CAMP ZAMA, Japan (April 25, 2019) -- Yarid Prescott brought her son Jayson, 3, to Army Community Service's "Hands Are Not for Hurting" event April 24 to create a positive memory with him that will last a lifetime.

"Later on in life, you get to see their handprints and how they've grown," Prescott said of the plaster casts Jayson and the other attendees made. "That's pretty cool."

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month, and the event featured the plaster handprints as a way to emphasize the useful purposes of hands, said Amy Trotto, a family advocacy specialist and domestic violence victim advocate at ACS who helped organize the event.

The event took place on a Wednesday afternoon because that is family day at Camp Zama and children get out of school early, Trotto said.

"We want to be able to bring the families in so they have a positive activity with their children," Trotto said.

Prescott attended with her friend Jacqueline Bahadur, who brought her daughter Jade, 9, and son Marcus, 6.

"We saw it online and we like to do activities with the kids, so we wanted to come do something with them," Bahadur said.

Jade said she liked putting her hand in the plaster and holding it there until she had a print of her hand. She would have to wait at least 24 hours until bringing it home, however, so it could dry.

Stan Austin, manager of the Family Advocacy Program, said those who made plaster casts could pick them up the next day and decorate them at ACS with markers or paint or bring them home to decorate.

Or, he said, they could just hang them up with no decoration; the main idea was to leave with an object that will remind participants of the positive uses of hands.

"Too many times, individuals use their hands for hitting, or hurting, instead of for helping … and if that happens, then what it teaches a kid is that hands are for hitting, and we want to avoid that," Austin said. "Oftentimes when kids see that, then that's how they (behave when they) grow up."

Trotto said ACS has a wide range of classes designed to enhance interpersonal skills and prevent family violence. Those interested in learning more can visit the Camp Zama ACS website at https://zama.armymwr.com/programs/army-community-service.

In addition, ACS will host a Mother's Day event from 1 to 3 p.m. May 1 at Building 402 where participants will plant wild flower seeds in peat moss, and on May 8 from 3 to 5 p.m., the organization will host a Community Baby Shower, also at Building 402. Those interested in the baby shower should RSVP at DSN (315) 263-4357 by April 30.

For more information, call ACS at DSN (315) 263-4357 or 011-81-46-407-4357 from overseas.