In 2010 alone, more than 1,300 cases of child abuse were reported in Wichita County, but a new initiative could help bring that number down.
Shannon May is a forensic interviewer for Patsy's House Children's Advocacy Center. She regularly speaks with kids to learn facts about potential abuse cases. While the details are horrific, she loves the communication with the kids.
"I'm helping children find words for their experience but the most important thing that I want them to leave with is their dignity," she said.
To help kids like the ones may sees, April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. The pinwheels Patsy's House has in the lawn at Patterson Honda are meant to catch your eye.
"This gives the community an opportunity to see a real picture of how many cases we have in our area," May said.
The month started with a pinwheel for each child abuse case in Wichita County. For $20 the advocacy center will take down one of the pinwheels.
"If they want to take the pinwheel and stick it in their own yard as a reminder or just help us increase awareness for the Child Abuse Awareness Month, they can do that," May said.
All the money raised in the pinwheel fundraiser will go towards Patsy's House general operations, because they've been seeing budget cuts. Their government grants are being cut by 4%, and other grants will likely decrease, too. Executive Director Keri Goins hopes the nearly $27,000 will ensure the center doesn't have to cut any programs next year.
"We can't help what happens to children but hopefully we can help what happens next and I just think that's a big part of that to help children begin a happy childhood from that point on," May said.
Patsy's House hopes they won't even need the end of the month to finish the pinwheels off. So far, Patsy's House has taken down 66 pinwheels. If you're interested in donating to the cause, there are lots of ways to do so; you can send payment to Patsy's House in the mail or in person. You can also go directly to Patterson Honda to donate. If you have any questions, call Patsy's House at 940-322-8890.