Keeping Them Safe: May 26 Downtown Gathering Brings Awareness to Child Protection

May. 21, 2009


FLORENCE, Ala. – A noon gathering May 26 at the Center on Tennessee Street in downtown Florence will bring awareness to child protection as part of the Department of Justice’s Take 25 campaign. The University of North Alabama Department of Criminal Justice and the Cramer Children’s Center are co-sponsoring the effort.

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 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.

“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 serves as a reminder of the harm that can happen to children when families, communities and government agencies are not vigilant in protecting the most vulnerable in our society.”

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 local known case of child abuse or neglect. The event will include brief remarks related to Take 25. Light refreshments will be served.