The Sunflower CASA Project, Inc. held its annual Blue Ribbon Kick-off event Friday afternoon on the Riley County Courthouse lawn.
“We planted a garden of 213 blue pinwheels in the ground, representing the 213 children served by our agency last year who are victims of child abuse or neglect,” said Jayme Morris-Hardeman, executive director of the Sunflower CASA Project.
Child abuse is an unfortunate reality in our community and shows up in many different forms.
“Anything from physical neglect where they weren’t having food provided for them, or didn’t get to school regularly, all the way to sexual abuse or physical abuse, emotional abuse, we see all of them happening in our community,” Morris-Hardeman said.
If you witness or even suspect that a child is being abused by their parent or guardian, contact the Riley County Police Department at 785-537-2112.
“You don’t have to have actual evidence, its suspicion that needs to be reported, because the statistic is that only 1 in 10 kids who are abused will tell someone,” Morris-Hardeman said, “The rest of kids coming into the system, comes from adults noticing something or being there to support that child when they do disclose abuse.”
As part of Blue Ribbon Month, Sunflower CASA will hold its Light of Hope event on Tuesday April 22nd beginning at 6 p.m. at the Prairie Retreat in Manhattan. Light of Hope is an annual vigil recognizing the work of advocates in the community.
If you’d like to help spread awareness about child abuse in our community, Sunflower CASA asks that you take a picture with a blue pinwheel and share it on social media. And if you’d like to get hands-on and volunteer, summer training starts on June 2nd. The registration deadline is May 19th. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sunflowercasa.org