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April is Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness and Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month in Texas and across the nation as well. It is a time to focus on ways not only to protect children from abusive environments, but most importantly, to prevent abuse from ever occurring. Unfortunately, child abuse and neglect exists in our state at an alarming rate, and it will not go away by simply ignoring it. It's up to each of us to arm ourselves with the facts, to learn the warning signs, and to watch out for our most innocent Texans. Each of us can prevent the children around us from becoming another heartbreaking statistic.

Story of the Blue Ribbon...

The Blue Ribbon Child Abuse Prevention Campaign had its early beginnings following the death of a very young child. In the spring of 1989, Bonnie Finney, a Virginia Grandmother, received the devastating news that her beloved grandson had been killed due to injuries inflicted by his own parents. In an expression of grief and outrage, Bonnie did something that ever since has given us a symbol to rally for the cause of child abuse prevention. Bonnie tied a blue ribbon to the antenna of her van as a way to remember "the bruised and battered body" of her grandson. Her desire was to alert the community to the tragedy of child abuse.  In Bonnie's own words, for "The ribbon serves as a constant reminder to fight for protection of our children."

During the month of April, please wear a blue ribbon. Put one on your car. Give one to your friends and tell them what it means. You may save a child's life. Soon after Bonnie displayed her blue ribbon, her simple idea was picked up by grassroots organizations across the country. The act of one person thousands of miles away has brought us to where we are today. Just imagine what would happen if each person in San Antonio helped to spread the word to just one person during the month of April. The awareness that would follow just might be enough to move us toward the day when our homes and communities are completely safe for children. During April, CASA asks that you wear a blue ribbon to show your support of child abuse prevention.

Below is a list of events you may be interested in attending:

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3RD
CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES PRESENTS “PROTECTED AND CONNECTED” FAMILY FESTIVAL
Child Protective Services in San Antonio is proud to be hosting the 6th Annual Protected & Connected Family Festival, a free event, that promotes awareness about child abuse in San Antonio and how everyone can work together to help prevent child abuse and neglect in their neighborhoods.  Families will be able to enjoy food, music and live performances as well as access information on resources in the community. 3:30 – 6:00pm at 3635 SE Military Drive, San Antonio, TX 78223, Pickwell parking lot.

MONDAY, APRIL 8TH
VICTIM SERVICES BALLOON RELEASE
Bexar County and City Officials will be joined by singer, Patsy Torres, to announce the start of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Bexar County.  The event will begin at 10:00am in the Main Plaza park in front of San Fernando Cathedral and will culminate in the release of over 300 balloons.

VICTIM CALL-IN HOTLINE
Victims may call WOAI-TV from 12:00 – 7:00pm. for information concerning the criminal justice system and referrals for victim services.  Watch WOAI for the call-in phone number.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10TH
GO BLUE DAY/MONTH
Wear the color blue or a blue ribbon to make a statement about the awareness and prevention of child abuse.

VICTIMS’ TRIBUTE
The public, crime victims and victim service organizations are invited to attend a special service dedicated to victims of crime which will include a memorial wreath blessing and laying ceremony, lighting of our victims’ flame, and dove release.  CASA will participate.  The event will be held at the San Antonio Police Academy at 12200 SE Loop 410 from 10:00 – 11:30am.   Free parking is available.

WEDESDAY, APRIL 10th
All CASA Advocates, staff, judges and CASA board members are invited to our annual CASA Volunteer Appreciation event honoring our amazing volunteers.  Please join us at the Bright Shawl, 819 Augusta Street, from 11:30am – 1:00pm for a lunch time of celebration.

THURSDAY, APRIL 11TH
OPEN HOUSE
The Bexar County Family Justice Center has moved!  There will be an Open House at their new office location at the Packard Building, 1123 N. Main Ave., Ste. 100, from 9:00am – 5:00pm.  All are invited to tour the Center.  The Bexar County Family Justice Center provides services and resources necessary to assist victims of domestic violence and their families in one, centralized location.

TAKE BACK THE NIGHT
The Rape Crisis Center will join the National Crime Victim’s Rights Week with our annual Take Back the Night rally. This year, it will be held in HemisFair Arch Plaza on April 11th from 6:00-8:00pm.  Our art project, speakers, and powerful candle light ceremony create a night to remember. This community rally will bring together all ages and demographics in a family-friendly event. Community and college anti-violence groups are welcome to set up a booth with more information about local efforts to make San Antonio a safer place.

FRIDAY, APRIL 12TH
CHILDREN’S PICNIC
A picnic honoring victims of crime, particularly children, will be held from 11:30am – 2:00pm in Milam Park.  Everyone is invited to join the festivities, which will include games, clowns, face painting, pony rides, petting zoo, a visit from the Spurs Coyote, McGruff the Crime Fighting Dog, BACA, and others.  Free lunch will be served.

TUESDAY, APRIL 16TH
HUMAN TRAFFICKING CONFERENCE
STOP THE GROWING PAINS:  Understanding the Process of Child Abuse & Human Trafficking
The San Antonio Police Department Special Victims Unit and Victims Advocacy Section hosts this one-day training focusing on the statistics, identification, and investigation of human trafficking and child abuse.  This event is free of charge, but space is limited; registration required.  Register at SAPDVIC@sanantonio.gov.

SATURDAY, APRIL 20TH
KIDS DAY IN THE PARK
This picnic, held for families and children age 10 and under to heighten the awareness of the prevention of child abuse, is sponsored by the United Way, the Blue Ribbon Task Force, and the San Antonio Association for Education of Young Children and will be held in San Pedro Park from 10:00am – 4:00pm.

DNA COLLECTION FOR CHILDREN
As part of the Kids Day in the Park, SAPD and Children’s Hospital of San Antonio will host a booth to provide parents a free biological material collection of their children (a painless swab inside their mouth) to retain for a DNA sample if ever needed.

For further information on any of these events please contact, CASA Vice President of Programs, Yolanda Valenzuela, at yvalenzuela@casa-satx.org or call 210.225.7070.

April is Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness and Prevention Month