April is National Child Abuse Prevention month, and the Human Development and Family Relations Student Organization, along with the Phi Upsilon Omicron National Honor Society, will host the second annual Child Abuse Prevention Walk at Plattsburgh State.

The event will take place at the Field House Saturday, April 23 from 10 a.m. to noon. Students and community members must pay $3 to participate, and all of the proceeds will go directly to Prevent Child Abuse America, PCAA.

PCAA was founded in 1972 and helps nearly 85,000 families every year through its Health Families America program.

The organization’s mission is to prevent child abuse before it starts in order to help children to grow and have the opportunity to contribute in their communities, according to its website.
PSUC junior human development and family relations major Krista Honey said HDFR is expecting over 50 volunteers to assist them with the walk.

One of those volunteers is PSUC sophomore HDFR major Brett Jones. He said he has strong ties to the cause.

Jones is from the Albany area, which is where the New York State chapter of PCAA is located.

“My high school did a number of fundraisers for PCAA,” he said. “Doing research in child abuse really made me appreciate everything that my parents and family do for me.

The team started planning the event last year, and the goal for this years event is to exceed last years donation of $400.

The HDFR Student Organization reached out to a number of organizations within the Plattsburgh community. Those that will be tabling at the event will be The Caregiver Center, JCEO Head Start, The Child Care Council, Adirondack Helping Hands, UVM Health Network/CVPH Medical Center and The Senior Citizens Council, among others.

Honey said she hopes the organizations, alongside PCAA, will continue to spread the message of preventing child abuse before it can happen through education.

Honey said members of the honor society and student organization will also be fundraising through dorm storming.

PSUC junior HDFR major and a member of the organization Allyssa Theobald hopes this year’s walk will have a good turn out with the combined efforts of the organizations.

“Last year, we were able to get the wheels turning,” Theobald said. “We hope to get more people this year than we did last year, and next year we hope to get even more.”

Theobald said HDFR students interns at JCEO Head Start were able to send out pamphlets to people who live in the area in hopes that the event would get more attention from the Plattsburgh community.

Theobald and other members of the organization have made over 100 blue ribbons to hand out to participants at the event. The blue ribbon campaign uses the sale of blue ribbons to raise awareness for child abuse. The campaign began in 1989 in Virginia and has spread across the country over the years.

Theobald said there will be activities for children at the event, such as a face painting booth, temporary tattoo station and photo booth. Theobald said she hopes the event will allow students outside of the education, social work and HDFR majors to learn more about the issue.

“I think that it’s a topic that isn’t really talked about on a college campus unless you’re an education major or in the HDFR major,” she said. “Getting the topic into the open and not keeping it as a hushed up kind of thing is very important.”

Anyone interested in volunteering is requested to be at the Field House by 9 a.m. the morning of the event.

Email Madison Winters at madison.winters@cardinalpointsonline.com

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