Sponsored by: DYCK Security Services, INC. 

Written by Audrey Sochor

   Downtown Port Huron just got a lot more blue. April is child abuse awareness and prevention month, and employees of Child Abuse and Neglect Council partnered with local businesses to tie blue ribbons around lampposts and place pinwheels. 

   “The first step in prevention is talking about it,” said Sherry Archibald, executive director of CAN Council. Although the blue ribbon is a common feature for April, this year the organization wanted to try something new. “So we are planting pinwheel gardens throughout downtown Port Huron to raise awareness.”

   The blue pinwheels represent the whimsicalness and innocence of children and the childhood they all deserve, Archibald added. The goal is for people moving past to see it, recognize it, and start talking in the community and to children about prevention, body safety and what it means.

   “A perpetrator tells the child that no one will believe you if you tell you’ll be in trouble, there’s no evidence,” Archibald said. “What we’re asking is that parents, teachers – anyone, really, that comes in contact with children – talk to the children and tell them it is OK and they won’t be in trouble if they tell.”

   A child should never be put in a position where they’re uncomfortable or afraid to tell anyone about abuse, she added. They should always have a trusted adult they can speak with to put a stop to it. Statistics for reporting abuse are on the rise, and while Archibald doesn’t know the reason why, she hopes it’s because people are realizing it’s OK to speak up. “The more we talk about it, the more people hear about it, we feel the more children will come forward and speak up. And that’s the goal.”

   Bikers Against Child Abuse riders Klimoman and Gus also stopped by CAN Council on April 2 to help raise awareness for child abuse prevention.

   The group’s basic mission is to help out and empower abused children to not fear the world they live in. BACA does this by working in conjunction with local and state officials to provide emotional support for the children as well as accompany them to court dates or post people in front of their houses if needed to prevent further abuse.

   Due to the nature of their work, riders go by road names instead of their real ones as an extra layer of protection against offenders. An international organization, BACA has been in Michigan for four years.

   To learn more about how you can help with child abuse prevention, visit www.sccstopchildabuse.org or call 810-966-9911. To learn more about BACA visit michigan.bacaworld.org.