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.

 

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Prevent Child Abuse America and Chartwells K12 Team to Deliver Healthy Meals and Healthy Social Interactions in the Lunchroom

 

Prevent Child Abuse America and Chartwells K12 Team to Deliver Healthy Meals and Healthy Social Interactions in the Lunchroom

Anti-bullying initiative focuses on the prevention of peer abuse and the promotion of positive social development

CHICAGO, IL, December 11 – Prevent Child Abuse America and Chartwells K12 are teaming up to prevent bullying where it often takes place: the lunchroom. The partnership will deliver healthy messages to students alongside the healthy food choices Chartwells serves in 3,800 schools nationwide as part of a peer abuse (commonly known as bullying) prevention campaign. The campaign supports efforts to positively change youth behaviors in light of the more than 70 percent of students who report witnessing bullying on a monthly basis.*

As part of the partnership, Chartwells team members will receive targeted training to help them recognize bullying behavior and appropriately respond. Training for leadership will also be provided regarding the impact of peer abuse in schools.

"We applaud Chartwells' interest in extending beyond nurturing appetites to also encourage change in youth behaviors, and by teaming up with Chartwells, we have the opportunity to do both," said James Hmurovich, President & CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. "By including abuse prevention messages with these meals, in addition to working with the food service professionals, we have a real chance to make a positive impact. We're delighted about the possibilities that this partnership with Chartwells presents."

As part of the Chartwells' "eat. learn. live." initiative, the school dining service believes that by providing students with fresh and nutritious meals, it can improve the well-being of the students it serves, build sharp minds and strong bodies, and enrich the lives of students and communities in which they live. Because of its work within school cafés, Chartwells has a unique opportunity to make a difference.

"Our number one priority is to nourish the students, to help them make smart choices about food, and also about living healthy, happy lives," said Rhonna Cass, President of Chartwells. "Our partnership with Prevent Child Abuse America is an important extension of our 'eat. learn. live.' promise and will help Chartwells further its goal to improve the well-being of our students and communities."

Research suggests that training Chartwells staff to create a positive cafeteria climate and support students' social emotional learning skills is associated with increases in pro-social behavior and academic achievement and decreases in student conduct problems and distress. In addition to working together on messaging and training, Chartwells will participate in Prevent Child Abuse America's signature spring campaign, Pinwheels for Prevention®, a national initiative customized for local communities that uses symbolic pinwheels to promote healthy, full lives for children.

"Studies show nearly one in three students in grades 6 through 12 experience bullying," said Hmurovich**. "Chartwells is a natural fit to help us spread the message that all people deserve respect, and we believe it is essential to equip food service professionals with education and training to prevent peer abuse before it ever begins."

 

Prevent Child Abuse America and Home Visiting Coalition push for budget extension of MIECHV

 

Prevent Child Abuse America and Home Visiting Coalition push for budget extension of MIECHV and great beginnings for all children

Coalition to send sign-on letter bearing more than 700 signatures to Congress in support of the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program

CHICAGO, IL, December 4 – Prevent Child Abuse America and its partners in the Home Visiting Coalition are writing members of congress today to urge their support in extending funding for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. MIECHV supports evidence-based home visiting programs, such as Healthy Families America, that have been shown to improve the early health and development of children and to reduce incidences of child maltreatment.

The coalition, which includes members of state legislatures, faith-based groups, and organizations like the Pew Charitable Trusts and the American Psychological Association, is sending a letter bearing over 700 signatures (including signatures from 29 members of the Prevent Child Abuse America chapter network as well as over 130 HFA sites from 33 states and 4 territories) to each member of the House and the Senate, urging them to reauthorize the MIECHV program at its current annual funding level of $400 million. MIECHV has enjoyed bipartisan support since it was created in 2009, and Congress previously voted in support of continued funding for the program.

"Home visiting programs are pro-family, voluntary, and most importantly, they work," said Jim Hmurovich, President & CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. "Democrats and Republicans worked together recently to pass funding for this program, so today we are simply asking them to work together and fund this successful program again."

Prevent Child Abuse America and the leaders of the other national, state, and tribal leaders are pushing for the MIECHV re-authorization to take place either in the upcoming lame duck session or as one of the first acts of the next Congress. Funding for MIECHV is currently set to expire in March 2015, and any failure to reauthorize the program before then would be devastating to the home visiting programs currently serving children and families in all 50 states, 6 territories, and numerous tribal territories.

"Funding from this program is helping hundreds of thousands of families right now, all across the country, helping to deliver children the great childhoods they deserve and give families the chance to be self-sufficient," said Hmurovich. "We know, and the research shows, that MIECHV is good for the country and will save us money down the line. We hope that all of the members of Congress will take the common-sense step to vote to continue funding for this important program."

You can view the letter at this link.

 

Healthier Futures, a National Dialogue, and Adrian Peterson

 

Healthier Futures, a National Dialogue, and Adrian Peterson


CHICAGO, IL, November 18 – At Prevent Child Abuse America we work to create healthier futures for all children. We also seek to create environments that lead to great childhoods. And we strive to create an equal playing field for all children and all families.

We traffic in hope and solutions, thriving children, and a healthier world for all of us to live in. What we do not do is traffic in rage. It doesn't serve the nation's children, their families, or the communities they live in.

But we know there will be rage today directed at the National Football League for suspending Adrian Peterson for the rest of the 2014 season. People will question whether his rights as a parent, and worker, are being undermined. And while we agree that this is an important dialogue, we do not believe it is the most important dialogue we as a nation can be having right now.

While we take no stand on Peterson's case, we appreciate all of the dialogue that has occurred coast-to-coast since his very public case raised the issue of appropriate discipline. What we've learned since the news about Peterson first broke is that despite being a controversial topic, people are very willing to discuss their views on corporal punishment.

While we recognize that all parents have the right to choose the manner in which they discipline their children, we also know that there are more effective methods than corporal punishment, and so what we also hope is that we can have this dialogue with you as well.

When having this dialogue, it's important to stick to what we know. Thanks to research from Dr. Martin Hoffman, we know that alternative forms of discipline like time-outs or loss of privileges are proven to be as, if not more, effective than corporal punishment. Thanks to research from Dr. Elizabeth Gershoff, we also know that not only does corporal punishment fail to make children compliant in the short-term, it also fails to make a long-term difference in the child's behavior, and in fact can lead to life-long, negative health outcomes. At the same time, we recognize that every parent has the right to decide for themselves how to discipline their children, so we encourage everyone to look up this research for themselves, and if you have questions, let us know, because we'll be happy to answer them.

"We hope that all those who've been willing to have this discussion, whether with friends, spouses, family or even strangers," said James M. Hmurovich, President & CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America, "will be equally willing to learn more about alternative discipline methods that are proven to be more effective than corporal punishment and are more effective at promoting the kind of moral and obedience education that discipline is meant to teach."

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