April is Child Abuse Prevention Month across the nation. Focusing on prevention is a most noble calling. Learning from mistakes is valuable, but keeping bad things from happening is an even higher priority.
Here is a menu of eight options we can consider to prevent violence and promote safety at home and in our community:
1. Pay attention to recognize the signs of family violence, child and elder abuse and neglect.
2. Educate families, children, neighbors, organizations and communities on how to prevent abuse and neglect and promote positive parenting.
3. Assist families in practicing healthy parenting through education and community resources. Healthy Families America is an example of an excellent voluntary program model. When you visit the site, you can select a state for more localized contact info.
4. Volunteer for an organization that helps children and their families. Guardian ad litem and CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) are especially focused on representing children in the court system. Visit Nationalcasa.org and you can locate a local program.
5. Invite a speaker to your organization, workplace or place of worship to spread the word about the threat of family violence and how to keep all our family members safe.
6. Mentor a child who is at risk or visit with a lonely elder. Become a beacon of hope for someone who needs kindness and consideration. Visit Nationalservice.org for a menu of opportunities to get involved and give the gifts of time and talent to others.
7. Give personal support to a mother or father in need or to a caregiver of an elder experiencing stress.
8. Support advocacy organizations and communicate with elected officials in support of parent education, abuse prevention, health care, victim’s rights and access to quality services across the generations.
Across the generations, our humanity is rooted in the respect we have for others and the energy we exert to make a difference. Advocacy is about giving voice to the causes that need our attention.
Jack Levine, founder of 4Generations Institute, previously served as President of Voices for Florida’s Children for 25-years. His expertise is in developing and delivering messages to the media, public officials, and a diverse network of advocates on the value of preventive investments in children, parent leadership, grandparent activism, and dignified services for elders. Contact: Jack@4Gen.org or www.4Gen.org.