Joining Forces to Fight Child Abuse

Getting ready for the April 14th event are Detective Dawn Welch, Lisa Moore, Detective Lesley Vaught, Detective Sergeant Tim Morris, David Lanagan, Sheriff Troy Nehls and Jonita Reynolds. Photo courtesy of Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office.

Child Advocates of Fort Bend, Exchange Club of Sugar Land and the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office are collaborating to bring awareness about April Child Abuse Awareness Month. Hosted by the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, The Pinwheel Project will be held at Homestead Park at 1422 Eugene Heimann Circle in Richmond, directly across from the Justice Center. This free community event is fun for the whole family. There will be food, games, inflatable bounce houses, face painting, a train, a petting zoo, music, prize giveaways and more. And when the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office’s fifth annual Pinwheel Project starts on Saturday, April 14th, it will open with Light of Hope.

“For fifteen years, Child Advocates of Fort Bend and Exchange Club of Sugar Land have partnered to bring awareness to April Child Abuse Awareness Month with Light of Hope,” stated Child Advocates of Fort Bend CEO Ruthanne Mefford. “We work very closely with the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. In fact, they have an investigative unit housed in our building. We have supported The Pinwheel Project since its inception by hosting a booth, running games and providing materials and child abuse awareness information, and we were absolutely thrilled when they offered us the opportunity this year to use our Light of Hope to open their fifth annual Pinwheel Project.”

The Pinwheel Project is a free, fun, family day with activities for all ages. The community event is the brainchild of Lesley Vaught, a detective with the Special Crimes Unit at the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. Vaught, who has been with the Sheriff’s office for 12 years, developed the project with her unit five years ago.  When they determined that they needed to do more to raise awareness of child abuse in Fort Bend County, the Special Crimes Unit created the Pinwheel Project in observance of Child Abuse Awareness month.

“Child abuse is something that so many people do not want to talk about, and it gets ignored,” said Vaught. “The Pinwheel Project is so important to me because it brings our community together and lets others know that we are here and we do care. It gives people the opportunity to learn the signs of child abuse and how to report.”

Although child abuse knows no season, April is designated as National Child Abuse Awareness Month. Some of the ways to participate in Child Abuse Awareness Month include wearing a blue ribbon, helping to pass out blue ribbons, posting child abuse prevention materials in your place of business and inviting Child Advocates of Fort Bend to talk to your group about child abuse. For more information, call 281-341-9955 or visit www.cafb.org.