Gannon University Plants Pinwheels For Child Abuse Awareness

Posted: April 11, 2016

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Violence Awareness Month. As a coordinator or co- coordinator of the Child Abuse Prevention Task Force for its sixth consecutive year, Gannon has been planting pinwheels in front of the Robert Morosky Academic Center with preschoolers from Erie's YMCA.

The planting of the pinwheels will take place at noon on April 11th. Many agencies with an interest in protection and the physical and psychological health of Erie's children participate in planting pinwheel gardens.

Preschools from several Erie agencies join in on these plantings and take home a pinwheel as a symbol of their support. Kathleen Patterson, Ph.D., the director and an assistant professor of the Villa Maria School of Nursing, said the goal of this initiative is to decrease the annual number of child abuse incidents and increase the delivery of parenting and caregiver support services for at risk families.

"The Child Abuse Prevention Task Force is committed to the prevention of child abuse and neglect through advocacy, education and public awareness," Patterson said.

There are 30 agency representatives in total, Patterson said, and all of them meet once a month to plan presentations, community speakers and community outreach targeting child abuse prevention awareness.

She said during the month of April there will also be pinwheel gardens planted at UPMC Hamot and Saint Vincent Hospital. For more information on upcoming events, Patterson said an event calendar is set to be published in the Erie Times News listing all dates and times for opportunities to participate in raising awareness.

This event is free and open to the general public. Please join us on the Gannon campus as we - as a community - take a stand against child abuse and pledge our commitment to helping children in the Erie community stay safe, healthy and happy.