MISSOULA - Blue pinwheels planted outside the Missoula County Courthouse are blowing in the breeze and sending a message.
The pinwheels adorning the front lawn are intended to start a conversation about National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
April is Child Abuse Prevention and Strengthening Families Month, and in a series of events, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) have brought both of these issues to light in the community.
CASA has 120 volunteers to help advocate for roughly 250 children in the Missoula County and Mineral County foster care system.
While every blue pinwheel represents the health and safety that every child deserves and although they are doing important work, CASA Missoula Executive Director Scott Appeal says he’d be happy to never see a case cross his desk.
“And so we're really here just to...it's one of a number of events to really advocate and bring awareness to child abuse prevention and strengthening families,” Appeal said. “Honestly, the fewer cases that CASA has to deal with the better for us.”
Executive Director Scott Appeal discusses CASA Missoula's Mission:
Anyone who suspects child abuse and neglect is urged to call the toll-free hotline at 1-866-820-5437.
Community members can participate in the following activities throughout the rest of this month:
- Enter artwork into the Pinwheels for Prevention Art Contest hosted by CASA of Missoula. Prizes include a $50 gift card to Downtown Missoula [https://www.casamissoula.org/current-events/].
- Watch two free documentaries on resilience and healing hosted by The Parenting Place at the Roxy on April 18th from 4-7p.m.
- Attend the Missoula Family Expo at the Missoula Public Library on April 30th, which will feature information from various nonprofits across town.
Additionally, all community members are asked to join the #GoBlue challenge any Friday this month by posting a picture of themselves wearing blue, using their platform to raise awareness, and tagging others to join. Faith communities are encouraged to get involved as well with special services around child abuse prevention for Blue Sunday on April 24th.
Child Abuse Prevention & Strengthening Families Month Schedule of Events:
- Monday, April 18: Plant Pinwheels on the Missoula County Courthouse Lawn - 3:30 p.m.
- Monday, April 18: Watch Resilience and Healing Neen free at The Roxy - 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.
- Friday, April 22: Join the #GoBlue Challenge for #StrongFamilies on social media
- Sunday, April 24: Participate with your faith community in Blue Sunday
- Monday, April 25: All Pinwheels for Prevention Art Contest Entries due to firstname.lastname@example.org (more details here)
- Friday, April 29: Join the #GoBlue Challenge for #StrongFamilies on social media
- Saturday, April 30: Attend The Missoula Family Expo at the Missoula Public Library - 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.