Campaign targets child abuse, neglect

PARKERSBURG – April is Child Abuse Prevention Month in West Virginia and local agencies are participating in activities organized through Prevent Child Abuse West Virginia.

The agency’s efforts on prevention, community activities and public policies encouraging healthy child development and ensuring child abuse and neglect never occur are part of the national Pinwheels for Prevention campaign that began in April 2008. Thousands of pinwheels will be on display across the state.

“The most fundamental obligation of our state is to support the healthy development of each and every child,” Jim McKay, state coordinator of Prevent Child Abuse, said.

Scientific research and findings are proving children, from infants to adolescents, rich or poor, all races and ethnicities, need nurturing relationships and stable environments to grow strong, healthy brains that prepare them for future success as teens and adults, he said.

The Children’s Home Society of West Virginia and Wood County Partners in Prevention will participate in activities during Child Abuse Prevention Month.

“We are partnering with local churches, schools, organizations and businesses, to display pinwheel gardens throughout the community,” Lisa Weaver, a program specialist at the society and a Partners in Prevention team leader, said. “We are also conducting a pinwheel coloring contest for students at McKinley Elementary School.”

The agency, the West Virginia University School of Nursing and the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department will hold a free community health fair from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Mid-Town Family Resource Center at 1717 St. Marys Ave.

Representatives will provide blood pressure checks, weight and body mass measurements, screenings for vision, lungs, scoliosis, diabetes and more. Resource information about available free and low-cost healthcare options in the community will also be provided.

Another event is “Walking Out Hunger in West Virginia” on Wednesday and Thursday.

A potluck dinner will be 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church to welcome Tom Knopp to Wood County. Knopp is walking 25 miles in each county to raise donations for food pantries.

At 8 a.m. Thursday, he will be at the Wood County Courthouse to discuss the endeavor and start walking 25 miles throughout Wood County to raise money for the Wood County Emergency Food Co-Op and Mountaineer Food Bank to support area food pantries, including the pantry at the Children’s Home Society Family Resource Center.

At noon April 26, a Children’s Memorial Flag Day ceremony will be held near the courthouse and municipal building. A public reception will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the city building where agencies will discuss services provided to families.