By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gabrielle Joyner, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Det. Hawaii
PEARL HARBOR -- Teachers and students from Pearl Harbor Elementary School and Radford High School gathered at the Moanalua Navy Services Center building on April 20, to participate in a Pinwheels for Prevention event.
The Pinwheels for Prevention event was hosted by Military and Family Support Center (MFSC) in an effort to raise awareness for National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month.
Participants watched awareness performances by the high school students. They then planted blue and silver pinwheels into the lawn of the Moanalua Navy Services Center to symbolize child abuse and neglect prevention.
“The pinwheel is a national symbol for child abuse prevention month. When the sun shines on the pinwheel it symbolizes hope for a bright future for the children, and when the wind blows on it, it spreads the message for the future of each child providing a good, safe environment for them,” said Kristy Chong, Family Advocacy Program (FAP) prevention and education specialist at MFSC, Pearl Harbor.
Pinwheels for Prevention provides an opportunity for individuals and organizations alike to take action by learning more about prevention, supporting child, family friendly policies, and volunteer opportunities at local, state, and national levels.
Troy Freitas, peer education teacher at Radford High School, explained that the school goes out to the various elementary schools around Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam once a year to talk about bullying and respect. He went on to say there was great value in partnering up with FAP to support the Pinwheels for Prevention event.
“We are happy to be a part of this collaboration and I think it was a successful day,” said Freitas. “We are focused on teaching the kids something very simple. What we want them to come away with is they should love themselves, as well as others and that they should be treated with love.”
FAP works to prevent abuse by offering educational programs to put a stop to domestic abuse before it starts and works to ensure the safety of victims, as well as, help military families overcome the effects of violence and change destructive behavior patterns.
“I believe it’s important for everyone to know that each person can make a difference in a child’s life,” said Chong. “Each adult has the opportunity to give a child a voice, and we should do whatever we can help prevent incidents of child abuse and neglect, such as, helping out a parent in need. It starts with the little things and the little things go a long way.”