It really does take a village

Dallas Peacock, an intern at the Child Development Center, hands out pinwheels to children of Team Seymour during a “Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention” event, April 1, 2015, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. More than 300 pinwheels were planted in the base’s pinwheel garden in support of child abuse prevention. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brittain Crolley)

Dallas Peacock, an intern at the Child Development Center, hands out pinwheels to children of Team Seymour during a “Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention” event, April 1, 2015, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. More than 300 pinwheels were planted in the base’s pinwheel garden in support of child abuse prevention. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brittain Crolley)

A child of Team Seymour blows on a pinwheel during a “Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention” event, April 1, 2015, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The pinwheel is the national symbol for child abuse and neglect prevention. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brittain Crolley)

A child of Team Seymour blows on a pinwheel during a “Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention” event, April 1, 2015, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The pinwheel is the national symbol for child abuse and neglect prevention. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brittain Crolley)

Children of Team Seymour participate in a “Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention” event, April 1, 2015, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. More than 80 children from the Youth Center and Child Development Center planted pinwheels near the front gate as a collective symbol of hope to end child abuse. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brittain Crolley)

Children of Team Seymour participate in a “Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention” event, April 1, 2015, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. More than 80 children from the Youth Center and Child Development Center planted pinwheels near the front gate as a collective symbol of hope to end child abuse. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brittain Crolley)

Children of Team Seymour plant pinwheels during a “Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention” event, April 1, 2015, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Every April is recognized as Child Abuse Prevention Month and acknowledges the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brittain Crolley)

Children of Team Seymour plant pinwheels during a “Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention” event, April 1, 2015, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Every April is recognized as Child Abuse Prevention Month and acknowledges the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brittain Crolley)

Col. Mark Slocum, 4th Fighter Wing commander, and his wife, Xavi, lead children on a walk to the pinwheel garden during a “Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention” event, April 1, 2015, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The campaign works to ensure the healthy development of children nationwide. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brittain Crolley)

Col. Mark Slocum, 4th Fighter Wing commander, and his wife, Xavi, lead children on a walk to the pinwheel garden during a “Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention” event, April 1, 2015, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The campaign works to ensure the healthy development of children nationwide. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brittain Crolley)

A member of Team Seymour holds a bouquet of pinwheels during a “Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention” event, April 1, 2015, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The pinwheels were handed out to children of Team Seymour to plant in the base’s pinwheel garden located near the main gate. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brittain Crolley)

A member of Team Seymour holds a bouquet of pinwheels during a “Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention” event, April 1, 2015, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The pinwheels were handed out to children of Team Seymour to plant in the base’s pinwheel garden located near the main gate. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brittain Crolley)

Members of Team Seymour plant pinwheels during a “Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention” event, April 1, 2015, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The pinwheel stands as a symbol of hope for children across that nation that they will never endure abuse or neglect. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brittain Crolley)

Members of Team Seymour plant pinwheels during a “Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention” event, April 1, 2015, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The pinwheel stands as a symbol of hope for children across that nation that they will never endure abuse or neglect. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brittain Crolley)

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- A grandfather was walking along the coastline with his 5-year-old grandson and every time they came upon a starfish that was washed ashore, the grandson would pick up the starfish and throw it back into the ocean. The grandfather asked his grandson, "Why do you do this? The coastline is endless and there are probably countless starfish all along the way. How can you possibly make a difference?" The grandson leaned over and grabbed another starfish and threw it back into the ocean and said, "At least I made a difference in this one's life."

April is the month when military Family Advocacy Programs, local and federal agencies, and citizens across the nation focus special attention on the prevention of child abuse.   Whatever the designated theme, it reflects a special emphasis reminder to each of us, as everyday citizens, that the prevention of child abuse must begin as a personal priority and commitment.

The question of who is responsible for prevention of child abuse is ever present.  Is it the child protective agency ... law enforcement ... family advocacy organizations ... the parent(s)?   An African proverb says "it takes a village to raise a child."

The observance of Child Abuse Prevention Month gives each of us individually, and all of us together, the opportunity to promote the best for optimal childhood.  Supporting the personal development, health, wellness and wellbeing of our children, youth, and teens, is imperative to the strength and stability of healthy communities.

Children are our future, and as such, our most precious community asset.  Family Advocacy Program education, training, information fairs, clinical intervention activities, prevention initiatives, consultations and briefings are just some of the ways we encourage the investment of formal agencies and community members alike.  Child Abuse Prevention Month initiatives promote consistent messages for advocacy, education, and action.  The goal is that our homes and communities nurture the healthy development of children.  

Community wellness requires collective competence and shared responsibility.  It is our duty to do all that we can do to support the wellbeing of children, youth and teens.  Child abuse prevention is everybody's business. 

Please take the time this month to join in on the many activities that have been planned for our Seymour Johnson AFB community and know that if you can stop one incident of child abuse or neglect you have made a difference in that child's life.