CAPS marks Child Abuse Prevention Month
Child abuse is a problem which no community is immune from. With April being Child Abuse Prevention Month, the staff at CAPS (Child Abuse Prevention Services) in Marshalltown is taking the opportunity to highlight the issue through a series of public displays, programs and events.
Returning this year is the appearance of “Blue Kids” which are three-foot tall wooden structures, shaped like children, placed at businesses and agencies in Marshalltown and the surrounding area, used as a symbol of childhood.
“This year’s theme is ‘Connections Matter in the Battle to Prevent Child Abuse,'” said Emma Chase, community engagement coordinator at CAPS. “What that means is we are branching out from Marshalltown, placing the ‘Blue Kids’ at businesses in surrounding communities and also at East Marshall and West Marshall schools, where we are also planning activities and a contest for those students.”
New this year is a selfie contest, whereby people are asked to take selfie photos, posing with one of the “Blue Kids,” then uploading the images to CAPS’s Facebook page, using the hashtag #CAPSbluekids. Each week in April, there will be a drawing awarding one lucky selfie contestant a 10 dollar gift card to a local restaurant. People are encouraged to enter the contest weekly; however, you must take the photos with a different “Blue Kid” each time. Winners will be announced on CAPS’ Facebook page.
“We want people to try to find them all around town, and read the little sayings that are on the ‘Blue Kids’ [which] encourage parents to hug their children, read to them and talk to them,” Chase said.
Another initiative that is new this year, is the participation of three local coffee shops in offering special drinks in honor of this awareness month.
Forget-Me-Not Coffee Shop at the Orpheum has a special blueberry latte; the Brew House has a Blue Battle Latte; and West End Perk has a black coffee drink made from a blueberry coffee bean. Proceeds from the sale of these drinks will be given to CAPS. The drinks will be offered for the duration of the month.
“We asked them to offer drinks with a blue color because blue is the color used for the awareness month,” Chase said.
CAPS’s Seeds to Succeed Parent Group, aimed at families, will meet next on Tuesday, April 11 at 10 a.m. at the CAPS office, located at 811 E. Main St. in Marshalltown. Educational resources for parents, activities for kids, and snacks will be provided. The event is open to the public.
On Tuesday, April 25 from 4-5:30 p.m., CAPS will participate in the Marshalltown Public Library’s annual Dia de los Ninos/Dia de los Libros event by running a booth and sponsoring various prizes.
As a way of closing the month’s activities, CAPS will hold a celebratory rally at the Marshall County Courthouse lawn (inside the rotunda if there is inclement weather), on Friday, April 28, from 12:15-12:45 p.m. There will be guest speakers, followed by a balloon release, weather permitting. The winners of the East Marshall and West Marshall contest will be announced at this time as well.
For more information about CAPS or Child Abuse Prevention Month, contact Chase at 641-752-1730 or firstname.lastname@example.org.