July 28, 2014

Medina
Mostly cloudy
62°F

Center seeks to raise awareness of child-sexual abuse

MEDINA — The 475 pinwheels outside the Children’s Center of Medina County’s Highland Drive offices are more than just ornaments to spin in the springtime breezes.

Each represents a case of child sexual abuse that has been investigated in the county.

Dale Wurgler, left, Zachary Graham, center, and Grant Gibeault work to plant pinwheels in the front yard of the Children’s Center of Medina County in Medina. Volunteers planted 475 pinwheels there Saturday. Each one represented a case of child abuse investigated in Medina County last year. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Dale Wurgler, left, Zachary Graham, center, and Grant Gibeault work to plant pinwheels in the front yard of the Children’s Center of Medina County in Medina. Volunteers planted 475 pinwheels there Saturday. Each one represented a case of child abuse investigated in Medina County last year. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Rhonda Wurgler, the newly appointed director of the center, said the pinwheels bring attention to the stark reality that child abuse happens everywhere.

“It brings the attention that we’re not immune here in Medina County,” she said.

This is the fourth year the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign has been held in Medina.

The Children’s Center is a child advocacy agency that allows investigators like police, lawyers and doctors to use their “child-friendly” offices to question and examine child victims of reported sexual abuse.

The center reported it investigated 120 child sexual abuse cases last year.

The agency also said nationwide research shows one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18.

“Residents of our community are always surprised when they find out that each year hundreds of investigations of child abuse happen right here,” campaign chairperson Kim Wilson said in a statement.

In addition to the 475 pinwheels at the Children’s Center, 12 other large pinwheels have popped up throughout the county.

This is the first year that businesses, schools and local governments have participated in Pinwheels for Prevention.

Wurgler said she’s heard from businesses and other groups that want to participate next year.

“I have a feeling next year there are going to be more pinwheels throughout the county,” she said.

The Children’s Center will host an abuse prevention workshop 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Medina Public Library, 210 S. Broadway St.

In addition, the Children’s Center is having a $2,500 Buehler’s grocery giveaway raffle through the end of April. Raffle tickets are $10 each or three for $25.

To buy tickets, visit www.Medina CountyChildrensCenter.org or email education@MedinaCountyChildrens Center.org.

Contact Maria Kacik Kula at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@medina-gazette.com.