By Cheryl Harrison, Army Community Service MarketingApril 8, 2010
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- A kick-off ceremony April 1 at Army Community Service focused on protecting children, as April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Month of the Military Child.
Guests included more than 30 children from the Child Development Center, the Fort Sam Houston Elementary School Exemplary Choir and Dance Team, Cole Middle and High School students, along with parents, post leadership, Soldiers, medical students and civilians.
"We are here today to emphasize that every month is Child Abuse Awareness Month and every month is Military Child Month," said guest speaker Col. Mary Garr, garrison commander.
"Every day, we have children who die or are abused in our country. There is no excuse for any child to be hurt physically or emotionally for any reason. We take the month of April to emphasize this awareness."
"You've heard it takes a village to raise a child, and we have here a village," Garr continued.
"Military children are very special and we have the challenge to protect them. We are here to take care of that. It's important to recognize this and we have many events coming up for children and Families that help to emphasize importance of this awareness."
Puppets "Nam" and "Steven" educated the audience with the story of Steven's abuse at the hands of his mother. The puppets talked about telling someone if they are being hurt or abused, not being afraid to tell, and that help is available.
Most of the students who entered the art contest at the Fort Sam Houston Cole Middle and High School were also present. The theme of the contest was Child Abuse Protection and Awareness.
Cole Middle School winners were Kristina Lovrie, first, Mikayla DuBreuil, second, and Francesca Lee, third. Cole High School winners were Michael Scott, first, Sharon Martie, second, and Jasmine Freeman, third.
Terry Frost, non-appropriated funds support services manager, presented AAFES gift cards and certificates, and tickets to the San Antonio Zoo and Natural Bridge Caverns to the winners.
Cole Middle and High School art teacher Rita Hansen was awarded a certificate of appreciation for providing guidance to her students during the art contest.
The art work will be on display at ACS, Building 2797 throughout April.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Family Advocacy Program Manager Marjorie Loya reiterated the importance of awareness and reporting suspected child abuse or neglect.