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.

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