“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has!” (Margaret Mead). Prevent Child Abuse Porter County has been a grass roots council bringing child abuse awareness and education to our community since 1994. Some of our many accomplishments have been bringing national speakers to Porter County, such as author and child abuse survivor Dave Pelzer, Sgt. Terry Hall from the Indianapolis Police Department; and author Barbara Coloroso. We have provided shaken baby prevention training to bring awareness to this mostly preventable abuse. We sponsored dozens of scholarships for police, child protective services, prosecutors, and social workers. We have provided many of these workers with the scholarships to attend “Finding Words Indiana”. This is a weeklong intensive training that teaches new techniques for interviewing child abuse victims. Each April we have held a walkathon, and presented educational programs on awareness, and signs of abuse. We have helped to bring awareness to National Child Abuse Awareness Month. For many years we have posted blue ribbons all around the Porter County area to symbolize the abuse of children. Pinwheels are now the national symbol that represents a commitment to making our community a safe and nurturing place for all kids and families. For the last several years we have displayed Pinwheel Gardens in an effort to heighten awareness of the good things of being a child. We have passed out thousands of Pinwheels during the annual Popcorn Parade. With generous donations from local businesses and the Porter County Commissioners we opened the New Sights child advocacy center, a place with, at the time, state of the art, video recording equipment, where children could safely tell the horrifying stories (one time!) of what someone had done to them. The center was praised by local police, but sadly it was closed down a year after opening, for lack of use. It was a safe place where a victim could go to be interviewed. A place where he/she only had to make a statement once, and adults in the process would listen and believe. They worked together as a team to help the child get justice, and peace.
We have always been made up of all volunteers, willing to roll up their sleeves to make a difference in our community. Sadly our volunteers have dwindled to less than 5. We can no longer keep up the energy needed to continuously go uphill to make a difference. We will be tying up our “loose ends” over the next few months, and call it a day. We are very proud of our accomplishments over the past 21 years, and all of those people, who, over the years have worked so hard for the future of our children.
If the Porter County community could only remember this one thing- It is up to each one of us, not someone else, to make a positive difference in the life of a child. We must hold policy makers, elected officials and ourselves accountable for being informed, being involved and being dedicated to protecting and nurturing our children every single day.
LuAnn Shirley, President
Prevent Child Abuse Porter County