When they weren’t loading boxes of food into clients’ cars Wednesday afternoon, Broomfield FISH volunteers were planting pinwheels around the building, which is closed during the COVID-19 crisis but is serving clients via a makeshift drive-thru.
The blue and silver toys are intended to serve as a visual reminder of a “great childhood,” according to Prevent Child Abuse America.
The Pinwheels For Prevention campaign, a national effort that named the pinwheel as a symbol for child abuse prevention, aims to help abused children get the support they need. Jessica Jones, director of Broomfield Early Childhood Council, said the goal also is to provide resources for parents so abuse or neglect doesn’t happen in the first place.
Typically members of the Broomfield Early Childhood Council would hold in-person visits, and classroom coaching and training sessions, but since March 16 has moved as much of that as possible online because of novel coronavirus concerns.
“We’re trying to find a new way to keep families engaged,” Jones said.
Of the 800 pinwheels the Early Childhood Council ordered — and had planned to showcase at the Paul Derda Recreation Center, George Di Ciero City and County Building, Mamie Doud Eisenhower Public Library, Broomfield Community Center, Broomfield Health and Human Services, as well as at partner agency facilities around town — only 200 have been handed out to partners.
Most of those agencies, including Bal Swan Children’s Center and Young Dentistry For Children, have closed shopin response to the pandemic and employees are instead planting pinwheels at their homes to spread “the color and awareness everywhere in Broomfield,” Jones said.
“When you see the pinwheels planted around town this month, please remember that child abuse is preventable,” the Early Childhood Council states on its website.
On March 31, Mayor Patrick Quinn proclaimed April Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month in Broomfield. The declaration coincides with the national effort that recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect and promotes the social and emotional well-being of children and families, according to the Children’s Bureau within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Each year, the White House and many states issue proclamations to raise awareness and to encourage communities to take steps to improve the well-being of children, according to the Children’s Bureau website.
The hope is seeing the pinwheels around Broomfield increases awareness and drives people to broomfieldecc.org, where they can learn about the five protective factors to strengthen families and links to resources, Jones said.
The site is a place where parents and caregivers can go to help them understand what they need to have in order to strengthen families, Jones said.
Now more than ever, when it’s most difficult to achieve, it’s important parents and caregivers are able to connect with someone that may be going through the same things, she said.
“It helps to ground you a bit and helps you know you’re not alone and isolated,” Jones said, which “at this time is really hard to do.”
One group, Illuminate Colorado, has a Facebook page where families can find parent support groups, she said. Another resource is circleofparents.org.
The Early Childhood Council also is working with the library to help families access services.
“All of these things are critical during this virus episode and also in everyday life,” Jones said.”We’re helping families understand this is what you have in place and the resources to get them.”
This week the Early Childhood Council also became a distribution center for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Mile High United Way. It will work with licensed child care providers to offer wipes, diapers, cleaning solutions and formula once child care centers reopen. FISH and A Precious Child also received items from FEMA and Mile High United Way.
The Early Childhood Council received 22,800 diapers and expects to receive about 20,000 packages of wipes and 600 cases of formula.
For more information about the Early Childhood Council and its work call 303-903-9295. Donations can be be made to the council through its website, and those who donate can email email@example.com to request pinwheels for delivery. Learn more at broomfieldecc.org.