April is nationally recognized as Child Abuse Prevention month; it is a time to celebrate all the good things our community does to promote healthy child development as well as a time to reflect on the work that remains.
We all have a role to play in healthy child development, and our goal this April is to help others recognize that role and the ways in which we can maximize our impact.
This year we are focusing on three simple actions we can all take that will make a difference.
Mentor a child or parent.
Mentoring children, both young and old, provides another stable, caring adult in their lives. Research shows the availability of such supporting relationships can help children build resilience and achieve positive outcomes in the face of adversity. Mentoring a parent by such things as offering a helping hand, inviting them to join you at a community event, project or meeting, or participating in a school function, reduces feelings of isolation and stress and shows them they are not alone. Modeling and stressing face to face interactions without the interruption of electronics develops children’s social and emotional skills and makes us all more closely connected. It truly does take a village to raise a child.
Advocate for policies that support children and families.
Seeing that a top cause for child abuse and neglect is the lack of knowledge of child development leading to unrealistic expectations of children and higher stress for parents, examine and support policies and programs that further child development education and that work to protect children with a focus on preventing child abuse and neglect before it happens. Research supports the incorporation of Protective Factors into the lives of all families.
By donating time and money to prevention organizations, sharing your expertise, taking the time to tutor or volunteer at area schools and events, or offering to help families in your neighborhood, you can have a meaningful impact on the lives of children throughout the community. Actions like these bring communities together, reduce isolation and help children and families succeed.
When communities come together to support children and families, we all benefit: our fellow citizens are better educated and more informed, children excel in school, employees are more effective and miss less work, and we’ll see a profound impact on the quality of life in our families and our community as a whole.
So please join us and pledge to do each of these activities at least once during the month of April and watch what a real difference we can make together. Then, continue to take steps like these throughout the year and in the future. Inspire others to follow your example and learn how they too can support children and families to help our community grow and thrive. At this time, pass this letter on to someone you know so they too can mentor, advocate and donate.