First Posted: 4/3/2009
DOBSON A number of agencies from across the county took part in hosting a parade and other activities for Child Abuse Prevention Month on Friday.
The event, which started around 12:30 p.m. when students from Dobson Elementary School walked up to the town square, included a ceremony to remember the children in North Carolina who have died because of abuse or neglect.
Sheriff Graham Atkinson read the names of the children who were killed in the state as children stood on the steps of the historic courthouse with name tags representing those who died.
After the ceremony, children were able to take part in a number of activities along the street including a moon walk, hula hooping and face painting. The Lions Club also handed out pizza while the Surry County and Mount Airy City school systems handed out bottled water.
There were wooden cutouts of people lining the sidewalk leading to the courthouse representing those who died. The figures were restored this year by clients of the SYRS Gift Shop. They sanded and repainted the figures as well as added metal posts to each. The cutouts will spend a week in Dobson before traveling to Elkin, Mount Airy and Pilot Mountain for a week each.
According to Debbie Bowman with Social Services, the event is held to raise awareness of child abuse in the county.
They think its not real, that its not here, she said of the attitude many people have.
The key to it is raising awareness, said Atkinson. The problems in Surry County and the number of deaths statewide, I dont think most people have any idea.
The event was made possible by several organizations which deal with children and families on a regular basis, including school systems, emergency services, social services, Crossroads Behavioral Healthcare, 4-H and others.
We want to encourage families to come out and meet people in different agencies, said Joan Coiro with Childrens Center of Surry. We want them to know were there to help them.
We have 800 bags of literature and information to give to the parents. We want to make sure they know theres help out there for them, said Mark Fuhrmann, education director of the Childrens Center of Surry.
With a break in the rain and the prospect of an afternoon of entertainment for the children, many families took advantage of the free event.
I think its great, said Michelle Davis, who brought her boss children to the event. Everybody should learn about child abuse. Its a great time for parents and kids to spend some time together.
Judy Montgomery brought her grandson to the event after his mother told her about it.
I think its very good for the children, she said.
This is the sixth year of the event organized by the Surry County Community Child Protection Team for Child Abuse Awareness Month which is celebrated nationwide in April. All of the activities and food are donated by people across the county.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.