Child Abuse Prevention Coalition representatives make plans for April event
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and to prepare for this year’s awareness campaign, child advocacy groups across the region are joining forces to expand the reach of their message and to bring greater attention to their cause.
Brittney Hale of Prevent Child Abuse Illinois has spearheaded the creation of a new child abuse prevention coalition consisting of organizations from the seven southernmost counties of Illinois. This new coalition exists as a subcommittee of the Healthy Southern Seven Region Coalition.
“At Prevent Child Abuse Illinois, we noticed that there was a gap in the southern region. We didn’t have a child abuse prevention coalition,” said Hale. “So it’s nice to make sure the southern seven counties work together and stand united for child abuse prevention.”
Hale met with members of the new coalition on Thursday, Feb. 7, at Kiki’s Coffeehouse in downtown Anna to help strategize upcoming events for April.
Representatives of several organizations were present, including the Two Rivers Child Advocacy Center, Union County Hospital in Anna, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Southern Illinois, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and WIBH Radio in Anna.
“Every year, each of those counties have their own individual activities, including Union County,” said Hale. “So the coalition is coming together to make sure everyone is aware of those individual activities.”
By coordinating their efforts, members of the coalition hope to maximize their message and increase turnout at planned activities. Agencies can also share resources and help provide volunteers and support for each other’s events.
Activities that have been part of the campaign in the past have included street walks, blue ribbon campaigns, presentations at schools and public readings of the proclamation from the governor designating April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.
At the meeting, advocates brainstormed better ways to implement these types of events, as well as new activities to try this year.
These include a “Light It Up Blue” campaign where city streets and/or public buildings will change to blue lights for the month. Other possible events discussed were agency open houses, benefit concerts and viral marketing campaigns.
For more information on the coalition or on how you can help their cause, call Shawnna Rhine at WIBH at 833-6488.