Mayor Rahm Emanuel and 41st Ward Alderman Mary O'Connor to join Prevent Child Abuse America and its Illinois Chapter in turning Gateway Park at Navy Pier into Big Pinwheel Garden
Chicago event highlights month-long series of activities nationwide calling people to action in support of healthy starts for kids throughout April’s Child Abuse Prevention Month
APRIL 16, 2014 (Chicago, IL) – Mayor Rahm Emanuel and 41st Ward Alderman Mary O’Connor will join Prevent Child Abuse America and Prevent Child Abuse Illinois in turning Chicago’s Gateway Park at Navy Pier into a "Big Pinwheel Garden" on Wednesday, April 16, at 9:30 a.m. CT with hundreds of supporters creating a display of thousands of pinwheels – the national symbol for child abuse prevention. The event calls for people to take action in support of healthy child development as the nation marks April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. This event follows the April 8th Big Pinwheel Garden in Times Square and is one of many such events taking place nationwide throughout April as part of the Pinwheels for Prevention® campaign, through which Prevent Child Abuse America has distributed more than 3.5 million pinwheels nationwide since April 2008.
“We have a responsibility as a city to ensure that every single child in Chicago is able to grow up in a healthy, safe environment,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Chicago remains committed to preventing child abuse and neglect by increasing support services for families, including our efforts to expand domestic violence shelters for the first time in more than a decade. I am proud to stand with Prevent Child Abuse America and Prevent Child Abuse Illinois to observe Child Abuse Prevention Month and raise awareness for this important issue.”
Mayor Emanuel and Alderman O’Connor will be joined in speaking at the event by Prevent Child Abuse America President and CEO Jim Hmurovich and Prevent Child Abuse Illinois Executive Director Roy Harley.
“We’re here to reinforce the notion that all children deserve stable and happy childhoods, and that we all play a role in making this happen,” said Alderman O’Connor. “As a member of the City Council, one role I play is helping to make sure, along with Mayor and fellow City Council members, that policies and programs are in place that help create environments in which children can thrive. Together we can protect our children from bullying or sexual abuse, and together we can make sure that our children are nurtured and healthy.”
To support the campaign, the public can:
• Help a neighbor in need by offering to baby-sit or give parents a break
• Volunteer for your Prevent Child Abuse America state chapter or another child- or family- serving agency
• Donate at www.pinwheelsforprevention.org/give
• Donate $10 by texting PINWHEEL to 20222* (powered by www.givebycell.com)
“According to UNICEF, the U.S. ranks poorly in children’s issues, including being 32nd out of 34 industrialized nations in terms of child poverty and 26th out of 29 in terms of overall well-being. Realities like these should serve as a wake-up call and that we can and must do better,” said Jim Hmurovich, President & CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. “Pinwheel gardens are calls-to-action, some as simple as to provide the personal attention to families and children that each of us, from time to time, have needed ourselves. The pinwheels remind us that our nation does not have a national strategy to promote the healthy development of each child, regardless of their circumstances. This must change and our social norms as a nation must change from where we say we value children to all citizens playing an active role in children’s lives.”
“In Illinois,“ Roy Harley, Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse Illinois pointed out, “our commitment along with all of our public and private sector partners, is that all children grow up in safe, healthy, nurturing environments free of abuse or endangerment of any kind. We know how to do this with effective family programs, early education, and community supports and we have to do this. We have to invest in children! A bright future for all of them is a bright future for all of us. Pinwheels say that every child matters and everyone needs to be involved.”
Prevent Child Abuse America state chapters’ pinwheels-focused events throughout April including a pinwheel garden event hosted by Nebraska’s First Lady in downtown Lincoln, NE; a “pinwheel garden” of 1,000 pinwheels in Indianapolis (each representing 87 healthy births for the 87,000 children born annually in Indiana); and pinwheel rallies at state capitals around the country.