Rutland WALK FOR CHILDREN a success

David Allaire, Mayor, Rutland

We are all out here to support the Walk for Children Campaign, which is an annual event to raise awareness and to address the unfortunate event of incidents of child abuse in our state and our community and our country. This is a beautiful day. Lots of people are out here to support the event, and it’s a great way to get together and talk about some of the issues that are happening.

Lucas Herring, Mayor, Barre

Well, I was invited down. Usually I participate in Montpelier and this year I came down to meet with David Allaire and to make sure that we could walk with this part of today’s event.

Linda Johnson, Montpelier

Today is our annual Walk for Children in Rutland to benefit the programs of Prevent Child Abuse Vermont because we work with so many children and families, and teachers and child care providers to prevent child abuse. ... The Healthy Relationships program is one, ages 3 up through eighth grade. There’s the Care for Kids program from pre-school up through second grade, We Care Elementary, 3rd through sixth (grade) and the Safety program for seventh and eighth grade. It’s a sexual-abuse prevention program that is in pre-schools, Headstarts, all the way up through eighth grade. And it’s both a victims and victimization program because a third of all child-sexual abuse is actually committed by youth, so preventing, preventing, preventing before it even happens or starts to happen — that is our purpose.

We also do family-support programs. We do nurturing parenting programs and Circle of Parents support groups across the state. We’re very active in Rutland with all of our programs, nurturing programs and circles, and the healthy relationships project in schools and child care centers, and child sexual abuse prevention training for child care providers, and we also do shaken baby syndrome prevention. We’re in the hospital birthing center and we’re in the high schools. We try to get to folks before they’re taking care of infants and really alert them to how to properly care for a crying baby and how to make sure that we’re sleeping safely with our children. So baby’s not in the bed but near the bed. Just grownups in the bed, and grownups are responsible for protecting children. Kids cannot protect themselves.

Clayton Potter, Rutland

I’m walking my 10 miles a day because I had broken ankles 24 months ago, both of them.

RH: And how are you doing with that?

CP: Walking 10 miles a day!

RH: I see you’re carrying a sign there. Would you hold it up so we can see what it says? (Reading the sign) “Never, Never! Shake a Baby! Never!”

CP: I was abusive when I was young. I mean, I got abused, so — You never shake a baby. I never shook my two daughters their whole life and they’re perfectly great. I love them very much. And I love my grandson.

Ed Bride, Barre

The Walk for Children is an annual walk to raise awareness and funds for the children in Vermont. We’re a statewide organization, and we serve about 16,000 people a year. We have family-type programs. We do child sexual abuse prevention programs, and shaken baby syndrome prevention programs.

Reprinted from the Rutland Herald