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Health & Wellness: Pinwheels for prevention

You may have noticed the blue and silver pinwheels in the large flowerpots near the courthouse square or in other locations throughout Dallas County this month. The purpose of these displays has been to draw attention to the issue of child neglect and abuse.

Our children are precious and their well-being is important to our community. So how can you make a difference?

• Compliment a father — someone you know or even a dad you see out in public — on something positive you see him do with his children. Dads contribute uniquely to children’s development. • Offer your time to baby-sit for the child of a friend, neighbor or family member. All parents need help sometimes — even if it is just to rest or “recharge” for an hour or two. • Mentor a young dad you know in growing his relationship with his kids. Some young dads may need help with transportation or in identifying helpful resources for their children.

• Support parents looking for a job by offering your professional knowledge and experience in resume writing or preparing for a job interview. Financial stability links directly with family stability and can have a big effect on the emotional well-being of caregivers and their children.

• Be a resource and “sounding board” for parents. Let them know that help is available through a variety of systems such as Dallas County Public Health, our school districts, churches, the YMCA, Head Start, and the Family Resource Center in Perry.

Finally, if you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call 1-800-362-2178. This number is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your identity will not be revealed to the person you are calling about.

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