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Pinwheels planted to raise child abuse awareness

OWEGO (WBNG) — Pinwheels are lined up along Main Street in Owego to recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tioga County hosted the event, inviting members of the community to plant a pinwheel to inspire change.

“When you see the pinwheel, it sparks joy,” Family Development Educator Jackie Spencer said. “It sparks that thinking about those positive childhood memories. It also sparks people thinking about the children in their lives. It inspires folks to be a part of that child’s life and to contribute positively to their experiences.”

Spencer said the pinwheels represent a happy, healthy and safe child that is growing into a resilient person.

“We want to highlight the power in community involvement in prevention and supporting all of those things that help keep families strong and resilient,” Spencer said. “So, we’re not putting this whole weight of child abuse and neglect on the shoulder of our child protection services.”

Prevention and awareness are key to avoid child abuse, Spencer said.

“We have fabulous child protective services here in Tioga County,” Spencer said. “They work very hard, they do a great job at doing what they do to keep families safe and protected. If we can reduce the number of hotline calls coming in by providing supports at the front end. Then we can preserve the workers time to be investigating the most serious cases.”

Spencer started the Tioga Strong Families Coalition to bring together people interested in the well-being of children. The first meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the CCE Conference Room at 56 Main Street, Owego.

The meeting will teach about the Protective Factors Framework, engage the community to create a supportive culture and discuss issues affecting families.

Brendan Tierney

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