What is child abuse? Could you properly define it if someone asked? We could ask one hundred people and we would probably get one hundred different answers. I am sure that many definitions would be similar, but few would be the exact same. This is something that needs to be addressed. One of the best ways to prevent child abuse is to know what it is and how to prevent it. So what, exactly, is child abuse? The state of Indiana legally defines child abuse as “a child’s physical or mental health is seriously endangered due to injury by the act or omission of the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian.” As a parent, a man, and a human being I cannot understand how and why individuals abuse their children. It sickens me to think about it. The abuse of children has to stop. This week, we volunteered with an organization that works everyday to work the eliminate the abuse and neglect of children in our area.
SCAN (Stop Child Abuse & Neglect) is a nonprofit organization that has been making a difference in our community for over 38 years through various programs and services that center around family. They believe that all families have value and that child abuse can be prevented by working to help parents with support, teaching, and practice. This organization has positively impacted families and protected children through services like parent education, abuse detection, crisis intervention, and in-home parental monitoring, just to name a few. Eighteen Northern Indiana counties benefit from the services provided by this first-class organization.
Throughout the year, SCAN conducts many events to raise money, and awareness, for the organization. This week we had the opportunity to volunteer at one of those events. The Brown Bag Lunch is an event that raises money to support the programs and services offered. SCAN partners with Casa Ristoranti Italiano to provide meals to businesses, individuals, and families in our community. The money raised directly benefits SCAN. We volunteered to help prepare the lunches. My role was to scoop pasta noodles into a to-go container as part of the assembly line. After dishing out my portions, I passed it on to the meatball and sauce station. In the end, each meal contained pasta with 2 meatballs and a salad. The volunteer experience only lasted a few hours and it was extremely simple. It was a volunteer activity that made you a bit hungry, but enjoyable nonetheless. It was great to be part of such a well orchestrated and successful event. In only a couple of hours, 150 volunteers prepared and delivered 2800 meals to our community which raised over $27,000 dollars for the organization.
This week was another example of how easy it is to make a difference in your community. Anyone can perform the task of noodle scooper (if you can resist eating more than you scoop). Investing a few hours is all it takes. A reminder for all of us that we do not have to change our lives to change the lives of others. Visit the SCAN website and learn how you can get involved and lend a hand. Maybe next year you can prepare a brown bag lunch to stop abuse.
Regardless of where you live, child abuse is an issue. We ALL need to step up, take action, and become advocates in our communities. We must do our part to protect the lives of innocent children. I am going to do my part, will YOU?