Dear Editor:

April and Child Abuse Prevention Month have come and gone, but the fight to prevent child abuse continues. The Blount County community displayed 1,500 pinwheels honoring these efforts through the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign. Schools, colleges, businesses, churches and private citizens participated to raise awareness.

New Hope Blount County Children's Advocacy Center is grateful to all who took part in this important campaign. We had everything from a concert with The Young Fables, to learning about human trafficking in East Tennessee and navigating the digital world. Maryville High, Alcoa Intermediate, Townsend Elementary and Montvale Elementary schools participated in art shows. 

Child abuse crosses all boundaries and does not discriminate. Statistics are staggering: About one in 10 children will experience child sexual abuse before their 18th birthday — likely the most prevalent health problem children face. About 90% of victims know their abusers. Only 10% or less of children are sexually abused by strangers. 

What does it take for adults to protect our Blount County children? Learning the facts and taking our blinders off to realize that this does and is happening in our community. It takes attending a free two-hour Stewards of Children training to learn how to recognize and prevent child sexual abuse. It takes protecting the ones in our lives who can’t protect themselves — our children.

Why not take two hours out of the 8,760 hours you are given each year and learn how to protect the children in our community from child sexual abuse? For more information about attending a Stewards of Children training or to set up a training, contact Becky Rials at brials@blountkids.org or call 865-981-2000, ext. 106

Becky Rials

Prevention Coordinator

New Hope Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center

Maryville

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