Tifton Gazette

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April 1, 2014

Buy a ribbon: raise awareness, fight child abuse

TIFTON — April is the Tift County Council on Child Abuse’s opportunity to involve local citizens in the national effort of supporting Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month and to bring awareness to the community that there are children who need their help.

During this month, blue ribbons can be purchased for $20 each in support of Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month. This donation provides prevention and awareness programs for the community.

According to Lillie McEntyre, executive director of the Tift County Commission on Children & Youth, the Blue Ribbon Campaign combines fundraising and awareness efforts and encourages citizens, businesses and organizations concerned about child abuse and neglect to purchase and display a blue ribbon on their door. Each ribbon has a tag stating, “This blue ribbon represents a commitment to join the fight against child abuse. Tift County Council on Child Abuse.”

In the spring of 1989, Bonnie Finney, a Norfolk, Va. grandmother, took a stand against child abuse when she tied a symbolic blue ribbon to her van as a signal to the community of her personal commitment to involve everyone in the battle to stop child abuse. Her own grandson, Michael Wayne “Bubba” Dickenson, was a tragic, young victim of child abuse. His death gave her blue ribbon its own inspiring message. Finney said the blue ribbon serves as a constant reminder to fight for protection for “our children.” The spirit of her blue ribbon grew until it inspired a statewide effort to prevent and stop child abuse in every town, city and county.

Tift County has a high rate of child abuse and neglect and was once one of the top five counties in the state for child abuse and neglect. In 2013, there were 506 child abuse/neglect reports in Tift County. The annual Pinwheel Ceremony will be held soon on the front lawn of the Tift County Courthouse. Each year, pinwheels representing those children who were abused or neglected in Tift County are displayed on the lawn as a reminder to everyone.

To find out more about how to help or to purchase a blue ribbon, call 388-1000, e-mail tc3y@friendlycity.net or stop by the TCCCY office at 418 N. Ridge Ave.

To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.

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