BY SARAH ELMS firstname.lastname@example.org TRAVERSE CITY — “Shine on” is the staff motto at the Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center. It’s also the name of their first gala fundraiser set for next week. Officials designated the April 23 event as a way to build awareness about child abuse prevention and also to celebrate the community partnerships that keep children safe. Hannah Rodriguez, the center’s prevention coordinator, called the gala “a collage performance.” Singer-songwriter Miriam Pico will emcee the event, which will include musical performances by Traverse Symphony Orchestra’s Michael Beery and duo Seth Bernard and May Erlewine. There will also be a spoken word performance by a survivor of child sexual abuse. “That is going to be very powerful,” Rodriguez said. Rodriguez cautioned anyone sensitive to the topic or parents intending to bring small children that the spoken word piece may be difficult for some to hear. The gala also will include a silent auction for a children’s bicycle. All proceeds from the auction and a portion of the event’s ticket sales will go directly to the advocacy center and its programs. The nonprofit provides child abuse prevention and intervention services to children and families throughout the community, and officials rely greatly on grants and donations. “Everything we do at the Children’s Advocacy Center for children and families we provide for free,” Rodriguez said. “Support from our community financially and socially is so important for use so that we can continue to do this work.” The gala is April 23 from 7-9 p.m. at InsideOut Gallery in Traverse city. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance at mynorth.com or at the door.
In 1989, the Blue Ribbon Campaign to Prevent Child Abuse had its early beginnings as a Virginia grandmother’s tribute to her grandson who died as a result of abuse. She tied a blue ribbon to the antenna of her car as a way to remember him and to alert her community to the tragedy of child abuse. The Blue Ribbon Campaign has since expanded across the country, and many wear blue ribbons each April in memory of those who have died as a result of child abuse. In other communities, special fundraisers are held to support prevention activities and treatment facilities for victims, and candlelight vigils are held as a remembrance. Most recently, the focus has shifted toward a more positive message of celebrating “blue ribbon” individuals, organizations, and communities who have done much to prevent child abuse and neglect.
Staff at the Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center will be wearing blue ribbons throughout April to acknowledge National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Over 700 children have walked through the doors of the TBCAC since opening in 2010, and many have reported incidences of sexual and physical abuse, neglect, and witness to violence. Wearing blue ribbons honors the courage of these children to speak out against abuse and encourages us all to do the same. Why not make and wear your own blue ribbon this month? Doing so is a simple way to increase awareness in our community of the need to ensure the safety and well-being of children.
It is officially National Child Abuse Prevention Month and we here at the Traverse Bay CAC are thrilled to be partnering and hosting several events in honor of this important time of year. From providing education on the topic of prevention to hosting an evening of music and celebration, we have a whole calendar of events for you to take part in:
Community Prevention Seminar
Wednesday, April 15th
Women’s Resource Center
720 S. Elmwood Ave.
Traverse City, MI
Join us for a conversation on creating a community where children are safe from sexual abuse, hosted by the Women’s Resource Center. Click HERE to register.
CAP Month Story Time
Thursday, April 16th
Darcy Library of Beulah
7238 Commercial Ave.
Join us at the Beulah Library for a special edition of story time, focusing on sharing stories with children that teach them about their bodies and personal boundaries.
My Body Belongs to Me!
Monday, April 20th
Traverse Area District Library (Woodmere)
610 Woodmere, Ave.
Traverse City, MI
This special storytime for preschoolers and kindergarteners will be presented by storyteller Jenifer Strauss and singer/songwriter Miriam Pico. Jenifer and Miriam will be sharing an important message for children to understand: “My body belongs to me!” Groups of 10 or more please register by calling TADL Youth Services at (231) 932-8503.
Shine On! Gala
Thursday, April 23rd
Doors Open at 7pm
229 Garland St.
Traverse City, MI
Join us as we celebrate our community’s commitment to protecting children and help us “Shine On!” as we continue this journey! The evening will include a collage performance hosted by Miriam Pico and feature local artists, Seth Bernard and May Erlewine. There will also be a silent auction for a children’s bike, generously donated by the Grand Traverse Pie Co. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the TBCAC!
***NOTE ABOUT SUBJECT MATTER: This evening will include a spoken word performance that discusses experience with child sexual abuse as the subject matter. Please consider this if you plan to bring children or others who may be sensitive to this topic.
Spring Splatter 5K
Saturday, April 25th
9am Start Time
Central High School
1150 Milliken Drive
Traverse City, MI
The Spring Splatter 5k is a race organized by the Traverse City Central Student Senate that benefits the Traverse Bay CAC. This is truly a unique race, with runners being covered in a powdered paint at each kilometer, ending with a craze of colors at the finish line. This is a fun run and racers will not be timed. For more information and to register for the race, click HERE!
For questions or more information about any of these events, please feel free to contact Hannah Rodriguez at email@example.com or at (231) 929-4250. We hope that you will take part in this important month and in the many events our community has organized in order to celebrate it.
We All Play a Part
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month and throughout the year, the Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making the Grand Traverse Region a better place for children and families. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote children’s social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities.
Research shows that when parents possess six protective factors, the risk for neglect and abuse diminish and optimal outcomes for children, youth, and families are promoted. The six protective factors are:
- Nurturing and attachment
- Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
- Parental resilience
- Social connections
- Concrete supports for parents
- Social and emotional developmental well-being
April is a time to celebrate the important role that communities play in protecting children. Everyone’s involvement makes a difference. By focusing on ways to strengthen the protective factors in every interaction with children and families, we can help to prevent child maltreatment and promote optimal child development.
Learn more by attending a TBCAC Community Prevention Seminar.