One thousand blue pinwheels spin in the wind, reflecting sunlight on the lawn of the Anson County Courthouse.
The toys are a sign of childhood playfulness and innocence — but in April, they are bittersweet.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and to promote awareness of child abuse and neglect, volunteers helped staff of the Anson County Partnership for Children place the pinwheels on the courthouse lawn early in the morning on April 3.
The pinwheels became a national sign of child abuse prevention in 2008, when Prevent Child Abuse America named it the new symbol of the cause through Pinwheels for Prevention, according to preventchildabuse.org.
“Pinwheels symbolize childhood happiness and are a physical reminder of the bright futures all children deserve,” the Partnership said in a press release.
The Partnership and volunteers put a banner about Child Abuse Prevention Month on the lawn with the pinwheels to promote awareness of the problem.
Karen Baucom, director of the Anson County Domestic Violence Coalition, County Manager Megan Garner and her daughter, Macie, Dr. Fred Thompson, director of the Anson County Health Department, and Megan Sellers and Shelby Emrich with the Anson County Chamber of Commerce all helped set up the pinwheels. Megan Garner is a member of the Anson County Partnership for Children board, and Thompson is the board chair.
Week of the Young Child
While April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Week of the Young Child, a time to celebrate kids, falls within the same month in the first week.
The Partnership began the week by putting up the pinwheels on April 3, then, the next day, more than 500 children and teachers participated in a parade.
The group paraded near the Ansonia Theatre in downtown Wadesboro before the children went inside for a performance of, “The Commedia Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”
The Children’s Theatre of Charlotte put on the play that morning for the children, followed by two other performances.
“The children in the audience laughed and cheered at the antics of the actors,” the Partnership said in a release. “Some of the children enjoyed the play so much that they returned with their parents and other family members to watch the final performance in the evening.”
During the parade, many of the children and their teachers dressed as the seven dwarves and Snow White. One adult pushed a model of a mine cart complete with gems.
Deborah Davis, the Partnership’s current Champion for Children, led the parade.
“We have someone who has always done everything they need to to wear that title, because she has worked awfully hard,” Bonnie Morgan, the Partnership’s childhood literacy and outreach coordinator, said.
The Partnership will name the 2017 Champion at its childcare provider banquet later this month. The community nominated potential honorees, and the Partnership’s executive committee will select the winner. Morgan said that Davis will speak at the banquet.
Morgan said she was pleased with the parade.
“The weather was beautiful,” she said. “Last year, we had to call off the parade for the first time. (This year), we had more than 500 children in the parade. It was a safe and fun event for the children and everyone who attended.”
The Partnership began planning the parade and Snow White performances several months ago.
“Planning for this event began in the fall of 2016 when all classes that participate in the Raising a Reader bookbag program were given a copy of the book, ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,’ as well as a study guide and lesson plan activities from the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte containing ideas to enhance the live performance and make connections in the classrooms both before and after the performance,” the Partnership said in the release. “Dedicated teachers and assistants, along with talented and generous volunteers in the community, brought the dream to a reality for the children in Anson County.”
The Partnership thanked both the Anson County Arts Council and Anson Family Optometric for co-sponsoring the parade and theater performances.
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.