Prevention: A Year-Round Effort

Monday, May 20, 2013

April was a busy month for Prevention Councils: pinwheel garden planting, conferences and other community events fill our already tight schedules. Child Abuse Prevention Month has become a time of hope—a time to remind people that everyone can do something to keep kids safe.

It’s easy to feel tired and perhaps a little let down once it’s over. “All this effort,” we wonder, “is it really making any difference?”

The answer is a resounding “YES!” Every time we bring up the issue of prevention, there is an opportunity to make a difference in our communities. Each time we invite our neighbors, friends and family to get involved, we change the world. Anytime we extend ourselves to support parents, kids and families, we touch the future.

This is why our communities need to hear this message all year. April is a terrific opportunity, since most people know about Child Abuse Prevention Month. Sadly, though, our messages can be forgotten in the busy nature of everyday life. What do we have to say to our communities in May or September or February?

Advertising experts know that a message that is repeated is more likely to be remembered. While a Prevention Council may not have the big advertising budget of a large corporation, there are still many opportunities for sharing the message of prevention all year long. Some efforts don’t take a huge investment of time, but they keep the message in front of the public. Here are just a few examples:

• Write 12 articles on parenting issues and ask your local newspaper to publish one each month.

• Ask your local library to feature a selection of books on parenting and families. Place the books near the children’s area so parents and caregivers can read along with their children. Ask if you can provide a selection of brochures nearby.

• October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Consider partnering with your local domestic violence shelter or group to help people understand the connection between family violence and child abuse.

• Some Councils provide backpacks for children entering kindergarten. The backpacks may have school supplies and other goodies, along with information for parents.

• If your community has local restaurants that sell advertising space on their placemats, ask if they would donate space for an ad about prevention. People actually do read those ads while waiting for their chicken friend steak!

Want to find out if there is a Prevention Council in your county? Go to If your county doesn’t have a Prevention Council yet, call Mary Armstrong-Smith to find out how easy it is to get started! Mary’s number is 317-775-6424.

Prevention Benefits EVERYONE!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Child abuse prevention is about more than the prevention of the negative. It’s about the promotion of the positive. Merely keeping children from harm isn’t enough.

Let’s say you have a garden, full of flowers and vegetables. Do you work to simply keep your plants from harm by putting up barriers to keep out deer, rabbits and other pests? Or would you rather have a flourishing garden, full of strong, healthy plants? Achieving the second result calls for a different kind of work, one involving nurturing and strengthening the plants as opposed to just protecting them. Yes, it takes more work. But the result of that work becomes evident in the harvest.

As a nation, we can work together to strengthen our communities, making them places where all children have an equal opportunity for healthy growth and development. When we do this, we all benefit. Healthy, productive children grow into healthy, productive adults. They become workers and taxpayers, adding to our country’s economic strength.

And many become parents, raising the next generation. It is our responsibility as adults to steward the next generation. The future of our society depends on the opportunities we provide for kids today. If you’re not already involved in prevention, consider getting involved. Check to see if your county has a chartered Prevention Council. You can find out here. If your county doesn’t have a Council, contact us to find out how to start one. Call us at 317-775-6439!