Community asked to get involved in Child Abuse Awareness

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

In 2013, there were 596 reports of child abuse in Grant County.
Karla Hurley, the family resource director at Mason-Corinth Elementary, wants to focus on solutions for the problem.

“We hear about the numbers, but our focus has got to be on how to fix the problem instead of just being horrified by a problem,” she said.
To bring awareness to the growing problem, a variety of activities have been scheduled for April, which is designated as Child Abuse Awareness Month.
Those activities include:

• “Build A Blue Ribbon Tree – construct a tree out of any material and decorate with blue ribbons or decorate a live tree with blue ribbons. Decorated trees can be registered by emailing a jpg photo to Marianne.Smith@grant.kyschools.us or by calling Smith at 859-824-3040.

• Pin Wheel Garden – Place blue pin wheels, available at the Bank of Kentucky, in your yard.

• “Light Up The Night” – Replace porch or outside lights with blue bulbs during the month of April.

• Wear Blue On April 9 in support of child abuse awareness.

• Schools in the Grant County School District will be participating in daily activities such “Let’s Team Up Against Child Abuse” where students wear clothing from their favorite teams.

 “We want a positive approach to this growing problem and we want to give families more tools to deal with issues that come up,” Hurley said.
Hurley, who has worked as a social worker as well as a child care provider, along with Allison Mortenson, coordinator of the Grant County High School Youth Service Center, are hoping to bring awareness of the problem of child abuse by letting families know about resources that are available to them.

One of those resources include “Darkness to Light – Stewards of Children” training through the Family Nurturing Center. Hurley is a certified facilitator for the class.
 “All families face issues,” Hurley said. “Our goal is to give parents the tools, whether it’s participating in classes or other ways to get through everyday life issues so they can be successful.”

Hurley said it’s not just about one big push in bringing awareness to and ending child abuse but rather small gestures like an older adult inviting a neighbor child over to help them with their homework.

“We want this to be a positive message of what we can do as a community to prevent child abuse because our goal is to have the child abuse numbers decrease and families to be strong and healthy,” Hurley said.
More than 120 Grant County school personnel completed the training, which focused on teaching adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The training is available for church groups, youth sports leagues, civic groups, businesses and organizations. For more information, call 859-538-1641.