Apr 16, 2014
by Noel Lucero
Spring is when flowers pop out of the ground, trees wake up from their winter slumber, and the air is mild on our skin. The slightest changes in our world's physical appearance cause us to be more aware of our surroundings. So it is fitting that April, when spring truly comes to Central Illinois, is a month in which several causes are recognized. It is a way for us to call attention to issues that affect our community, and to celebrate even the slightest improvements.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and agencies like YWCA McLean County are promoting awareness around this issue. Show your support and go to Take Back the Night, an event that raises awareness about sexual violence and supports survivors of sexual assault. Or volunteer with Stepping Stones, their sexual assault support program, who can always use help answering their 24-hour hotline and advocating for survivors. Simply educating yourself and your family - or becoming more aware of your surroundings - is a great way to recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
April is also Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the McLean County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) program is using this time to educate citizens on their responsibility to abused and neglected children. Keep an eye out for The Blue Kids (both wooden and paper), which are meant to serve as visual representations of children who have suffered abuse and/or neglect at the hands of their caregivers. Help spread the word by adopting a Blue Kid, buying a paper Blue Kid, and putting a sign in your yard.
Autism Awareness Month also occurs in April, and the Bloomington-Normal Young Professional Kiwanis Club is working hard to raise money for the Autism Society of McLean County (ASMC). All proceeds from their efforts will be given to ASMC for Autism Camp, a place dedicated to providing a valuable experience for children on the autism spectrum in a natural outdoor setting.
So, as the changes in nature cause you to stop and smell the rosebuds, make sure you also take time to educate yourself and your family about these issues. We have people in our community that suffer through extreme circumstances, and we should be doing all we can to support them and prevent others from experiencing the same. April also celebrates National Volunteer Month, and what better way to educate yourself and become an advocate for a cause than to volunteer! Thank you to all of you who volunteer to support sexual assault survivors, advocate for abused children, and make the world more enjoyable for autistic children. You make McLean County a better place!