April is National Child abuse Prevention Month!

Richland County Children Services has several events planned during April for National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

"April is a time to celebrate the important role that communities play in protecting children and strengthening families," said Brigitte Coles, the agency's community engagement specialist.

"Everyone's participation is critical. Focusing on ways to connect with families is the best thing our community can do to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect," Coles said.

A child abuse prevention month rally is planned April 1 at 10 a.m. at Graham Auto Mall, 1515 W. Fourth St. The Richland County commissioners will present a proclamation in recognition of the month-long observance.

Other agency April activities include:

-- The 6th annual Billboard and Calendar Picture Contest for third grade students throughout Richland County. The theme this year is “When I Grow Up I Want to Be…”

-- Wear Blue Day is scheduled April 10. Wear Blue Day is an annual statewide event to spread awareness on the important issues of child abuse, neglect and dependency. On this day local businesses, offices, schools, agencies, factories, retail outlets and media partners are asked to Wear Blue to show unity against child abuse and neglect.

Participants can take pictures of themselves, their group, classmates or co-workers wearing blue and send them via email to Brigitte.Coles@jfs.ohio.gov for publication on the agency’s website and Facebook page.

RCCS will also participate in these community events during April:

-- Begin Your Journey Community Reentry Resource Fair at Richland Correctional Institution on April 11. RCCS will participate in the resource fair offering information about its family-centered services designed to help fathers as they return to their communities after incarceration and support them as they continue to build relationships with their children.

-- Mother & Son Retreat at Hedges Community Center, 176 Hedges St. on April 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. RCCS is partnering with Princess Endowment, Inc to present an event full of fun and memorable activities for mothers and sons.

The retreat features mother/son bonding activities, a guest speaker, food, prizes and a workshop for boys.

The workshop will teach sons skills they will use for the rest of their lives. Princess Endowment, Inc. was founded by Mansfield native Enisia Lee.

The mission of the organization is to edify the skills necessary to promote healthy cultivation of youth by focusing on educational advancement, character building, goal setting and achievement, and physical and emotional wellness. Registration is $5 a couple and $2 for an additional child.

Tickets are available at God’s Will Christian Outlet, 624 Glendale Blvd. and Hedges Community Center, 176 Hedges St. Call 419-612-6123. Proceeds from the event will benefit local community youth programs.

Call the agency's 24-hour child abuse hotline at 419-774-4100 to report child abuse and neglect.

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