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Budding artists kick off Child Abuse Prevention Month

45th Space Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Dennis Vannorsdall, 45th Medical Group Commander Col. Florence Valley and 45th Space Wing Vice Commander Col. Stephen Butler with some of the participants of the Poster Contest at the Youth Center March 28. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class David Dobrydney)

45th Space Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Dennis Vannorsdall, 45th Medical Group Commander Col. Florence Valley and 45th Space Wing Vice Commander Col. Stephen Butler with some of the participants of the Poster Contest at the Youth Center March 28. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class David Dobrydney)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Family Advocacy with the help of the Patrick Youth Center sponsored a poster contest to kick off April's Child Abuse Prevention Month at the Youth Center in Pelican Coast Housing.

Thirty-eight children ages 5-13 participated in the contest to see who could best depict the idea of keeping children safe.

The judges for the contest were 45th Space Wing Vice Commander Col. Stephen Butler, 45th Medical Group Commander Col. Florence Valley and 45th Space Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Dennis Vannorsdall.

"Families are the cornerstone to our future," said Colonel Butler, himself a father of eight children, "and we're obligated to care for them, protect them, and train up our children."

The three Wing leaders looked over the various posters and debated each one's color or uniqueness, such as one poster's use of yarn to simulate hair.

"I was very impressed with the creativity of the youngest age group," said Chief Vannorsdall. "They put a lot of time and effort into [their posters]."

After the judges had selected the three best posters for each of the three age groups, the children were called in to announce the winners. The Base Exchange donated prizes for the first, second, and third place winners. Then it was time for cake, fruit and milk!

Child Abuse Prevention Month runs through the month of April. Family Advocacy will have tables set up at the Base Clinic and Base Exchange with giveaway items for children and literature for parents. The following events have also been scheduled:

· April 15: Youth Center Staff are invited to attend annual Family Advocacy Domestic Violence Training at noon in the Youth Center.

· April 16: Child Development Center and Family Home Daycare providers are invited to attend annual Family Advocacy Domestic Violence Training at 6 p.m. in the Child Development Center.

· April 22 and 29: Parenting classes offered at the Shark Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more family activities and information on "Healthy Military Families - Safe Military Kids" please contact Family Advocacy at 494-8171.