Proclamation calls on all residents

Published 8:44 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2013


PROCLAMATION PROMISE: Lisa Woolard, executive director of Beaufort/Hyde Partnership for Children waves pinwheels over Mayor Archie Jennings during a proclamation signing Monday evening. The document calls on all residents of the city to be vigilant in the prevention of child abuse.


The pinwheels were twirling in Washington City Council chambers Monday, as Mayor Archie Jennings signed a proclamation for National Child Abuse Awareness month.

The proclamation calls “upon citizens, community agencies, faith groups, medical facilities and businesses to increase their participation in (the city’s) efforts to prevent child maltreatment and strengthen the community in which we live.”

Agencies from across the county were in attendance for the brief ceremony, at the behest of Sara Cutler, an LPN at Washington Pediatrics.

“Everybody in the county needs to work together to bring awareness to (child abuse),” Cutler said.

Representatives from agencies like Beaufort/Hyde Partnership for Children, Beaufort County Health
Department and Community Care Plan of Eastern North Carolina, among others, looked on with “Pinwheels of Prevention” in hand, as Jennings signed the decree.

Kelli Russell, human services planner III with the Beaufort County, said she sees a critical need to draw attention to child abuse because its effects on children last a lifetime.

“These futures are dependent upon the preventative measures we take today,” she said in a written statement.

For Cutler, the issue hits a little closer to home.

”I know first hand how something can happen and you not have anywhere to go for help. I am not ashamed one bit to say now that I was sexually abused. Somehow, in some way, shape or form, we need to let kids know that help is here,” Cutler said. “I want kids in the community to know that there are people to talk to.”

This week is the nationally recognized Week of the Young Child and to celebrate child abuse awareness, pinwheel gardens are cropping up all over Beaufort County. Inside the offices of Washington Pediatrics, mini-gardens of blue and silver pinwheels decorate the clinic’s potted plants and serve as a reminder that child abuse exists — and in many forms.

“It’s more than just a slap or a hit,” said Cutler. “Emotional abuse can be just as bad. Neglect, just as bad. There’s so much more to it.”