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home : education : schools May 29, 2016

4/8/2014 12:33:00 PM
Raising awareness on child abuse
Beth Hanson was all smiles as firefighters helped with the blue ribbon awareness campaign to combat child abuse. photo by Jodi Schneider McNamee
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Beth Hanson was all smiles as firefighters helped with the blue ribbon awareness campaign to combat child abuse. photo by Jodi Schneider McNamee

By Jodi Schneider McNamee

April is Blue Ribbon Month for the national fight against child abuse, and on Tuesday, April 1, Circle of Friends mentors tied blue ribbons on trees and fences on Hood Avenue to increase awareness for the prevention of child abuse.

Circle of Friends mentors are individuals and families that provide training, support and resources to mentor children. The mentors spend quality one-on-one time with each of the children and build nurturing relationships to help them thrive. They work with children in kindergarten and first grade, and continue with them through high school.

"We are increasing awareness by wearing blue ribbons during April. This is an important effort for the children; it is a call for the adult community to take an active role in protecting the children," said Beth Hanson, mentoring director.

Sisters-Camp Sherman fire department joined the group at 9 a.m. and volunteered their support in the effort by climbing ladders to attach blue ribbons high enough for folks to notice.

"I think this is what is needed to bring awareness to the entire community," said Fire Chief Roger Johnson.

Hanson has been working hand-in-hand with Kim Bohme, prevention coordinator from Kids Center, a child-abuse intervention center in Bend. Kids Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention, evaluation, and treatment of child abuse.

"I connected with Kim Bohme two years ago when I took the Darkness to Light child abuse prevention training class at Kids Center," said Hanson. "A child's safety is an adult's job. Just last month Kim from the Kids Center taught a Darkness to Light training at the Sisters Library. The library donated their community room and our mentors took the class. By simply taking a child-abuse prevention training, you raise awareness of child abuse in our community and create a safer environment for all children."

Mellissa Novotny, mentor, had her hands full of blue ribbons as she focused on tying them on the little trees near the Circle of Friends office.

"I started as a mentor last June and went to the Darkness to Light training at the Sisters Library," she said. "The training was really informative, as they educate you on learning how to recognize the many signs of child abuse. They say that 1 in 10 children are sexually abused before they reach the age of 18. It's something we don't like to talk about. That's why we are bringing more awareness to the community."

Beginning this May, Hanson will be taking specific training courses at Kids Center to become a facilitator. Once a facilitator, she will be able to offer child-abuse awareness training classes in Sisters.

"I'm really happy that Beth is able to tap into Kids Center. It's spring, a chance for renewal and awareness. Bringing this awareness to our small community is huge," said Shelley Marsh, board member for Circle of Friends.

On Saturday, May 3, Outlaw Martial Arts will be sponsoring Darkness to Light - Stewards of Children child-abuse prevention training at Sisters Elementary School at 10 a.m.

For more information call Kim Bohme at 541-306-6062 or email

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