you believe every child and family matters.
  • Register for our April 20th Stewards of Children Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training held at McLean Baptist Church. Learn more here.
  • Use our bulletin inserts, fact sheets and newsletter articles at your place of worship or local school.
  • Tweet about the campaign! @scanofnova #TheLittlePicture #PinwheelsforPrevention
  • Donate your change to SCAN at one of the 10 Burke & Herbert Bank locations with a Change Machine. Find locations here. Burke & Herbert Bank will match up to $1,000 in donations to SCAN!

We believe every child and family matters. Every Pinwheel Partner does, too. So the important question isn’t ‘What is a Pinwheel Partner?’—it’s ‘Are you ready to be one?’

SCANStop: This is a Shared Commitment

This week’s guest blogger is Allies in Prevention Coalition Member Rebecca Childress, a Prevention & Education Specialist with Quantico’s Family Advocacy Program. Rebecca and other guests at our recent awards luncheon received more than 10,000 The Little Picture campaign materials and are distributing them in communities across Northern Virginia during National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

“Family” – this was an 8 year old’s response when he looked at the pull-apart magnet designed for SCAN’s new The Little Picture campaign.

Think it will only appeal to little ones?  A pre-teen checked it out, pieced some words together and said, “Our family is so fun!”

A mom commented how her 4 year old will love putting the words together on their refrigerator.

The Little Picture is about taking a closer look at the unique needs of families in our community.  So often I say “we can’t use a cookie cutter approach”.  Although our program at Quantico serves a military population – there are still diverse needs.  We serve families with transportation needs; parents who are returning warriors; single parent homes; families with language barriers; and many other unique needs.  Some of our families encounter a great deal of stress.

When we are able to put a piece of material in their hand like The Little Picture magnet, they see the words in action.  Words like “love”, “valuable”, and “family” jump out at them and touch their hearts.  Slowly but surely they start to believe their family does matter.  Their children matter.  Their success matters.   They are seen and appreciated for their unique qualities.  They are not just a number or another face.

It’s easy to say “parenting is hard”.  What takes real courage is reaching out for help and education.

One of the hardest things for many of our clients to do is make the initial call or visit to support programs.  They may worry about stigma – that they will be judged.  They may be feeling like they have failed.

When families hear and read the words “because your family matters” that first step is made a little easier, and can play a part in their journey to creating the healthy family they want and deserve!

– Rebecca Childress, Allies in Prevention Coalition Member

p.s. For more information about The Little Picture, or to download fact sheets and bookmarks, visit SCAN at www.scanva.org/tlp For materials in Spanish, visit www.scanva.org/lpd