A blue ribbon month to fight child abuse

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 14, 2005

If you’ve seen blue ribbons appearing on the doors of local businesses or on the mailboxes of area residents, it doesn’t mean there has been a bonanza of baby boy births.

What is does signify is an opportunity to help an area child in need.

April is Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month, and the Children’s Advocacy Center, Safe Harbor, is once again selling its signature blue ribbons to promote community awareness of this important subject.

&uot;We started our Blue Ribbon Campaign at the same time we opened the center in 1997. It’s a way to allow the community to show support of the Children’s Advocacy Center,&uot; said Safe Harbor Director Kathy Smyth.

The $10 price of each ribbon goes directly to important child services, she says.

&uot;This includes forensic interviews, evaluations, counseling and play therapy for children who have been victims of abuse or who have witnessed crimes,&uot; explains Smyth.

She said Safe Harbor has largely depended on volunteers, staff members and board members to &uot;get the word out&uot; concerning the campaign in the past and is now expanding its horizons.

&uot;We started this with the business community but we are now extending to the residential community to further raise awareness of this cause,&uot; Smyth says.

The numbers indicate the need for child services is there, the Safe Harbor director says.

&uot;We served over 200 children last year in the Butler, Crenshaw and Lowndes County area. The Blue Ribbon Campaign is not a large-scale fundraiser, but we feel it is a great way for anyone who wants to get involved in helping these children, to do so. We’ve kept our price at $10 to keep it in reach of everyone,&uot; explains Smyth.

Safe Harbor supporter Susan Murphy is one of the locals happy to display a Blue Ribbon on her home’s mailbox.

&uot;I’d love to see more folks buy these ribbons – it’s a reasonable price and it certainly goes for such a good cause,&uot; says Murphy.

The Blue Ribbon Campaign will continue through the end of April. Safe Harbor is offering a second fundraiser on April 21 with its popular Lunch Box Delivery.

The boxes, which are delivered to your office or business, include chicken salad, yeast roll, fresh fruit bowl, a bag of chips, pickles, dessert, napkin, utensils and a mint-flavored toothpick, all for only $6.

&uot;We appreciate everyone’s support for both the Blue Ribbon Campaign and the upcoming Lunch Box Delivery,&uot; says Smyth. To pre-order lunches or purchase a blue ribbon, you can contact Kathy Smyth at Safe Harbor at 382-8584 or stop by their office at 107 Caldwell Street in Greenville.