DODGE CITY—Bright blue and silver pinwheels have long been a symbol of child abuse prevention, planted in Kansas communities during the month of April. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, CASA-Children Worth Saving, Inc. in Dodge City has modified pinwheel plantings this year and put them out in June and July.
In Greensburg, Tami Wolfley and several kids in her daycare program, Little Friends Daycare, took the time to plant a bunch of pinwheels in their front yard.
"We’ve been helping place them at the Kiowa County Courthouse for several years," Wolfley said. "But this year we couldn’t all walk out there and it just worked better to place them in the front yard. The kids love them because they are so colorful; they’re fun."
Kristin Hines, CASA Director in Dodge City said that usually more than 50 pinwheels were placed at 14 sites in a six-county area of western Kansas each April, but because of coronavirus restrictions and the need to observe social distancing, pinwheels were available only at four locations, and at a book giveaway this year.
"We had volunteers set out pinwheels at Ashland, Cimarron, Greensburg and Meade County this year," Hines said. "Then we had tons left and gave many away along with children’s books at a Dodge City farmers market in June."
The pinwheels represent safe and healthy childhoods and are one way CASA draws attention their mission, and the vision that every child have the opportunity to live in a safe and stable home, where they are loved and able to thrive.
"Our mission is focused on volunteer best-interest advocacy for children already in court due to abuse and neglect," Hines said.
According to Dori Meng, CASA Outreach Coordinator, in addition to being aware of the signs of child abuse and being willing to report it, another way to help children is to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate® volunteer.
"Our next training session starts in the fall," Meng said. "Please phone 620-225-1278 now to learn more about the program and to get an application."
There are 23 CASA programs in the state of Kansas, many working together with the Kansas Children’s Service League as well as with city and county task forces.
The CASA program based in Dodge City serves the six surrounding counties of Kiowa, Commanche, Grey, Ford and Meade.