By REBECCA HAZEN
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and members of Dade First Family Connection, the Children’s Advocacy Center, other local agencies and community members are bringing awareness with multiple on-going displays and events.
The Blue Ribbon Glow Run will be Friday, April 22, at Dade County High School’s football field track. The gates open at 8 p.m. and the race starts at 9 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend this free event.
“We haven’t been able to have the event for the last two Aprils because of the pandemic. We are hoping that this year we can safely and effectively pull it off,” Martha Baker, Coordinator of Dade First-Family Connection, said.
Those who registered will receive a t-shirt, but Baker noted that there will be some leftover shirts available before the start of the event.
Local agencies and non-profit organizations will have booths set up by the track, and they will all hand out glow bracelets and sticks.
“We will have a Bikers Against Child Abuse chapter out of Calhoun at the Glow Run. They help kids in trauma situations. If a child has to go to court to testify, they give them a biker buddy, so that they feel safe. I am super excited about them being here. They are a lot of fun. They bring their bikes and let the kids check them out,” Baker said.
The Glow Run is not a timed race, it is meant to be fun, and to bring awareness. Attendees can walk or run at their own pace.
Dade County Middle School students also drew pictures to represent Child Abuse Awareness Month. The drawings will be on display at the Dade County Administrative Building for the rest of the month.
The top five drawings, picked by Dade County Public Library staff, are on display at the library. Patrons are invited to vote for their favorite drawing.
“This is the second year that we have done this with Brandi Gann, the art teacher at Dade Middle School. She gave them the assignment. She wanted them to think outside the box about how art can convey other meanings. We are super thankful for that partnership and to be able to talk about it with the kids,” Baker said.
Baker continued, “Last year’s winner was put on a shirt for the Children’s Advocacy Center. We didn’t expect that, it was an unexpected bonus. We will recognize this year’s winner at the Board of Education meeting and give them some swag.”
Community members also put blue pinwheels out on the Courthouse Square lawn. There are 279 pinwheels to honor the number of children served by the Children’s Advocacy Center – Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit in 2021.
Baker noted that there are many ways citizens can help and to bring awareness.
There are always training opportunities, which are shared on the Dade First-Family Connection Facebook page. The Georgia Center for Child Advocacy does free virtual trainings every day throughout the month of April.
The Children’s Advocacy Center, located in Fort Oglethorpe, also has a satellite office in Trenton that is open every Thursday. Volunteers are always welcome. For more information, call (706) 866-8811.
Community members are also welcome to attend the Dade First-Family Connection meetings, held on the fourth Thursday of every month, at 12:30 p.m. at Trenton United Methodist Church.
“Any way that we can shine the light on child abuse is important,” Baker said.