Pinwheel garden thrives on waterfrontPublished 8:04pm Saturday, April 13, 2013
“It’s a perfect day for a pinwheel.”
So said Washington Mayor Archie Jennings, on the waterfront Thursday for Pinwheels for Prevention ceremony, part of a nationwide campaign to bring awareness to the issue of child abuse, and an end to its existence.
Members of the community, whose lives are tied to child advocacy in various capacities, turned out for the brief ceremony: Beaufort/Hyde Partnership for Children, the District Attorney’s office, Cornerstone Family Worship Center, Beaufort County Schools and Beaufort County Department of Social Services, among others.
“I thank all of you for the efforts you make to prevent child abuse,” said District Attorney Seth Edwards.
Beaufort County Schools Superintendent Don Phipps was explicit regarding the vigilance needed to prevent child abuse.
“We must be the voice for the child who has no say in what is happening to them,” Phipps said.
Phipps cited statistics: in 2011, North Carolina authorities made 132,679 referrals to child protective services. In Beaufort County alone, there were 808 referred cases, 585 investigations and 97 substantiated cases of child abuse.
“The numbers are a lot higher than that,” Phipps said, bringing attention to the fact that many instances of child abuse go unreported. “Any number greater than zero is too many.”
In celebration of what Jennings called “a happy occasion…a hopeful occasion” local children were asked to plant pinwheels under a Pinwheels for Prevention sign on Washington’s waterfront. The garden of spinning pinwheels serves as a reminder of childlike notions, and signifies the chance for the healthy, happy and full lives that all children deserve, according to Prevent Child Abuse America’s website.
Thursday’s ceremony marks the third year Beaufort County residents have planted a pinwheel garden for the cause, according to Lisa Woolard, executive director of Beaufort/Hyde Partnership for Children. The agency organized a garden at the Hyde Children’s Health Fair last week and others are planned in locations throughout Beaufort County, Woolard said.
Pinwheels for Prevention kicks off next week’s Week of the Young Child, an annual celebration to raise awareness of the needs of young children and their families, which culminates in a children’s parade and festival in downtown Washington.