Child abuse to be highlighted next month



When we think about child abuse, some of the more horrific cases come to mind. Last year statistics released showed more than 3,000 reported cases of abuse in Genesee County over a five-year period.

One of the worst, locally, was the case of 4-year-old Dominick Calhoun who was killed by his mother’s abusive boyfriend during a savage beating in their Argentine Township home in 2010. Both the boyfriend and his mother were convicted in the case, but no one saw the signs of the abuse which led to his death.

The Weiss Child Advocacy Center along with many local partners will plant Blue Pinwheel Gardens on April 1 to promote the idea that when all children have the great childhoods they deserve, the citizens of Genesee County and Michigan will have the prosperous future they deserve.

The Weiss Center thinks we can achieve this when the public plays an active role in the lives of children and their families and there is no better time to remind people of this than during April’s Child Abuse Prevention Month. To mark the month, the Weiss Center is holding a press conference and Pinwheel Planting on April 1 at 9 a.m. at the Center, 515 East St., Flint, with remarks to be made by Judge Duncan Beagle and Flint Police Chief James Tolbert, both board members of the Weiss Child Advocacy Center.

“At the Weiss Child Advocacy Center, we know that we can make a positive impact on the future by preventing child abuse and neglect today,” said Weiss Child Advocacy Center Interim Executive Director Marcia Franks, in a recent press release. “The best way to increase that impact is by involving the public in our work, and that’s why we’re promoting this campaign.”

Powers Catholic High School, 1505 W. Court St., Flint, will also be planting a pinwheel garden at 11:30 a.m. to mark the kick-off of child abuse prevention month. Student government representatives along with Rotary officers will participate in the planting.

Other agencies and businesses partnering with the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign include Burton Police Department, Grand Blanc City School, Court Street Methodist Church- Genesis Sunday School Class, Dillon Elementary, Dye Elementary School, Flint PAL, Flint Police Department, Genesee County Health Department, Genesee Health System, HealthPlus of Michigan, Job Corps, Priority Children, Ruth Mott Foundation, and United Way of Genesee County.

The event at the Weiss Child Advocacy Center is part of the nationwide Pinwheels for Prevention® campaign that has seen more than 4 million pinwheels distributed nationwide since 2008.

Pinwheels are the new national symbol of child abuse prevention, and just this April, Prevent Child Abuse Michigan changed its logo to include the pinwheel imagery. According to Franks, “Pinwheels are a reminder of the happy, healthy childhood that all children deserve, and represent our vision that great childhoods lead to great futures.”

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