I joined Junior League of Wichita as a new member for the league year 2016-2017.
…I say it that way because I joined the League last year, but last year’s not over yet.
Anyway, I spent my new member year learning about the League — how it works, what it does, etc. — and I’m excited to start my first active year working for the League’s focus since 2011: Combating child abuse in the Wichita area through awareness, prevention and intervention.
The League works with several area organizations, including the Child Advocacy Center, as well as area elementary schools to combat child abuse. For example, we work with social workers in schools to present our “Someone to Talk To” Puppet Show to third and fourth grade classrooms to have conversations about physical and sexual abuse and to encourage children to talk to someone if they’re being abused. The League also manages and sponsors childabusewichita.org.
We kicked off the cause this year by “planting” blue pinwheels at Bradley Fair, wearing blue (#whyblue) and carrying our trash bag hand bags (#trashbaghandbag).
Blue is the color of Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month, and the pinwheel is supposed to represent childhood.
And it’s a pretty good representation. If you’ve ever seen a large quantity of pinwheels spinning in the wind — the Kansas wind — all at once, your inner child will celebrate gleefully. Because it’s really fun, and there’s no way to explain it other than…
Other than squealing.
Like a little kid.
So Junior League of Wichita women wore blue and covered Bradley Fair in pinwheels. They let us; we didn’t just stuff them in the ground willy-nilly.
Throughout the month, Junior League of Wichita will continue its work with area organizations who work to prevent child abuse. This week, we’re carrying blue trash bags in place of our usual handbags — mine will be in addition to the bag I carry with my pumping supplies and my diaper bag (if I’ve got a baby in tow) — to raise awareness about the struggles children removed from the home face.
Often, when children are placed in protective custody, their belongings are put in a trash bag. We believe these kids deserve better than trash bags so #trashbaghandbag not only raises awareness about this issue, but it also collects donations to purchase duffel bags with clothes, journals, personal hygiene care items and gift cards for these children. ICT SOS, a Wichita organization committed to fighting human trafficking, will help assemble and distribute the duffel bags to local hospitals and agencies where social workers can give them to children in the community.
Donations can be made at jlwichita.org/support, by clicking the “Donate” button next to the name of one of the #trashbaghandbag campaign ambassadors. I’m going to put in the plug for Junior League of Wichita president-elect Laura Roddy.
Each duffel donation is valued at $75-$100 so, if you give $75-$100, you’re giving an entire bag to a child in our community. How great is that?! Maybe you work in an office or on a team of 10 employees. If each of you donate $10, you’re office or team has just created an entire bag. Easy!
Or you can wear blue and raise awareness with #whyblue. My closet has one blue shirt (that still fits) so I’m going to carry the blue trash bag this week — to the grocery store, to work, to the coffee shop, to lunch — and tell everyone I see everything I just wrote.
Children deserve better than trash bags, and, together, we can combat child abuse in our community.