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Pinwheel parade ushers in April observances

Parents cheer as Child Development Center children march during the annual Pinwheel Parade at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, April 1, 2016. The parade served as a way to kick off an observance-filled month as Month of the Military Child, Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month are all celebrated in April.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Christopher DeWitt)

Parents cheer as Child Development Center children march during the annual Pinwheel Parade at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, April 1, 2016. The parade served as a way to kick off an observance-filled month as Month of the Military Child, Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month are all celebrated in April. (U.S. Air Force photo/Christopher DeWitt)

Pinwheels spin on the lawn in front of the Child Development Center at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, April 1, 2016. The pinwheels represent Month of the Military Child, Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, each being observed during April.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Christopher DeWitt)

Pinwheels spin on the lawn in front of the Child Development Center at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, April 1, 2016. The pinwheels represent Month of the Military Child, Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, each being observed during April. (U.S. Air Force photo/Christopher DeWitt)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Parents and other family members lined the Schriever Child Development Center halls Friday to catch a glimpse of the purple-clad and pinwheel spinning children taking part in the annual Pinwheel Parade.

In addition to giving parents a photo opportunity, the parade served as an unofficial kick-off to an observance-filled month. Month of the Military Child, Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month are all observed in April.

"I think it's great to have something kick off the month," said Paula Krause, Schriever sexual assault response coordinator. "We start raising that awareness at the beginning and keep that momentum going throughout the month."

The CDC will host a lunch and learn event titled "Is your child at risk?" 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 6 and a car seat safety check beginning at 3 p.m. April 12, as well as several theme days throughout the month to celebrate Month of the Military Child.

The Family Advocacy Program is the key installation supporter for Child Abuse Prevention Month and will be manning information tables outside the dining facility throughout the month.

"It's really important to do these things," said Jeanette Barzee, Family Advocacy Program outreach manager.

Barzee said the focus this year will be on getting parents to avoid distractions while supervising children.

"The biggest issue we're seeing is with supervision," she said. "People don't have to be perfect parents, but we want parents to focus in more."

Part of that focus she said, will be on teaching parents to be less reliant on technology with their children. To reach more families on base, Family Advocacy will have an information booth at the Tierra Vista Community Center 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 22.

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response team will hold events throughout the month in support of SAAPM as well. The SAAPM theme this year is "Know your part. Do your part" with the tag #notjustApril for those following via social media.

"The #notjustApril is really good for people to understand yes, we do a sexual assault awareness month, but it's not about just doing things once a year," Krause said. "I think it just really explains better that this is the awareness month, but there are prevention and awareness things we need to do throughout the year."

Annual events such as the dodgeball tournament, 9:30 a.m. April 8, and 5K inflatable run, 10 a.m. April 29, and the mannequins stationed throughout the base will return this year. Though members will notice an infusion of green as part of the introduction for the Green Dot program.

"We're going to change (the events) up a bit, we're going to have them more Green Dot focused," Krause said. "The Green Dot is really going to partner well with the theme because Green Dot is about constantly looking to see if I need to intervene or step up and do something."

Stations during the inflatable run will have a Green Dot theme, T-shirts given out at the events will have a Green Dot emphasis and the mannequins will tell bystander intervention stories this year instead of the sexual assault survivor stories as in years past.

"We're going to change the focus (of the mannequins) a little bit to, 'Here was a situation that could've gone (badly), but because this person was a Green Dot, because this person intervened, it didn't,'" Krause added. "They will also tie in to how members could be a Green Dot."

Green Dot fits well with the monthly observances because of the program's broader focus, she added.

"It's not just about sexual assault awareness and that's one of the reasons why we tried to partner with Family Advocacy because Green Dot is also about domestic violence and child abuse prevention," Krause said. "Bystander intervention is something we've done in the past in the Air Force, so we just really felt incorporating it into our SAAPM would be a great way to start kicking off the Green Dot campaign as well as tie it into some of the prevention activities."
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