ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Children who attend the Aberdeen Proving Ground Child Development Centers were treated to a "Hands Are Not For Hitting" puppet show Oct. 6 and 13.

This activity is just one of the activities and events that commemorate this year's Department of the Army Domestic Violence Awareness Month theme, "Imagine an Army Free of Domestic Abuse: Prepare, Prevent, Protect," sponsored by the Army Community Service Family Advocacy Program.

Communities across the nation are launching campaigns during the month of October to create awareness of domestic abuse, ways to prevent it and resources that are available to help women, men and children affected by domestic abuse.

Kimberly Williams, installation victim advocate, and Aida Rivera, ACS Family Advocacy Program manager, with the help of puppets named Tiffany and Mike, talked to the children about positive things that can be done with hands like clapping, hugging, washing, waving and drawing. Rivera and Williams stressed that hands should only be used for positive behavior and should never be used for hitting.

"We keep our hands to ourselves," they sang and then clapped. The puppet show was based on the award winning children's book "Hands Are Not for Hitting," by Martine Agassi that offers children an alternative to hitting and hurtful behavior by showing them in pictures positive uses for hands.

Rivera said that every year the Family Advocacy Program visits the CDC with an activity to teach the children nonviolence.

"In an effort to eliminate domestic violence, we want to teach the children when they are very young that hitting isn't acceptable behavior," she said. "They are never too young to start learning this important message."

At the end of the presentation the children received purple Domestic Violence Awareness wristbands.

The DVAM activities concluded with a Candlelight Vigil 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Aberdeen Area Chapel Oct. 27 to commemorate victims who died as a result of abuse and to celebrate survivors. For more information, contact Aida Rivera, ACS Family Advocacy Program Manager, at 410-278-7478 or e-mail aida.rivera@conus. army.mil.