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Blueming for Prevention brings community together against child abuse

The Blueming for Prevention event, organized by Safe Haven in Statesboro, Georgia, brought together the community for the fourth consecutive year to raise awareness about child abuse and domestic violence. Through a lineup of speakers, attendees were reminded of the pervasive nature of these issues and the urgent need for collective action.

In honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Safe Haven, a local domestic violence shelter, and Child Advocacy Services organized the annual Blueming for Prevention event on April 25th. For four consecutive years, this event has served as a rallying point for community members and organizations to stand together against child abuse and domestic violence.

The event, held in the yard in front of Safe Haven, was flooded with speakers and community members showing their support for the event’s mission. Kim Billings, Safe Haven's Legal Services and Public Relations Director, and Tami Kicklighter, Executive Director of Safe Haven, along with Julie Pickens, Executive Director of Child Advocacy Services, welcomed attendees and distributed buttons and bracelets as symbols of solidarity, urging everyone to show their support.

Corbett Deloach, Safe Haven Board President, led the invocation, setting the tone for the event. The roster of speakers included notable figures from various departments and offices within the community:

  • Kim Billings, Safe Haven
  • Kristen Kramer, Child Advocacy Services
  • Chairman Roy Thompson, County Commissioners Office
  • Mayor Jonathan McCollar, City of Statesboro
  • Sheriff Noel Brown, Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office
  • District Attorney Daphne Totten, Ogeechee District Attorney’s Office
  • Lora Cooper, Prevent Child Abuse
  • Lily Gray, Teal House
  • Keith Wilkey, Bulloch County Board of Education
Community members gather around the table adorned with a variety of pins and task force sign-up sheets.

Donald Chavers from the Agape Worship Center delivered the benediction to conclude the event. Attendees were then encouraged to plant their pinwheels in the yard to help spread the message of Prevent Child Abuse America throughout the community.

Throughout the event, many speakers touched on key points surrounding Child Abuse Awareness. Billings explained that domestic violence is defined as a pattern of behaviors used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. It is rarely isolated and tends to be progressive in nature. Alarming statistics revealed that child abuse and neglect affect over one million children every year, and can cost the nation around $220 million every day.

img_6035Moreover, speakers emphasized the interconnectedness of domestic violence and child abuse, stressing that both transcend socioeconomic, racial, and religious boundaries. Adults who were abused as children have an increased risk of abusing their children, and adults who grew up in a violent home are more likely to become perpetrators or victims of domestic violence.

It is important to note that both types of abuse are underreported due to shame, secrecy, and isolation. Victims may feel embarrassed or ashamed, and in some cultures and religions, they may even be shamed and stigmatized for leaving an abusive relationship or telling someone about it. That’s why it's essential to show support for victims and survivors in the community, to let them know they are believed and supported.

Mayor McCollar speaking at Blueming for Prevention on the Safe Haven lawn.

Mayor Jonathan McCollar said, “This is an organization [Safe Haven] that we need here. Thank you for everything that you’re doing to help the most vulnerable people in our community. What you’re doing is a true labor of love, and we are a community of love. And if we are going to come together to rally around anything, rallying around that is a great place to start.”

It is clear through the support of so many speakers that there are many organizations throughout Statesboro dedicated to supporting children in need and making a real difference in our community.

By spreading the message of prevention and support and getting involved with organizations such as Safe Haven, and the many others in attendance at Blueming for Prevention, we can all play a vital role in creating safer, healthier, and more loving communities for everyone.

Safe Haven team stand together holding their pinwheels in honor of Child Abuse Awareness Month.

If you would like to schedule a presentation on Safe Haven and the services they offer our community or to request free outreach awareness materials, please call (912) 259-9255.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, or you know someone who is please call Safe Haven anytime at (912) 764-4605, visit or email [email protected].