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Pinwheels bring attention to serious issue
Children's Advocacy Center Executive Director Cassell Davis stands amid the pinwheel garden on The Lot in observance of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. - photo by Seth Wright

It would be hard to go down Main Street this month without noticing the shiny blue pinwheels  located on The Lot across from City Hall. The attention-grabbing display has a purpose - to shine light on the plight of local survivors of child abuse.

Cassell Davis, executive director of the Children's  Advocacy Center for the 31st Judicial District, explained the need for this type of awareness. "Many survivors don't feel comfortable coming out and saying they are victims, so this is a way for us to show our silent support for those people," Davis said.

"Pinwheels for Prevention" is a nationwide effort which began in 2008. It is held in April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Locally, the campaign is spearheaded by the CAC. The pinwheels are scheduled to remain up through April 29 in conjunction with the Evening Exchange Club's Field of Flags.

The CAC is also gearing up for its largest fundraiser of the year coming up Saturday night. The CAC Gala will be held at Milner Recreation Center from 6 - 9 p.m. and is responsible for raising approximately 25 percent of CAC's yearly operating budget. 

The gala is a dinner with both a live and silent auction. "The funds raised from the gala are important because it allows us to provide programs and services to families for free. Since we work with victims of child abuse, we don't want them to have to worry about paying for anything. This event allows the community to help us help the families in this community," Davis said. A limited number of tickets for the gala remain.

CAC works with children who are victim of severe child abuse and works alongside the child protective investigative team, which includes law enforcement, the Department of Children's Services and the district attorney's office. The CAC staff members are specially trained to interview victims, to provide family advocacy and to offer trauma therapy.

"Carrie Farmer is our trauma therapist, Judith Almaguer is our forensic interviewer and Kristy Longmire is our family advocate," Davis added.

To purchase gala tickets or for more information about the Children's Advocacy Center, contact the CAC office at (931) 507-2386 or Davis at (931) 607-9170.