The inaugural Pinwheels for Prevention parade was held on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall March 30 to kick off Child Abuse Prevention Month which runs through the month of April.
Four and five-year-old children from the Orioles B preschool class and Robins A Strong Beginnings class at the Cody Child Development Center on JBM-HH gathered in the CDC gym with staff members, personnel from Army Community Service, Marine Corps Community Service and command leadership for brief remarks prior to the parade.
ACS Family Advocacy Program Manager Kelly Smith welcomed everyone and asked children young and old to repeat the phrase, “You are smart. You are kind and you are important,” before she introduced JBM-HH Commander, Col. Carl R. Coffman. Deputy Joint Base Commander, Lt. Col. Jennifer L. Blair sat with the children and helped those seated next to her repeat the words they learned.
After he had the children reaffirm the phrase they had recited moments earlier, Coffman told the children “You are the most important people here today.” He welcomed everyone to the 2012 Child Abuse Prevention Month kickoff and told everyone the theme this year is “It’s no secret, everyone can help. Keep Army children safe and healthy.”
Coffman introduced Rebecca Bek from the organization Stop Child Abuse Now, who explained the significance of the pinwheels, which represent abused children. “The pinwheel is something we as adults think about when we think about our childhood,” Bek said. “It’s really thinking about our community, how we can all come together and how we all matter.”
Led by The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, Staff Sgt. William Parks and Spc. Troy Paolantonio on fifes and drummer Staff Sgt. Brian Barnhardt played patriotic music. They were followed by about 80 children, holding blue pinwheels and marching from the CDC to the JBM-HH Post Exchange with child care providers, Coffman, Blair, Bek, Smith, ACS and other JBM-HH personnel. Additional children and staff from the CDC’s Bldg. T42 joined the parade at Memorial Chapel.
A pinwheel garden, constructed by exchange employee Freddy Rodriquez, was on display in the front of the exchange. Children placed their pinwheels in the faux garden, where it will be on display during April.
The Pentagram will cover additional events all month long for Child Abuse Prevention Month and The Month of the Military Child. For more photos, visit www.flickr.com/photos/JBM-HH.