Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Blind Side

By Taryn Stark and Maggy McDaniel

This story is not fictitious. Michael Oher was an abused and neglected child in Tennessee not too many years ago. Because the Tuohy family recognized his great need, the young Michael was able to spend the rest of his teenage years in a healthy and loving family. As a result of this, Michael lives a fulfilling life surrounded by love. To learn more about his story, please visit this link:

The reality is that there are countless children without homes, without families. The Villages of Indiana recognizes this sad fact, and has pledged to do something about it. We invite you to do the same.

IARCCA Executive Director, Cathy Graham, found “The Blind Side” to be a powerful inspiration: “The movie tells about the trust that develops and the challenges involved in merging two cultures, as well as the great gifts that both the family and the youth gained in the process of becoming family to one another. To see the resiliency of the young man, Michael Oher, who now plays professional football for the Baltimore Ravens, should continue to inspire the efforts of all of us who work with vulnerable youth. There are many more youth like Michael Oher in our communities; they just need a chance to have loving homes, adults who care about them and who will go the extra mile for them, and teachers and mentors who are committed to their success through the many challenges that youth face….Are we doing all that we can to help these vulnerable youth achieve success?”

The truth is that there are real kids in our state, our county that live without true homes. Our neighboring children, like Michael Oher, have never had a bed before, never experienced life as many of us have experienced it; as it should be experienced. The Villages is Indiana’s largest not-for-profit child and family services agency. As the month of April is Child Abuse Prevention month, we are committed to raising awareness of child maltreatment throughout Indiana and hopefully the world. If you are interested in getting involved with The Villages or learning more about our organization, please contact us:

Official Website: http://www.villageskids.org/
Donation Link:
Personal Contact: 317.273.7575 or 800.874.6880

Friday, April 2, 2010

Cherishing Families...Affirming Families

By Sharon Pierce, President & CEO of The Villages

April marks Child Abuse Prevention month and this year’s theme is “CHERISHING CHILDREN…AFFIRMING FAMILIES!” In partnership with Prevent Child Abuse America, Prevent Child Abuse Indiana has “re-framed” Child Abuse Prevention Month to focus on the “promise” that the future and well being of EVERY child affords us.

This year, champions for children planted 1,000 Blue Pinwheels in the lawn at the Indiana State Museum to represent the number of children born in Indiana last year. Just one Pinwheel represents eighty-seven (87) live births…that’s 87,000 children born in 2009 that need to be cherished, safe, and nurtured!

Imagine the “human capital” that 87,000 Hoosiers who are nurtured in a family… healthy, well educated, and self sufficient can have in just a few years on our neighborhoods, our schools, our communities, our businesses, our government, and our State!

That is the essence of both the challenges and the opportunities which lay before us. But by CHERISHING CHILDREN AND AFFIRMING FAMILIES… by treasuring and protecting each child to acknowledge how truly valuable they are, our vision can become a REALITY! We celebrate the HOPE which these 87,000 new infants stand for…but we are also creating a legacy which will honor the children who tragically lost their lives to child abuse and neglect in Indiana last year.

Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, a Division of The Villages, in collaboration with Dr. Eugene White, Superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools, has championed a THINK TANK of solution-minded community leaders and organizations who are working diligently to make supporting parents one of their highest priorities. The KIDS CAN’T WAIT initiative is a reminder to ALL of us that there is an urgent need for parental support and education for EVERY family.

Our collective message is a simple one… IT IS A SIGN OF STRENGTH, AS A PARENT OR CAREGIVER OF CHILDREN, TO ASK FOR HELP AND SUPPORT! WTHR has developed some new, dynamic public service announcements featuring several of our dedicated community leaders, which will air in the near future! Billboards reminding parents that sometimes WE are the ones who need a TIME OUT are placed throughout the city! Prevent Child Abuse Indiana operates a 1-800-CHILDREN line, to provide information for parents who are seeking a parent education class or a supportive service in their neighborhood. And for our technologically savvy parents, IndianaKidsCantWait.org is available as a “starting point” for parent information.

Our hope and prayer is that EVERY Indiana citizen will become engaged in the lives of our Hoosier children…and cherish each child as if he or she were YOUR OWN!

I often share that being blessed to be the parent of four children is the most difficult job of ANY listed on my resume…but it’s also the most important! This April, and EACH MONTH throughout the year, we are imploring EVERY citizen in Indiana to CHERISH OUR CHILDREN…
To TREASURE Our Children…
To PROTECT Our Children…
To NURTURE Our Children…
To TEACH Our Children…
And to CELEBRATE Our Children!

There’s an urgency in Indiana to keep our children healthy, loved and safe!

How? Start with YOUR OWN CHILDREN…making them your Highest Priority! Embrace the child next door to you who seems hungry for affection! Reach out to a Grandparent who is heroically raising her grandchildren! Or help the child in your school or faith community who most needs it!

Why? As our beautiful children remind us…we need to be CHERISHING CHILDREN AND AFFIRMING FAMILIES…