BARTLESVILLE, Okla. – Ray of Hope Advocacy Center unveils plans throughout April that will honor Child Abuse Awareness Month locally.
In April, Ray of Hope plans to place 257 pinwheels in the green space at Unity Square. Each pinwheel represents a confirmed victim of child abuse in the Bartlesville area during 2020.
“The numbers can feel overwhelming when you think about our tight-knit community,” Rhonda Hudson, executive director of Ray of Hope, said. “However, we are thankful that these children’s stories have come to light as they safely move forward toward healing and hope.”
The Bartlesville City Council also plans to make an official proclamation April 5th declaring April Child Abuse Awareness Month in Bartlesville.
“We are elated that the City of Bartlesville has chosen to declare April as Child Abuse Awareness Month,” Colin Goodhart, board president of Ray of Hope, said. “People often turn a blind eye to child abuse in our world today. We want to shine a light on the hope and support that Ray of Hope and individuals in our city and state provide, while working together to reduce child abuse every day. Child Abuse Awareness Month is a time for all of us to come together to build a supportive environment, and we’re glad we can do that here in Bartlesville.”
Traditionally, Ray of Hope hosts h’ART of a Child to recognize the month and raise awareness. The free family event features age-appropriate art stations and draws more than 400 children and family members annually.
Hudson says Ray of Hope is postponing the 2021 h’ART of a Child due to risks associated with COVID-19. The committee hopes the event can take place this summer.
“2020 was a year unlike any other we have seen,” Hudson said. “More than ever, we realized the how much we rely on child abuse reports from professionals like teachers, doctors and caregivers as well as community members, coaches, friends and family. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep children in our community safe.”
Hudson adds that in Oklahoma, every adult is a mandated child abuse reporter and urges anyone who suspects abuse or neglect to call the Oklahoma Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-522-3511.
Ray of Hope is a multi-service organization that is committed to helping adult and child survivors and their families find the services they need in one place to recover from child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, teen dating violence, and stalking. Their mission is to facilitate a coordinated, community response and to provide hope and support to children and families impacted by abuse.
For more information about Child Abuse Awareness Month or Ray of Hope Advocacy Center, visit www.rayofhopeac.org. To report concern for a child, please call the OKDHS Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-522-3511.