Pinwheels for Prevention raises awareness of child abuse
« Austintown Neighbors
Neighbors | Alexis Bartolomucci.Keynote speaker Attorney Edward Gilbert spoke to the guests at the Pinwheels for Prevention event on April 3 at Boardman Park.
Neighbors | Alexis Bartolomucci.Pinwheels were placed at Boardman Park to represent the adults who provided a voice and advocated for abused and neglected children in Mahoning County.
Neighbors | Alexis Bartolomucci.Sniper, President of the Bikers Against Child Abuse Erie Shores Chapter, spoke about BACA and presented the "Biker Creed" during the Pinwheels for Prevention event on April 3.
Neighbors | Alexis Bartolomucci.Boardman High School Jazz Ensemble 2 performed on April 3 at Boardman Park for the annual Pinwheels for Prevention event.
Neighbors | Alexis Bartolomucci.Jennifer Kollar presented the Community Spotlight Award and rewarded each person with a plaque during the Pinwheels for Prevention event on April 3 at Boardman Park.
Neighbors | Alexis Bartolomucci.Pastor JoAnn Pangio gave the Benediction at the end of the Pinwheels for Prevention event April 3 at Boardman Park.
By ALEXIS BARTOLOMUCCI
Pinwheels where planted at Boardman Park to represent adults who have spoken out on behalf of the 1,652 children in Mahoning County in 2016 who were abused.
Edward L. Gilbert attended Boardman Park on April 3 with dozens of other people in the community to bring awareness to child abuse. This event was the 13th annual Pinwheels for Prevention and was organized by Andrea Mistovich of the Child Advocacy Center and Jennifer Kollar of Mahoning County Children Services.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Gilbert, lawyer and author, came to the event as the keynote speaker to shine light on the problem of abuse. Gilbert spoke about his life growing up in foster care and living in an abusive household.
“Last year, I helped sponsor a Senate bill that allows foster care kids to stay in foster care and not age out until age 21,” said Gilbert.
Mistovich and Kollar normally get speakers such as judges, officials and others who are able to talk about the subject of child abuse.
“We really wanted someone this year who could speak specifically about child welfare system,” said Jennifer Kollar.
The first year there were around 50 people in attendance and this year there were more than 100. Kollar and Mistovich hope to continue to grow the event allowing people to come together and see the impact of what they can do when they help a child.
“It’s very exciting. Each year it has grown so I think the word is getting out so we are getting more of the prevention message out to people,” said Mistovich. “The more people we can get the message to the better.”
Along with Gilbert, there was a speech by Sniper, President of the Bikers Against Child Abuse, Erie Shores Ohio Chapter. Sniper spoke about BACA and gave the “Biker Creed” presentation. After Sniper’s presentation, members of the community were awarded with the Community Spotlight Award for working together to build a fence for a family and the children they foster.
Pastor JoAnn Pangio, a Mahoning County Children’s Services board member, gave a benediction at the end of the program. The guests were then given lunch and the opportunity to speak with Gilbert, Sniper and other community members who attended the event.
Kollar and Mistovich hope those who attended the event will help spread the word about Pinwheels for Prevention and get more people involved to step in against child abuse and neglect.