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Pinwheels planted to bring awareness to child abuse

During Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, “pinwheel gardens” have been popping up around the country in an effort to bring awareness to child abuse, and a local display of pinwheels recently arose in a field next to the Old Lycoming Township Volunteer Fire Co.

The display is a cooperative effort of the Human Services and Restorative Justice Club at Pennsylvania College of Technology, Old Lycoming Township Police Department, Lycoming County Children & Youth Services, Tiadaghton Valley Regional Police, Pennsylvania State Police, and the Child Advocacy Center of the Central Susquehanna Valley, a division of Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital.

Representatives from the organizations gathered on Friday, April 22, to plant 500 of the traditionally blue pinwheels. The number of pinwheels represents the children assisted in the past year by LCYS.

Following the planting of 500 pinwheels in a field next to the Old Lycoming Township Volunteer Fire Co., participating community members and representatives from Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Human Services and Restorative Justice Club, Old Lycoming Township Police Department, Lycoming County Children & Youth Services, Tiadaghton Valley Regional Police, and Pennsylvania State Police Troop F pose for a photograph. Conducted during Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, the initiative aims to bring awareness to the topic of child abuse.
Following the planting of 500 pinwheels in a field next to the Old Lycoming Township Volunteer Fire Co., participating community members and representatives from Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Human Services and Restorative Justice Club, Old Lycoming Township Police Department, Lycoming County Children & Youth Services, Tiadaghton Valley Regional Police, and Pennsylvania State Police Troop F pose for a photograph. Conducted during Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, the initiative aims to bring awareness to the topic of child abuse.
Old Lycoming Twp. Police Office Robert Mausteller assists Richardson with the logistics of planting.
Old Lycoming Twp. Police Office Robert Mausteller assists Richardson with the logistics of planting.

“The idea of placing the pinwheels in the grass field between Dewey Avenue and Route 15 is to let everyone driving through Old Lycoming Township know that we will work in solidarity with our partner agencies to make victims of child abuse a priority in our communities,” said Chris Kriner, detective sergeant with Old Lycoming Township Police Department.

Blue eyes and blue pinwheels! Human services & restorative justice student Alicia Charlene Dobbs, of Williamsport, enjoys the spring outing with her son.
Blue eyes and blue pinwheels! Human services & restorative justice student Alicia Charlene Dobbs, of Williamsport, enjoys the spring outing with her son.

“This event honors the memory of past child victims, but it also brings needed awareness to the difficult topic of child abuse,” said Matthew Salvatori, administrator of Lycoming County Children & Youth Services. “We send a heartfelt thank you to our community partners for facilitating such an outing as we continue our mission of protecting the most vulnerable.”

For nearly 15 years, “Pinwheels for Prevention” gardens have been “planted” as a representative visual of children affected by child abuse and neglect and as a way of demonstrating a community’s efforts to support children and families. Pinwheels were adopted to personify a carefree childhood, and the blue color aligns with the blue ribbons that are a common symbol showing support for the issue. The pinwheels planted in the local initiative were obtained from Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania, a program of the PA Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics.

“What an honor it was to do something so impactful to raise awareness and partner with such important people in this community! The HSJ Club is thankful for the opportunity and looks forward to doing it again in future collaboration,” said Krystle J. Richardson, a human services & restorative justice student from Cogan Station who is president of the HSJ Club.

A young helper pitches in.
A young helper pitches in.
The Penn College contingent gathers with Margie Sauers (right), a caseworker with Lycoming County Children & Youth Services.
The Penn College contingent gathers with Margie Sauers (right), a caseworker with Lycoming County Children & Youth Services.

A new Penn College student organization, the HSJ Club has already made an impact in a variety of ways.

“Being that it’s our first semester, we can’t thank everyone enough for the support, connections and powerful impact that have been established,” Richardson said. “We have had several successful on- and off-campus events with the help of many valuable people in the community, as well as the help of some amazing Penn College faculty and staff.”

Sparkling in the sun, moving with the wind
Sparkling in the sun, moving with the wind

Penn College offers Associate of Applied Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in human services & restorative justice. To learn more, call the School of Business, Arts & Sciences at 570-327-4521.

For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free at 800-367-9222.

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