March Madness has begun, and we’ve got a different kind of March madness underway locally. Aside from the annual budget (see last week’s post), we’re in 7 week sprint towards votes on a comprehensive agreement, a 99 year ground lease, and a conceptual plan for the 10 acre West Falls Church project in May.
We made a commitment to citizens is that we would not issue any construction bonds for the high school until we ink a deal for the development project that would partially offset the $120M total cost of the school. As such, we are working hard to get the best deal possible for Falls Church in a shorter than typical timeframe, before the high school groundbreaking planned for June can occur. We recognize our volunteer citizen groups are also crunching to submit comments after their reviews the past few weeks. And we continue to need you: citizens who show up at town halls and write us with questions and comments. We have so many public meetings coming up – including our monthly 730 am Campus Coordinating Committee meeting, happening this morning and my office hours next week.
This week, instead of day to day business of the city – I’m taking the opportunity to highlight that April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. As a mother of young children, this is a cause close to my heart, but it really is a community-wide effort. We’ll be “planting” our fourth annual pinwheel garden next Monday night at 7 pm at the entrance to Cherry Hill Park, and everyone is invited to join us. Read on for a sneak peek of a new idea this year to increase awareness across the city and how you can play a role.
PS – March’s Town Hall is on Sunday at 2 pm. And my office hours are next Monday at 3/25 at 9 am, Northside Social. If you’re driving to join me, here’s a map of the parking available downtown in addition to the shared parking Northside Social has negotiated with Park Towers condo.
April Is Child Abuse Prevention Month
“With the right seed, soil, and proper care, a garden will grow.”
Pinwheels are an uplifting symbol of a happy, healthy childhood and a national symbol of child abuse prevention. For the fourth year – next Monday night at 7 pm at Cherry Hill Park (Park Ave entrance), we will be “planting” a pinwheel garden as a visual reminder of the environment all children need to thrive and mark the beginning of our month long campaign to raise awareness of child abuse prevention. New this year is a Mobile Pinwheel Garden! Throughout the month of April, a mobile garden will move to different locations, including various businesses in the community who are embracing their role in abuse prevention, so be on the lookout.
Abuse and neglect of children occurs throughout communities and is not limited to any one particular demographic. Child abuse and neglect affect children of every age, race, and income level. According to the Virginia Department of Social Services, every 76 minutes, a child is abused or neglected in Virginia and every 9.6 days in the state a child dies as a result of abuse or neglect.
Child abuse occurs in various ways and does not always present as the stereotypical child with obvious bruising, tattered clothing, and/or a fearful demeanor. Abuse can be physical, mental, sexual, and also includes various forms of mental and physical neglect. Abandonment, lack of supervision, inadequate medical and mental healthcare and inadequate basic care are all forms of abuse.
What can I do?
- Join us at the planting event on Monday at 7 pm: celebrate the lives you touch and those who have touched yours by honoring them with a pinwheel. Or plant a pinwheel outside your home or business as a visible show of support for keeping children in our community safe.
- National Wear Blue Day is on Friday, April 5, Show support for preventing child abuse and neglect by wearing blue.
- Whether you are a parent or not, we all can help. Be a kind neighbor, friend and relative – reach out to families under stress. Offer to baby-sit when parents need a break. Help families connect with community resources. Volunteer – be a mentor to a child. Get involved with the local family resource center or parent support group.
- If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, do not wait until you are 100% sure. Here is more info on signs of abuse. There are trained professionals who can take a report, determine if it meets criteria and investigate accordingly. Sometimes through this process, children are identified who are not yet victims but whose families need additional assistance and/or services to help them to be able to better thrive.The City of Falls Church contracts with Fairfax County for Child Protective Services (CPS). If you are concerned about a child’s well-being, suspect child abuse or neglect, want to report or discuss a possible abuse or neglect situation, or want advice, counseling or other resources, contact info below. Your call is confidential.
Fairfax County’s Child Protective Services
City of Falls Church Police
What’s Coming Up:
- TODAY – Friday, March 22 – Campus Coordinating Committee (730 am, School Board offices)
- Sunday, March 24 – Sunday Series Town Hall (2 pm, Community Center)
- Monday, March 25 – Letty’s Office Hours (9 am, Northside Social)
- Monday, March 25 – Pinwheel Planting (7 pm, Cherry Hill Park)
- Monday, March 25 – City Council Meeting (730 pm, Community Center)
- Sunday, March 31 – Women’s History Walk (1 pm, park between Lincoln at Tinner Hill & Victory Comics)
- Monday, April 1 – City Council Work Session (730 pm, Community Center)
- Monday, April 8 – City Council Meeting (730 pm, Community Center)
- Monday April 22 – City Council Meeting (730 pm, Community Center)