It really does take a village

  • Published
  • By Jerome Ellis
  • Family Advocacy outreach manager
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.