Sparkling blue oases of hope are scattered throughout Downtown Danbury to raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month. Families Network of Western CT sponsored the event, along with an up and coming luncheon at the Matrix Conference and Banquet Center on April 28 to further delve into the successes and challenges of ending child abuse and maltreatment.

pinwheelsAccording to Susan Giglio, Executive Director of Families Network, Pinwheels for Prevention is a national campaign created by Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA) as seen on Good Morning America.

The goal of the campaign is to engage people in taking ordinary actions, “extraordinary actions” as PCA calls it, to help reduce stress for families and increase resilience for kids. Such actions include things like calling or writing legislators or community leaders to support parenting programs or offering to babysit for a stressed parent or neighbor.

“The pinwheel represents the carefree, healthy and safe childhood that every child deserves.  There’s so many ways for individuals to get involved,” said Giglio.

“If we work together to make a small difference, not just throughout the month of April but everyday, we can create the kind of world where all children have the great childhood that they deserve and abuse and neglect never happens,” she added.

pinwheels2According to a press release from Families Network, the primary prevention focus is to educate and engage families before a crisis occurs. Through a number of multi-faceted and collaborative strategies, the network ensures safe, healthy environments for children. Families Network works to create positive, lasting changes through public awareness activities, direct services to families, volunteer training, and commitment to partnering with community and business leaders, social service agencies, and health and education providers.

“Parenting is difficult.  Programs like our home visiting and parent education groups, mutual self-help support, community health & mental health services, support services for new mothers, sexual abuse prevention programs, substance abuse treatment, and expanding affordable and safe childcare all play a role in the prevention of child abuse and neglect,” said Giglio.

20160419_175505To help raise awareness for their work to prevent child abuse, Families Network is holding its annual Dr. Robert C. and Nancy Joy Luncheon on April 28th from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Matrix Conference and Banquet Center. As part of “Pinwheels for Prevention” and Volunteer Appreciation Month, Families Network will be recognizing its exceptional volunteers.

Tickets to the banquet are $35. Those who don’t have the money can request to be sponsored so they can attend the event for free. For a ticket, sponsorship or in-line donation contact Families Network at (203) 791-8773 or visit the website www.fnwc.org.

According to Giglio, Western sponsored a Pinwheel Garden a few years ago through a sorority focusing on child abuse prevention. WXCI has also shown support through Public Services Announcements and radio interview spots.

“We’re looking for any way at all to continue to partner with the student body at WestConn,” said Giglio, “We have internship opportunities, and we’re always looking for volunteers for special projects.”