It’s time to tie a blue ribbon around the ol’ oak tree. Or your car antenna. Or wear on your jacket.
Columbia Gorge Children’s Advocacy Center (CGCAC) is raising awareness this April in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month in a variety of ways: With blue ribbons, training seminars, and the group’s annual fundraising event.
On April 4, Boy Scout Troop 282 helped tie blue ribbons — the nationwide symbol of child abuse prevention — around trees lining Oak Street, as well as delivered baskets of ribbons to businesses located there. Ribbons were also distributed to Safeway, Rosauers, Providence and Columbia Gorge Family Medicine, Columbia River Bank, Key Bank, US Bank, CenterPoint Bank, and the Hood River County Courthouse.
Debi Baskins, CGCAC Director, encourages all community members to pick up a ribbon and wear it this month to show support for victims of child abuse, and as a reminder that abuse occurs in every community.
“We want to bring an awareness that this is happening, that people need to watch for it, to pay attention to protect our children,” she said.
Spring for kids tonight
CGCAC is hosting its fourth annual Spring for Kids fundraiser April 18 at Springhouse Cellar Winery, 13 Railroad Street, from 6-10 p.m. The event will include live music by The Groove Project, wood fire pizza by Focolare Pizza, and silent and live auctions — several gift baskets have been donated by local businesses, as have four Disneyland Park Hopper passes, a weekend rental at a beach house, and gift certificates to museums, the zoo, restaurants and movie theaters. Tickets are $20 at the door or by calling 541-436-2960.
CGCAC is taking the Blue Ribbon Campaign a step further this year by offering Darkness to Light training on what will most likely be a monthly basis. Funded by a grant from the Ford Family Foundation, the training program — called Stewards of Children Sex Abuse Prevention Program — will teach adults what to look for and how to prevent abuse.
“National statistics show that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys experience sexual abuse before the age of 18,” said Baskins. “I know that shocks a lot of people, but if we talk to our friends, family and neighbors, we will find that, unfortunately, that statistics are true in too many circumstances.”
The previous focus on “stranger danger” doesn’t effectively stop abusive situations, she added, because 90 percent of abuse comes from someone the child already knows.
Darkness to Light was created in 2000 with the mission of “reducing the incidence of child sexual abuse through public awareness and education,” Baskins said. “We believe that learning the facts about childhood sexual abuse helps prevent it.”
The first class was held April 15 at 6 p.m. at the Hood River Library. While the training is free, registration is required as space is limited; call Michelle at 541-806-0901. Those who cannot attend this training will have other opportunities in the next 36 months, said Baskins, and are invited to check the Darkness to Light website (www.d2l.org) for additional dates and times. The program is not appropriate for children.
Funds raised support the center’s work in Hood River, Sherman and Wheeler counties, and is sponsored by A Kidz Dental Zone, Cardinal Glass, Columbia Gorge Family Medicine, DelCarpine Automotive, Providence, and the Johnson/Grizzle family.