Blue ribbons are coming to friend near you

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 10, 2006

By Kari Lucin, staff writer

Blue ribbons are being distributed throughout the area this month to raise awareness of child abuse and neglect, as National Child Abuse Prevention Month gets under way.

&8220;Child abuse is 100 percent preventable, and it’s everyone’s responsibility as a society to get involved,&8221; said Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota Program Coordinator Barb Sorum.

Sporting a ribbon shows support for preventing child abuse, and calls attention to the plight of its victims, encouraging people to get involved before it happens.

People can help by knowing the warning signs of abuse and reporting it to authorities, by learning positive parenting skills and reaching out to neighbors. Supporting families under stress can help reduce the risk of child abuse.

&8220;Our goal is to get the word out about prevention, and encourage people to actively seek solutions to end child abuse,&8221; Sorum said. &8220;Every child deserves to be safe and nurtured.&8221;

The Blue Ribbon Campaign began in 1989, when grandmother Virginia Bonnie W. Finney tied a blue ribbon to her van’s antenna. When people asked about it, she told them the story of how her grandchildren were abused, and how the abuse led to the death of her grandson.

Millions of people have participated in the campaign since it began.

&8220;Children who experience abuse and neglect are more likely to become involved with the juvenile corrections system, do less well in school and have an increased probability of future violent acts against family members,&8221; Sorum said. &8220;We need to stop the violence.&8221;

The ribbons are available in sticker form in most stores in Northbridge Mall, as well as many area grocery stores, businesses and other shopping locations.

People who want to do more to help can join HUGS, the county’s child abuse prevention council, and should contact Barb Sorum at 377-7665.