Office of University Communications & Marketing

Downtown Event to Bring Awareness to Child Protection
May. 21, 2010



FLORENCE, Ala. – Several University of North Alabama departments will combine their efforts May 25 to bring awareness to child safety. The events, part of the Department of Justice’s Take 25 campaign, will occur at 11 a.m. in front of the Cramer Children’s Center on W. Tennessee Street in downtown Florence.

The UNA Department of Criminal Justice, Women’s Center and Division of Student Affairs are co-sponsoring the effort with the Cramer Children’s Center. Miss UNA, Erica Gholson, will be on hand and will also present safety lesson at Princess Night at the Regency Square Mall the evening of May 20.

Take 25 is a preventative child safety campaign that the Department of Justice is promoting in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). NCMEC is a private, nonprofit organization with a mission of helping prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation, aid in the recovery of missing children and offer assistance for children who have been victimized. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan declared May 25 as National Missing Children’s Day, and each administration since has honored the day as an annual reminder to make child protection a national priority.

NCMEC launched Take 25 in May 2007 as a nationwide grassroots initiative designed to heighten awareness of the issues surrounding missing and exploited children. The Take 25 campaign encourages law enforcement, parents and educators to take 25 minutes to talk to children about ways to be safer and encourages an ongoing dialogue with children about safety. Age-appropriate videos and other conversation starters are available for parents and children on the Take 25 Web site, www.take25.org.

“This event is to bring the Shoals community together for the purpose of protecting children,” said Dr. Phil Bridgmon, chair of the UNA Department of Criminal Justice. “The event reminds us of ways to protect children and highlights the need for greater support of children and families.”

Circuit Judge Jimmy Sandlin will deliver the keynote. All locally elected officials have been extended special invitations to the event. Pinwheels will be placed at the Cramer Children’s Center, with each pinwheel representing a forensic interview conducted by the center in the past year to begin an investigation into potential child abuse or neglect. The event will conclude with brief remarks related to Take 25, and tours of the center will also be available. The public is invited. Light refreshments will be served following the event.

For more information, visit www.take25.org, or contact Bridgmon at 256-765-4192 or pbbridgmon@una.edu.