By Tom Rohrer
On March 31, 2014, hundreds of pinwheels were placed on the grounds of the Washington State Capitol. Judy King provided the perfect explanation of what they represent. “A lot of people describe (pinwheels) as sort of whimsical. It’s free to move and grow,” she said. “It represents something we would want for children.”
One thousand blue pinwheels were inserted near the State Capitol fountain to coincide with National Child Abuse Prevention Month, which began on Tuesday, April 1.
Organized by the Washington State Department of Early Learning, the pinwheels will be on display for a week in an effort to raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Similar pinwheel arrays will be put up across the state and country, part of a nationwide effort focusing on creating and supporting strong families.
“We work on activities through the year with in-state partners really focusing on supporting strong families. It’s build and support, not so much prevent,” said King, the Strengthening Families Washington administrator. “We have a framework of five protective factors that we work on building within families in communities that are really integral to making sure families have the right resources when they need it.”
It’s the second consecutive year the pinwheels will be on display on the Capitol Grounds. King believes the display has had a positive effect on the area and has been impressed with the support the community has shown.
“I think people really want to rally around making sure kids have what they need for a good start in life,” she said. “Having safe, stable, nurturing relationships is a job for everyone. It’s not just the families themselves, but close friends and informal friends that support programs like this in communities.”
The pinwheels are provided across the country by Prevent Child Abuse in America. The Washington State Department of early Learning helps as the state chapter for Prevent Child Abuse, and ships the pinwheels across Washington to programs and organizations for free.
“There’s so much collaboration between us, the national organization and state leaders,” King said. “It’s pretty impressive how it all comes together.”
Though Child Abuse Awareness Month concludes on May 1, the efforts to raise awareness are year round.
“We provide information and facts for parents, neighbors, community members, aunts, uncles, really anyone looking to help support strong families,” King added. “It’s a never ending process and a continuous effort.”