Community efforts are “Hatching Hope” and making a difference in the fight against child abuse through an awareness and fundraising effort that not only raises money but gives a visual reminder of the prevalence of child abuse.
To help the fight during Child Abuse Prevention Month, eleven local businesses, Junior Service League and Parents Day Out at Broadway United Methodist participated in “Hatching Hope” throughout April by selling colored eggs for $1 donations. The eggs were then hung on the tree outside New Hope, located at 212 Cates Street.
Hatching Hope, which was coordinated by Blount County CAC board member, Melinda Headrick and her 12-year-old daughter, Grace, generated community awareness and raised $700 for New Hope, which provides services for free to children and their protective families. In 2009, the average cost to help one child was $946, which includes interviews, medical exams, counseling, prevention education, and intervention on behalf of the child.
The colorful fundraiser was such a success as a first time event that New Hope is nominating Hatching Hope for a National Children’s Alliance award, Headrick said, which could earn the Blount County CAC a $20,000 grant.
Williams Cleaners was the VIP campaign vendor and sold the most eggs. Other participating businesses of Hatching Hope included Boyd-Thomas, Dandy Lions Gifts, El Jimador Restaurant, First United Methodist Church, Ginger’s Plant Stand, Linda’s Hair Duplex, Pokeys, The Village Tinker and Watson Family Dentistry.
According to an article in the March issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, there was a marked decline in certain childhood violence and abuse exposure from 2003 to 2008, including physical assaults, peer and sibling victimizations, bullying and psychological and emotional abuse by caregivers.
The article examined evidence from two national surveys, in which researchers attribute the declines in childhood violence and abuse exposure to community efforts and responses.
“Many of the survey results are good news for those of us on the front lines,” said Trudy Hughes, executive director of New Hope-Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center. “
The studies showed peer/sibling victimization declined, particularly with regard to physical bullying and, to a lesser degree, emotional bullying. Results also showed a significant decline in psychological and emotional abuse; and a total victimization decline for children of lower socioeconomic status by 19 percent.
However, not all the news was positive. The study indicated no significant change in rates of victimization from 2003 to 2008 in kidnapping, bias attacks (assaults targeting race, religion or perceived sexual orientation), physical abuse and neglect by caregivers, dating violence, sexual abuse by known and unknown adults, the witnessing of domestic violence, and exposures to a shooting. Additionally, robbery and witnessing the physical abuse of a sibling showed significant increases.
“There is still work to be done,” Hughes said. “The fight against child abuse and childhood exposure to violence continues, but can be won with community education and support.”
New Hope - Blount County CAC is the one safe place where child victims of physical and/or sexual abuse can tell their story one time to one person. Without the CAC, abused children must tell and retell their story multiple times, in multiple places to multiple people.
New Hope, which is one of 43 CACs in Tennessee, is nationally accredited and offers a friendly, warm setting for children and their protective family members. Since opening it’s doors in 2003, the New Hope has served more than 1,500 children and their families. For more information about Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center, visit www.blountkids.org.