Pinwheel event helps raise awareness of child abuse
by Bradley Hartsell
A lawn full of pinwheels glistened Tuesday in the sunshine.
It was the annual pinwheel event outside Wadsworth Auditorium on Jefferson Street, and Newnan Mayor Keith Brady declared April as child abuse prevention awareness month.
The pinwheels, said Susan Ebersbach of Prevent Child Abuse Coweta, bring attention to local cases of child abuse. According to Ebersbach, the 141 pinwheels are representative of the number of children served in the community last year.
The pinwheels, a nationally recognized symbol of all Prevent Child Abuse chapters, were planted on the lawn of the auditorium with the help from members of the Newnan-Coweta Boys and Girls Club.
“These pinwheels are a lovely and colorful way to bring awareness of a grave problem in our community and every community,” said Ebersbach. “Each pinwheel serves as a reminder of a child who has been a victim of child abuse in Coweta County during 2013.”
Brady said that despite being asked to read the proclamation, he hoped for the day there wouldn’t be a need for an awareness ceremony.
Ebersbach’s predecessor, Helen Passantino, attended the ceremony to support a cause she helped gain steam 15 years ago.
“What more important thing is there than children? They’re God’s gift,” said Passantino. “They have to be protected. They have no voice, so we have to be their voice.”
Passantino said 15 years ago, with Prevent Child Abuse in jeopardy, she stepped up to ensure the program didn’t go away. Spearheading the program, she initiated the shaking babies initiative, a doll simulating the ramifications of shaking an infant.
“A lot of people don’t know when you shake a baby, what happens,” she said. “I’m still involved with the program [despite turning it over to Ebersbach]. I’ll never stop.”
Ebersbach passed out ribbons and pins to those in attendance, asking they be worn as much as possible, especially during National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
In conjunction with the pinwheel event, on April 24, a candlelight vigil will be held at Greenville Street Park south of the Newnan business district at 7 p.m.
“This ceremony brings our awareness month to a close by not only remembering the smallest victims in our community, but also by celebrating our unified promise to make Coweta County a safer place to be a child,” said Ebersbach. “We have some inspiring speakers and beautiful music and singing planned for this brief program that I'm sure all will enjoy.”