AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Bridge Children Advocacy Center held the Pinwheel Prevention ceremony ahead of Child Abuse Prevention Month in April.

During the ceremony, community members placed 1,335 bright pinwheels on the lawn to represent all the children who came through The Bridges doors in 2022.

“It’s a time for us to stop and reflect on the work and the children that came through our doors that we helped through the process in 2022 and just to give them some time of honor,” said Bohannon.

The Bridge collaborates with over 80 agencies across the Texas Panhandle on behalf of children. Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) bind The Bridge with federal, state, county, and local law enforcement agencies; child protective services; crisis centers; prosecutors, and medical service providers to ensure consistent protocols and practices. Every three years these agreements are re-executed.

“In April we spotlight the important role that communities play in protecting children,” said The Bridge Executive Director Shelly Bohannon. “Every person`s participation is critical. Focusing on ways to build and promote protective factors, in every interaction with children and families, is the best thing our community can do to prevent child maltreatment and promote optimal child development. Our agency is committed to engaging Panhandle communities in the protection of children and prevention of their abuse.”

The Bridge conducts video interviews where children share what has happened. The purpose of the videos is to minimize the number of times a child has to be interviewed, according to officials.

During April, The Bridge has activities planned to highlight the importance of protecting kids.

“This is the month that we try to get more education out to the community, and just make awareness of what is really happening in our communities where our children are involved,” said Bohannon. “Parents can come to our website and we have all of our resources on there. There’s a page on there of what to expect if they’re coming in for a forensic interview. There are all kinds of information on there that will help families navigate this process of working with law enforcement and children’s Protective Services.”

“Go Blue Friday” will be held on April 14. The community is encouraged to wear blue and share pictures on social media, using the hashtags #goblueday and #thebridgecac.

A mile in their shoes will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 29 Participants will have the option of running or walking a mile in the neighborhood of The Bridge according to the release. Limited shirts are available and signup is online.

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