Healing Through Awareness: Cullman Caring for Kids Hopes to Raise Awareness of Child Abuse in April

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Cullman Caring for Kids, Chelsea Sparks/CullmanSense
From January 2014 to January of 2015, Cullman County DHR had 852 cases of abuse and neglect.”
Nancy Bryant, CCK Assistant Director

CULLMAN – April is a big month as far as awareness for various causes, but one that should not be overlooked is child abuse. This is often a painful subject to delve into in order to really become aware, but it’s more than necessary to stop these horrific acts from occurring. One organization works day and night to make a difference in Cullman in regards to child abuse called Cullman Caring for Kids (CCK).

CCK is a non-profit organization that diligently works to spread awareness and offer resources to prevent or stop child abuse from occurring. 

“We were originally established in 1988,” said Cullman Caring for Kids Director Javon Daniel. “We now have nine programs, all of which are geared toward child abuse.” 

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Daniel stated that one such program is their food bank, and he is often asked how that applies to child abuse.

“People often ask me what a food bank has to do with child abuse,” said Daniels.

“And I always ask them have you ever been around a hungry three year old and not know where your next meal is coming from? The stress of that situation with money, and a hungry, screaming child can be a situation that leads to child abuse. So if we can prevent that from giving a family food, we will.”

While the food bank is located at their offices beside the Cullman County Board of Education, the other eight programs are conducted out in the community. 

“We do a program in the elementary school called C.A.R.E.S where we educate children what child abuse is, and that it is not their fault and it is okay to tell someone,” said Daniel.

“We also have a program called K.A.R.S. which stands for Kids at Risk in Schools, where we deal with conflict resolution and bullying. And we are also the umbrella agency for Cullman County CASA, where volunteers are thoroughly screened, and go through 40 hours of in classroom training. They are then sworn as court officers.”

They also broadcast over the radio with their show Kids Matter, to spread their message and also cover other various topics relevant to children. The show airs on 92.1 WKUL on Friday mornings at 9:30 a.m. and on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. on 99.9 WRJL.

With April upon us, Cullman Caring for Kids has many events on the horizon that they hope the community will actively participate in. While Cullman is a nice town with good people, it is not without its problems, and child abuse is one of them, according to Nancy Bryant, assistant director.

“Last year alone, we lost 18 children in Alabama due to abuse and neglect,” said Bryant.

“From January 2014 to January of 2015 Cullman County DHR had 852 cases of abuse and neglect. That is a staggering number, and we need to do something about it. This is why we post our blue ribbons around the city, the blue represents the bruises on our children, and also why the events we have coming up are important.”

April 1 is the National Day of Hope and a time where Cullman Caring for Kids asks that everyone participate by lighting a five-wick candle. Each wick is in remembrance of the five children who die every day of abuse.

“On April 7 at noon, we will have our prayer walk around the courthouse and up to the top of the Cullman Savings Bank parking deck where we will release 100 blue balloons,” Bryant said.

“Everybody needs to feel this, because if everyone has this in their heart, so that everyone will act when they suspect a child is being abused. We need people to pick up the phone and call the police or DHR when they think a child is being hurt.”

More information about Cullman Caring for Kids can be found at CullmanCaringforKids.com.