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CASA of Kern County uses pinwheels to spread child abuse awareness

Recently, CASA has been advocating through a method that represents the experience its members wish the children in foster care could have.
CASA pinwheel sign for child abuse awareness
Posted at 8:30 AM, Apr 19, 2023

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and community organizations are hard at work to make a difference.

The next time people are driving throughout Bakersfield, they may see a sign that says "Children deserve to play happily" and "Child abuse hurts everyone." They also might see the QR code on the sign and if they scan that little box, they could be making a big difference.

“The children that we work with are in foster care, so they have been through severe abuse, neglect, and abandonment," explained Heaven Vasquez, Public Relations and Development Manager for the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Kern County. "We advocate for them to be able to have normal happy, healthy childhoods as much as possible”

Recently, CASA has been advocating through a method that represents the experience its members wish the children in foster care could have.

“We like to incorporate pinwheels into our outreach because pinwheels represent childhood and being able to play and have that childhood experience,” said Vasquez.

Local businesses and residents now have the opportunity to display that representation and their support, just like Bakersfield resident Katrina Hernandez did.

“This is my first year doing the pinwheels and getting a sign," said Hernandez. "I think it's kinda cool. I try to help CASA any time I can.”

The support is even stretching beyond neighborhoods and to the local pageant community.

“They just need someone as much as every kid does, so it's very important what they're doing,” said Peggy Rivera, also known as "Mrs. Bakersfield."

Meanwhile, local business Soak Car Wash is also helping the cause, as the owner has a personal connection to it. His grandmother was a CASA member.

“Growing up, I was always seeing the CASA logo," said Soak Car Wash owner Mark Alexander. “I'm not exactly sure what she would say but I think she would be happy that we're contributing and trying to contribute to children and helping them. They are our future and it's really important”

Child abuse can easily hide under people’s noses, so while supporting the cause, it is also important to know the signs.

“During COVID, we did see some reduced numbers in cases that were reported with children not being in school," explained Vasquez. "That is a way that we can catch some of the signs. If the child is maybe a little bit more reserved than usual, if they display signs of being sad.”

To have one of these signs to be displayed in front of a home or business, the owner or resident only needs to donate $10 to CASA to help its efforts of child abuse prevention.