Chattanooga’s Kids on the Block will host its annual community event in April to celebrate National Child Abuse Prevention Month and bring awareness of child abuse prevention to the community.
Chattanooga’s Kids on the Block is partnering with the Creative Discovery Museum and the Chattanooga Kappa Delta Alumnae Association to help empower children. Together they are presenting the 6th Annual Pinwheels for Prevention…It’s Your Turn to Make a Difference on Thursday, April 11, from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Creative Discovery Museum.
Pinwheels for Prevention will be held during the museum’s free family night in April. The first 500 children attending the event will receive safety kits that include activity sheets, crayons and identification cards. There will be several local community resource agencies to answer questions and to pass out materials. With the help of the Chattanooga Kappa Delta Alumnae Association children will have the opportunity to create puppets and donate them to children who have or are experiencing maltreatment in the community. Participants will enjoy two puppet performances by Chattanooga’s Kids on the Block addressing child abuse prevention. The CKOB performances will be presented at 6:15 and 7:15 p.m. in the museum auditorium.
Kids on the Block uses child-size puppets to communicate with children, giving them skills to stay safe and healthy. The personal safety program addresses child abuse through the eyes of an 11 and 14-year-old kid. “We see children looking up to the puppet 'kids' as though they are peers and they find it easier to open up to the 'kids' and share their secrets,” said Sue Ivey, program director.
Puppet “kids” Stephen Arthurs and Derek Price, both 11-year-old “kids”, share their story and emphasize to children that it is okay to tell someone if abuse happens to them or someone they know. They also emphasize that child abuse is never a child’s fault and a child can never do anything to be abused. After every program children are given the opportunity to write the “kids” letters, which are read and evaluated by a member of the CKOB staff. One third grade student writes, “Your program is great! Now I know about child abuse. And, it is never a kid’s fault. EVER!”
From July through Jan. 31, Chattanooga’s Kids on the Block has already performed over 25 Personal Safety programs serving over 1,500 children and adults in the 15 county service area. It is difficult for adults to understand and process many of the sensitive issues CKOB discusses, but through the age appropriate programs and the use of puppetry children view the “puppets” as a trusted friend, making it easy for children to identify and open up to, officials said.
Executive Director Kelly Williams said, “The programs we offer are very much needed in our community. Chattanooga’s Kids on the Block is licenses to perform 42 of the 45 national programs offered. We continue to seek additional funding to make more focus program topics available such as Childhood Cancer and Coping with Crisis, just to name a few."
Chattanooga's Kids on the Block programs are free of charge to schools in 15 counties of Southeast Tennessee, North Georgia, and Alabama due to funding from United Way, Big River Grille and Brewing Works, Chattanooga Area Brain Injury Association, Kiwanis Club, Downtown Sertoma Club, Civitan Club, BASF, Jacob Best Foundation, Lyndhurst Foundation, First Tennessee Foundation, local businesses, individual donors and fundraising efforts.
For more information, visit www.kidsontheblock.net or call the CKOB office at 757-5259.