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Your turn to make a difference

By Staff | Apr 9, 2014

(Editor’s note: Marsha Croasmun, coordinator of the Family Resource Center/Starting Points Center at the Wetzel County Center for Children and Families, is providing columns to recognize April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. She noted that her office represents and services both Wetzel and Tyler counties for Parents as Teachers.)

April is child abuse and neglect prevention month. This is a perfect time for our community to discuss what can be done to make sure that our children grow up healthy, safe and loved.

Child abuse and neglect is a symptom of a larger problem-the lack of resources and support for families in a community. To keep children safe, we have to fix the problem instead of only treating the symptom.

When the well-being of children and families becomes the priority of everyone in a community, the number of child abuse and neglect incidences will decrease. Other good things will also happen, including better health outcomes, improved school performance and family economic self-sufficiency.

Connecting with Kids Makes a Difference

A little time spent positively supporting kids can make a big difference for our community. Take a look at the facts:

-Youth who have positive mentors are more likely to stay in school and earn high grades and less likely to smoke, use drugs or carry a weapon. (Public/Private Ventures)

-Children who are read to at least three times a week start school ready to learn and are able to master reading and language skills more quickly. (Early Childhood Longitudinal Study)

-An adult’s attitude is key to a child’s successful learning. A recent study shows that when adults approach children in a spirit of equal partnership and respect, the child learns more quickly, is more involved in learning and is more creative about problem solving. (National Teacher Research Panel)

-Youth who have positive family role models and good family communication are 2.5 times less likely to use alcohol than youth without these assets. (Oman, Vesely, et.al.)

-Singing, talking, and playing with young children activates the construction of their developing brain and has a positive impact on their future learning and career success. (Carnegie Foundation)

-Kids who regularly eat dinner with their family are healthier, better adjusted emotionally, and have high self-esteem. (Nemours Health and Prevention Services)

It is important that every member of our community consider what they can do to improve our collective well-being. Whether it is volunteering, making donations, or advocating for family-friendly policies, everyone can take their turn in making a difference.

For more information go to the West Virginia web site at www.preventchildabusewv.org, or call Marsha Croasmun at the Wetzel County Center for Children and Families at 304-455-2468.