The lives of children were celebrated Saturday at Vidant Edgecombe Hospital as part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Dozens of families gathered on the hospital’s campus and around the track to engage in the many learning activities and resources provided (made available)on Blue Ribbon Kidz Day.
The family-friendly event was begun in 2009 for the purpose of bringing persons involved in the lives of children together for one goal … to gather the community together to help prevent child abuse and to also promote a safe living environment for children and their families.
“It was very important for me to come out to support the community,” Jessica Knox said as she watched her children, Katelyn, 4, and Jackson, 2, play in the bounce house. “I was happy that the community did have something for the children to make parents aware of abuse and how to prevent it. It’s just a cause that is near and dear to my heart. I have two children that I care about very much and I want them to know how to be safe.”
Like Knox, others in the community thought the program was both timely and beneficial.
“I came out here with my nephew, niece, daughter and son to Kidz Day, because I just think it’s a good opportunity to bring children out and show them different things that are going on in the community,” Elizabeth Davis added. “Here, they can learn and have fun.”
Well-known characters like Ronald McDonald and Spiderman were on-hand and told jokes, demonstrated magic tricks and took pictures with children. Many of the youths appeared to be overly excited to be able to interact with other children and exercise on a warm sunny day.
The area around the track was full of tables and manned by representatives from local agencies. In addition, there were other activities, such as face painting and a super slide. Members of the Tarboro Police Department and Tarboro Fire Department were present and available to share information about gun, fire and child safety. Vidant’s East Care air ambulance and a critical care ground transport unit were also on-hand for youngsters to tour and have their pictures taken.
In order to be able to help people understand the impact of child abuse, a clothesline filled with children’s clothing was placed near the middle of the field. Blue and yellow beach buckets filled with sand and blue pinwheels surrounded the clothesline. The image of clothes blowing in the wind represented children who are abused and those who have died as a result of child abuse.
More than 100 persons participated in the event, according to Ernie Glover, Vidant Edgecombe nurse manager for Women and Children Services.
“I’m so excited with the turnout,” she said. “I love seeing all of these children laughing and playing and families engaging in the fun. The ultimate goal of today is for people to walk away feeling a sense of excitement about being parents and realizing the responsibility and the magic that children bring to our lives, because they have a direct impact in our future.”