FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
Representatives from the Defense Logistics Agency joined the military services in highlighting efforts to observe this month’s focus on child abuse prevention during a virtual event April 28.
Lisa Grenon and Michiel DeVito, family program managers with DLA Installation Management at Battle Creek, Michigan, and Columbus, Ohio, respectively, presented the agency’s CAPM events to Patricia Barron, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy.
DLA’s CAPM efforts included display tables with information about awareness, web resources and pinwheel parades.
“In addition, we try to add our own flair and interest with events such as Sip (Tea) ‘n Paint, the Clothesline Project and Chalk the Walk,” in which participants receive tips on preventing and reporting child abuse, Grenon said.
Ongoing awareness projects such as Healing Rocks and the Hope Garden keep child abuse awareness and positive parenting in focus year-round, Grenon said. The rocks are painted with positive messages every April by DLA employees and placed in a Healing Rock Garden. The Hope Garden is dedicated to remembering victims of violence and features native trees, a memory bench, pedestal and plants.
“Pinwheels are placed around the garden in April in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month,” Grenon said. “Because these projects involve multiple installation organizations, they become a force multiplier for the child-abuse prevention message.”
The pinwheel was selected as the national symbol for child abuse prevention by Prevent Child Abuse America because it represents playfulness, joy and childhood.
Outreach and education efforts are important to preventing child abuse, DeVito said. Programs like Project Kindness and the Child Development Center’s Parent Resource Center provide information about parenting and child development.
DLA’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation website also offer resources for families, she said.
“As we have adapted over the last two years, we have increased our education and prevention using technology, which includes providing on-demand resources and educational videos,” DeVito said. “Our community is often spread over an entire country and sometimes in different countries. Using digital platforms allows us to connect with our community members wherever they are located.”
The MWR website offer videos and seminars on decreasing stress, which can prevent abuse, and topics range from how to balance a checkbook to teaching teens how to behave appropriately on social media. Events are recorded and archived for easy viewing.
“By making an archive and holding those resources on a digital platform, we multiply the number of people who can reach it,” DeVito said. “Sometimes it’s tough to find a good speaker for some of these topics, so by banding together and pooling those really good resources, we can take advantage of that.”
April is also Month of the Military Child.