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April 27, 2013

Only SMACK a child with a kiss!

Child Abuse Prevention Council 4th Annual Blue Ribbon Family Fun Walk

Child Abuse Prevention Month April 2013

What is the Blue Ribbon Campaign for Child Abuse Prevention Month?

April is recognized nationwide as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Blue Ribbon Campaign is a comprehensive community wide effort led by the Child Abuse Prevention Council of San Benito County. This campaign will not only encourage the region to understand the problems of child abuse, but will also guide efforts in what we can do to help.

Why is Child Abuse Prevention Council of San Benito County leading the charge?
The Child Abuse Prevention Council of San Benito County is a non-profit social service agency dedicated to ending the cycle of child abuse by promoting individual well-being and healthy relationships. For more than 25 years, we have envisioned a world of safe children, thriving families and nurturing communities.

What can you do to help?
Schools have a number of ways to help!
• Help make posters for walkers to carry to bring awareness about why they are walking.
• Wear a blue ribbon pin during the entire month of April.
• Ask us for information or training, recognizing and reporting child abuse.
• Volunteer to help with the event. We need cross walk guards and people to put blue ribbons on trees downtown prior to the event.

Child Abuse Prevention Month community-wide activities
Blue Ribbon Family Fun Walk – Join the Child Abuse Prevention Council and the YMCA’s Healthy Families Day scheduled for April 27, 2013 and walk to make a statement in our community.

Blue Ribbon Awareness Campaign - The blue ribbon is the international sign of child abuse prevention. Started by a grandmother in Virginia who lost her grandson to the tragedy of child abuse, the blue ribbon signifies the color of the bruises on her young grandson, and is a call to action. Community members are encouraged to wear a blue ribbon pin during the month of April.

Blue Ribbon Award for Outstanding Volunteer Work By an INDIVIDUAL or ORGANIZATION benefiting the health/safety/well being of children in San Benito County will also be awarded.

Past Recipients
2012 - Hollister Hills Off-Road Association
2011 - Celebration Station
2010 - Diane Ortiz
2009 - Kris Armstrong

The 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 1989, a Virginia grandmother received the devastating news that her grandson had died of injuries inflicted by his parents. In an expression of grief and outrage, this grandmother did something that has given us a symbol. She tied a blue ribbon to the antenna of her van as a way to remember "the bruised and battered body of her grandson" and to alert her community to the tragedy of child abuse. Her simple idea, to wear or display a blue ribbon for child abuse prevention was picked up by grassroots organizations across the county. In her own words:
“NO! It isn’t true! It simply cannot be true! They are telling me that my grandson is dead ... they are wrong! There must be some mistake ... Michael is fine ... but deep in my heart, I knew it was true for I have not seen him in weeks. It’s been so long since I sat by his side in the hospital. Of course I knew something was wrong as I sat there. I saw fear on his face, the bruises on his body, and the healing cigarette burns on his hands. His doctor did not believe my daughter’s story ... "he fell in slippery water in the bathtub" ... I felt sick ... I didn’t understand ... Are my granddaughters all right, was all I thought. Where are they?
I only had one child. She was a beautiful little girl. She was the light of our eyes. We knew she had entered into a stormy marriage, for we brought her home several times in the five years the marriage lasted. We suspected heavy use of drugs ... BUT ... in those five years, three beautiful, healthy children had been born. I loved them dearly, and they loved me. The children were 16 months, 3 years and 4 years old.
After the ordeal at the hospital, my grandson was placed in foster care for three weeks. He cried when they came to take him back to his mother. He told his foster mother, "my momma doesn’t love me," and he begged to stay. I ached for his dilemma. I was not physically able to care for him. The courts seemed to believe that home was the best place for him ... but I knew better and I told ... no, begged them not to return him to his mother. But I was overruled. My instinct as a grandmother did not count.
I never saw Michael again. My 16 month old granddaughter was hospitalized after being beaten severely her leg was broken in four places, and her hand burned from the tip of her little fingers to her wrist. It was only then that the "search was on" for Michael. We learned that he had been killed, wrapped in a sheet, stuffed in a tool box and dumped in to a dismal swamp three months earlier.
My grandchildren had suffered and battled so much throughout their young lives that it sickened me. My life was turned into physical and mental chaos. My efforts to understand became a plea to stop abusing children. I tied a blue ribbon on my van antenna to make people wonder. It caught on locally with restaurants, businesses, the police department and radio and television stations. They all started supporting me in my efforts to make a real awareness campaign. Why the color blue? I never intend to forget the battered, bruised bodies of my grandchildren. Bruises are black, then eventually blue. Therefore, blue serves as a constant reminder to me to fight for our children. Join with me. We must protect our most precious gift of all ... our children. Please wear a blue ribbon. Put one on your car. Give one to your friends. Tell them what it means. You may be saving a child’s life! If you suspect anything is happening to your children ... your grandchildren ... the child next door ... PLEASE ACT!”
Bonnie Finney, Norfolk, VA.

For more information on the Blue Ribbon Campaign for Child Abuse Prevention Month, contact:
Ana Cabrera, Social Worker Supervisor
San Benito County Health & Human Services Agency
1111 San Felipe Road, Suite 208, Hollister, CA 95023
Phone: 831-634-0686 * e-mail: [email protected]
Thank you for your support,

Andi Anderson
Child Abuse Prevention Council Chair

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