Creston, IA—Southwestern Community College (SWCC) Parents as Teachers, the Southern Prairie YMCA, and Prevent Child Abuse Iowa are joining communities across the state during April 2019 to celebrate the importance of social connections and strengthen social well-being during Child Abuse Prevention Month.

As part of this effort, and to promote caring connections and strong communities during Child Abuse Prevention Month, SWCC Parents as Teachers will participate in the Southern Prairie YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day on April 27, from 9 a.m.–12 p.m., at the YMCA in Creston. Healthy Kids Day is a national initiative to improve the health and well-being of children. The event is free and open to the public with resources for families’ and fun hands-on activities for children.

“We will be at the Southern Prairie YMCA on April 27 to bring attention to the simple ways you and I can create caring connections in our community,” said Kristie Nixon, SWCC ECE and PAT director. “Our children are our future and if we take action not just in April but every day, we can go a long way toward creating stronger communities where abuse and neglect never occur.”

During April, SWCC PAT invites community members to get involved by:
• Participating in Wearing Blue Day on April 5 - #WearBlue and show your support for #GreatChildhoods as we raise awareness during #CAPMonth. Today and every day - it's up to all of us to help prevent child abuse.
• Attending SWCC PAT Blockfest with your young children on April 9 at 5:30 p.m. or 6:45 p.m. at SWCC. Call 641-782-1449 to register your family.
• Registering for Crisis Intervention and Advocacy’s “Nurturing Health Sexual Development” training at SWCC in Osceola on April 15 from 6-8 p.m. This training is FREE and you can register at https://ace.swcciowa.edu/modules/shop/index.html.
• Attending the SWCC ECE and Clarke County Prevent Child Abuse Council’s Connections Matter training on April 25 at SWCC in Osceola from 7-8 p.m. Learn how the everyday connections you make with people can help to prevent child abuse and make a difference for you and our community.
• Attending Healthy Kids Day at the YMCA on April 27 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Agencies and individuals across sectors are encouraged to know the warning signs of children’s mental health issues to support community efforts to improve mental health development for children.

Mental health is connected to social, emotional, and cognitive development and is a foundation for a healthy life, healthy community, and healthy state. When children’s mental health needs are met, they are more likely to do better in school, graduate from school, and are more likely to be healthy, productive adults in our communities.

Caring and supportive relationships are the keys to strengthening social well-being, a primary indicator of overall health and an essential factor in preventing child abuse and neglect.

The architecture of a child’s brain is built over time. Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) such as community violence or parental substance abuse can damage brain architecture, but secure, loving relationships, stimulating experiences, and healthy environments can build a solid foundation to support children into adulthood. Health promotion, prevention, and early intervention for children’s mental health needs, particularly when experiencing ACEs, is essential to aid in healthy development.

Social supports and caring connections strengthen families, mitigating the negative outcomes of childhood trauma and reduces the risk of child abuse or neglect. Connected communities have lower crime rates, better physical and mental health, and less money is spent on treating social problems.
SWCC PAT works to prevent child abuse by providing parent education and family support to families prenatally until children enter kindergarten. SWCC PAT reaches 70 families each year, creating the connections children need to grow into healthy adults.

Community members can take action for child abuse prevention year-round by participating or volunteering for local early childhood programs, helping a friend or family member in need, learning the signs and reporting suspected child abuse, mentoring, and donating to prevention programs such as the Southern Prairie YMCA, Prevent Child Abuse Iowa, or SWCC PAT.

ABOUT SWCC Parents as Teachers
SWCC Parents as Teachers is a family support program that collaborates with community partners and families to prevent child abuse and provide services to families prenatally through age five in Union, Adams, and Adair counties.

To learn more, contact Kristie Nixon, SWCC ECE/PAT director at Southwestern Community College,
641.782.1308. Follow us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ECEatSWCC/

About Prevent Child Abuse Iowa/Connections Matter
Since 1975, Prevent Child Abuse Iowa has served its mission of leading child abuse prevention efforts in Iowa by building awareness, providing assistance, and promoting advocacy. It is the only statewide organization dedicated to preventing child abuse and the only consistent voice for child abuse prevention during the state legislative session. Prevent Child Abuse Iowa manages state and federal grant programs that contribute financial support to community groups that provide services to families. Prevent Child Abuse Iowa is based in Des Moines, but has partnerships in nearly every county throughout Iowa. It is an affiliate of Prevent Child Abuse America. For more information, call 515.244.2200, or visit www.pcaiowa.org.

 

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