April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month. This year the Choctaw Children's Advocacy Center had the opportunity to meet with Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Chief Phyliss J. Anderson to have the month of April 2013 proclaimed as Child Abuse Awareness Month throughout the reservation.

To mark the end of the month and remind the community of the importance of working together to protect the children, the Choctaw Children's Advocacy Center held their annual Child Abuse Awareness Event on April 26.

Historically, the blue ribbon has been used to symbolize the lives touched and taken by child abuse. This year, the Choctaw Children's Advocacy Center hosted an event for children ages 3 to 5 with several aspects of the event focused on the blue ribbon of awareness. The 2013 Child Abuse Awareness Event was held at the Choctaw Central High School's football field.

The event had a variety of activities for the children participating following a host of speakers such as a wildlife booth with live animals, a handprint station where children outlined their handprints and received a blue ribbon and sticker for participating, a basketball toss game, fish game, as well as the opportunity to interact with individuals dressed as popular characters prior to receiving lunch.

The following organizations helped to make the event a success: Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Tribal Administration, MBCI Boys and Girls Club, Choctaw Central High School senior student volunteers, Choctaw Central High School Athletic Department, Department of Early Childhood Education, Choctaw Office Supply, Choctaw Wildlife, Choctaw Police Department, Choctaw Fire Department, Department of Family Violence and Victims Services, Department of Natural Resources, Pearl River Resort, Choctaw Occupational Training Center, Choctaw Video, Choctaw Day Labor Program, and the Department of Chata Immi. The CCAC Child Abuse Awareness Event could not have been successful without the help of all of the programs and volunteers working together for this very important cause. The event was focused on reminding everyone that, "Together we can protect the children."

The Choctaw Children's Advocacy Center provides therapeutic, case management, advocacy, and forensic interviewing services. With everyone working together - police officers, social workers, doctors, therapists, prosecutors, advocates, and community members - a community based response to the problem of child abuse can help build safer communities. For more information about the Department of Family and Community Services, please contact us at 601.650.1778.