More than 900 pinwheels were placed at Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley’s Beeghly Campus here to mark April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Each pinwheel represents a child who received abuse and neglect services through the Mahoning County Children Services Board in 2012.
According to the National Children’s Alliance, nearly five children die every day in America from abuse and neglect. In 2011, children’s advocacy centers around the country provided advocacy and support to more than 279,000 child victims of abuse.
As part of the eighth annual Pinwheels for Prevention event with Mahoning County Children Services and Trumbull County Children Services, the pinwheels will be on display throughout April to serve as a reminder that everyone plays a role in preventing child abuse and neglect.
Pinwheels for Prevention is a campaign designed to increase public awareness about child abuse and neglect in communities across Ohio, said Andrea Mistovich, coordinator of the Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley’s Child Advocacy Center.
“People can help prevent child abuse and neglect by being a mentor to a child, helping a child or parent in need, volunteering for a child organization, and reporting child abuse and neglect when they see it,” Mistovich said.
Child abuse comes in several forms: physical, such as hitting, slapping or kicking; sexual, such as fondling or exposing the child to sexual situations; and emotional, such as name-calling, rejecting and threatening.
Neglect is when a parent or guardian does not meet the child’s basic needs, such as providing clothing and food, and failing to send them to school or take them to the doctor when necessary, she said.
In addition to Wednesday’s event at Akron Children’s, a Pinwheels event will be hosted by Trumbull County Children Services next Thursday from 10 to 10:30 a.m. at its 2282 Reeves Road location in Warren. Robert Faulkner, community advocate, and public officials and other child advocates will speak.
Also, Mahoning County Children Services Board will have a pinwheels event at noon April 9 on the fourth floor of its 222 W. Federal St. location in Youngstown.
The keynote speaker is Cynthia King, a licensed social worker who specializes in the assessment and treatment of juvenile and adult sex offenders, sexually reactive youth and victims of sexual abuse and their families. Also, the Boardman High School Jazz Band will perform.
The Akron Children’s Hospital Child Advocacy Center provided nearly 400 medical and forensic evaluations for children and teens who may have been physically or sexually abused in 2012.
The center at 6505 Market St., Bldg. C, Suite 3100, Boardman, serves five counties — Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull in Ohio, and Mercer in Pennsylvania. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and can be reached at 330-746-9150.