Pinwheels with purpose of keeping children safe
By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — Children eagerly rushed to plant pinwheels in the ground Friday morning, then blew on them to make the whirligigs spin in a blur of color.
They helped create a bright garden in front of the Rowan County Department of Social Services building as part of a ceremony to raise awareness of child abuse while celebrating happy, healthy childhoods.
Lillian Morgan, chairwoman of the county Board of Social Services, opened the Pinwheels for Prevention ceremony by saying: “This is an opportunity for our community to commit to keeping children safe, to provide the support families need to stay together and to raise children and youth to be happy, secure and stable adults.”
Board of Social Services Member Ruth Kennerly read a proclamation recognizing April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Rowan County.
Micah Ennis, Social Services foster care supervisor, spoke about the meaning of the pinwheel garden. After the event, she said Prevent Child Abuse America wants to not only bring attention to abuse and its consequences, but also prevention and family support.
“The pinwheel itself is all about joy,” Ennis said. “It’s all about the joys of childhood and wonder, and children being able to play.”
She told the story of a boy who walked out of the Social Services building after the pinwheels were planted and marveled at them. “He pulled his mom over to them, he blew the pinwheels and he said, ‘They’re beautiful,’” Ennis said. “You can’t get any better than that. That’s what it’s all about.”
Carl Ford also mentioned the joy of that child playing with the pinwheels before offering a closing prayer.
“That’s what a kid should be,” Ford said. “He should be a kid and should have a childhood.”
Social Services Program Administrator Tom Brewer thanked social workers, parents, law enforcement officers, judges, and others for the work they do on behalf of children.
Brewer said the pinwheel garden “signifies our community’s collaboration in ensuring the protection, safety and bright futures of children in Rowan County.”
After the ceremony, he invited children and the young at heart to take a pinwheel with them to their homes and workplaces.
“I’m looking forward to seeing if the pinwheels show up around town,” Brewer said. “I heard earlier this morning that there are some pinwheels planted in downtown Salisbury already, so the message is already going out.”
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.