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March 29, 2012
By Angela Williams, Army Flier Staff Writer

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Mar. 29, 2012) -- The Fort Rucker Family Advocacy Program offers services throughout the year, but April is an especially notable month because it's Child Abuse Prevention Month.

"A lot of people know about child abuse, but we try to highlight prevention in April," said Twanna Johnson, FAP training specialist.

"To accomplish this mission, FAP will provide a variety of specialized workshops, information booths and activities that are aimed at strengthening and supporting parents, children and Families," added Luticia Trimble-Smith, FAP manager.

This month, some of the events include baby massage classes, baby first aid training, a baby sign language class, a Family fun run and a series of classes on effective discipline. The Exceptional Family Member Program also offers a workshop about building healthy marriages for the Families of special needs children.

"Children with special needs or disabilities are more at risk than the general population for child abuse," explained Marion Cornish, EFMP manager. "Families with a special needs child face a lot of challenges and may have few resources, which can lead to frustration and stress. This frustration and stress may result in child abuse."

At various times throughout the month, FAP will have displays and information tables at the Center Library, post exchange and Soldier Service Center, said Johnson, but the most anticipated event is the Pinwheels for Prevention Family Fun Run/Walk April 14.

"This is for Families to do together. This is about prevention. Families who play together stay together," she said. "We try to give Families activities they can take with them beyond April."

The event is free but participants are asked to pre-register at the child, youth and school services parent central services, the child development center, the youth center or either of the physical fitness facilities. T-shirts are $5.75 and can be ordered through March 31 at any of the registration sites, Johnson said.

At the finish line, children from the elementary school will hand out pinwheels for Families to take home and place in their yards for the rest of the month. According to Johnson, the pinwheel is a symbol for child abuse prevention.

Another symbol is the blue ribbon. In April, every Friday is "Blue Day." People are asked to wear blue to bring awareness to prevention efforts, she said.

Some of the more practical events include the baby massage, first aid and sign language classes. The classes, taught by New Parent Support Program Home Visitors Cassie Trummel RN, BSN, and Mandy Goodson RN, BSN, are designed to equip parents, reduce stress, and build relationships between parents and small children.

For more information about any of the events, call 255-3898 or 255-9641.