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Charlottesville organizations coming together to fight child abuse

Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 3:13 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Organizations are spreading awareness to prevent child abuse in Charlottesville.

The Foothills Child Advocacy Center, ReadyKids, the Renaissance School, and others came together Wednesday, April 13, hoping to protect at-risk kids.

“I’m happy to know that something I like doing, which is drawing, is helping people,” Renaissance School student Olivia Trager said.

Students are hoping their small works of art have a big influence.

“I drew a big rainbow and a green landscape and kids holding hands and wrote awareness and unity,” Olivia said.

“Child abuse is prevalent in our community. We had 255 children come through Foothills last year who experienced child abuse,” Foothills Child Advocacy Center Director Cynthia Hurst said.

Hurst says the offender is usually someone the child knows.

“It’s hard to believe it’s your brother, the teacher or someone you know, but that’s usually who it is. Try to put aside your disbelief and put the children first,” Hurst said.

From handing out pinwheels to putting up signs, this work downtown is being noticed.

“There are so many things people can do to keep kids safe,” ReadyKids Director of Counseling Shannon Noe said. “The pinwheel is the symbol for a childhood that is safe, free from abuse, full of joy, and the image of kids running around and playing and not worrying about their safety and their family.”

Hurst says preventing child abuse is a team effort that takes a village.

“Monitor your child’s online activity. If you become angry with your child, take a deep breath and count to 10. That can mitigate a lot of issues and teach your child that their body is their own,” Hurst said.

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