A small, very visible reminder of a big problem can be seen at one of Salina’s busiest intersections. Pinwheel gardens have popped up at various locations around town, including at the corner of Ohio and Crawford Streets. The blue pinwheels are the national symbol for child abuse.
Lori Blake, the Salina Child Advocacy and Parenting Services Executive Director, tells KSAL News that the pinwheels are in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, which is the month of April.
There are four pinwheel gardens. They are located at:
- McDonald’s at Crawford and Ohio
- Salina Regional Health Center
- Central Mall Food Court
- City / County Building
While there have been pinwheel gardens the last couple of years, there are more this year. This is the first time there has been one as visible as the one at Crawford and Ohio.
Blake says that while child abuse is a problem across the country, many people don’t realize it is a problem in Salina, and Saline County. The local statistics are startling, and heart breaking.
In 2016 there were over 3,000 reports of child abuse and neglect. Of those reports 1,100 were screened to be investigated.
Additionally, her organization is where children who have experienced sexual abuse or extreme physical abuse are interviewed. Last year they interviewed 151 children.
Blake says that while the pinwheels serve as a reminder of child abuse, they have a dual purpose. She is hoping that they can be a recruiting tool as well. She needs volunteers to became CASA volunteers, or Court Appointed Special Advocates. These volunteers work with children who have been removed from their parent’s custody and are living in a foster home. For more details, or to become a volunteer, contact CAPS at 785- 825-4493.
Blake adds that there are several other events happening during Child Abuse Prevention Month in Salina. They include:
- Blue Out Day. Multiple businesses in Salina are allowing employees to wear blue this Friday in return for a $5 donation to CAPS.
- Saturday is the nation crime victims festival at Oakdale Park from noon till 4.
- Next week on Friday is “Speak Night” at Ad Astra Books and Coffee. It’s designed as an open mic night to give victims of abuse a chance to speak.