Child Abuse Prevention
Exchange has always had its finger on the pulse of national concerns, and in 1979 the prevention of child abuse was adopted as the organization’s national project. Exchange Club National President, Dr. Edward North, Jr. brought this growing concern to the attention of Exchange Club members and Exchangites accepted the challenge to make a difference in the lives of children and families, by engaging in a variety of activities designed to educate and inform the public, as well as by establishing community-based centers to help families. Fort Smith Noon Exchange Club supports the national objective here at home through its involvement with local agencies aimed at preventing and addressing child abuse. These include:
Parent Aide Center @ Hamilton House
Fort Smith Noon Exchange is a proud partner of Fort Smith’s Hamilton House, a Child Safety Center that provides forensic interviews, victim advocacy and support, mental health services and specialized medical evaluations for child victims of physical or sexual abuse. FSNE assists the organization by funding a Parent Aide Center, which provides trained parent aides to work in the homes of high-risk families. The aides teach nurturing and non-abusive parenting through the use of modeling, literature, DVDs, and other educational materials.
“Step Up, Speak Out!”
FSNE also promotes the local “Step Up, Speak Out!” movement, which is focused on raising awareness of the local prevalence of child abuse, specifically child sexual abuse, and the prevention thereof through education. Exchangites volunteer at SUSO’s bi-annual community block parties, held in cities throughout the region and regularly participate in “Step Up, Speak Out!” rallies and events.
National Child Abuse Prevention Month
In cooperation with the Hamilton House and “Step Up, Speak Out!,” Fort Smith Noon Exchange promotes April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Each April, Exchangites helped install blue bulbs on the antique Ferris Wheel in downtown Fort Smith to raise awareness of child abuse and commemorate National Child Abuse Prevention Month.