In recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month, NeuroRestorative Carbondale partnered with Caritas Family Solutions on its Blue Kids campaign to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect during the month of April. Participants in NeuroRestorative’s Carbondale, Ill., woodshop produced more than 70 blue wooden cutouts resembling children, which were placed outside businesses and other locations throughout southern Illinois.
“The participants who worked on the Blue Kids were excited to participate. It was an opportunity for them to give back,” said Ed Johnson, manager of the woodshop. “We’re always looking for ways to give back to the community.”
The Blue Kids campaign reached out to service providers, businesses and other community members to help distribute the Blue Kids, which represent real children who have experienced abuse and neglect. Now in its second year, the campaign focuses on educating the community about the need for abuse prevention and the role individuals can play in helping protect children. The project had personal meaning for Johnson, who fostered and adopted a child through Caritas. For him, it was an opportunity to educate the community about the reality of child abuse and the resources available to help children heal and thrive.
“When Caritas contacted me about participating, I wanted to help. Child abuse is on the rise in this area, and this was a chance to make a difference,” he said.
The Carbondale woodshop enables individuals with traumatic brain injury and other neurological challenges to build and practice vocational skills by making wooden items such as chairs for sale. According to Johnson, many items made in the shop are donated to local foster families and community organizations such as Caritas.
NeuroRestorative is a partner of The MENTOR Network.
Caritas Family Solutions is a nonprofit, social services agency based in Belleville, Ill., providing adoption, pregnancy care, foster care, counseling and other services. For more information, visit www.caritasfamilysolutions.org.