National Child Abuse Prevention Month of April…

Never EVER speak to your children in a way that you wouldn’t want to be spoken to. No matter how irritated you get or exhausted you are…
Pinwheels for Prevention…


Prevent Child Abuse…  Quote from this website…

Take action to support healthy child development and help prevent child abuse and neglect in both big ways and small. Whether you donate to Prevent Child Abuse America, participate in one of our fundraising events, or join us by contacting your local office, your contribution makes a difference.

What can you do right now? Anything you do to support kids and parents can help reduce the isolation and stress that often leads to abuse and neglect.

Be a friend to a parent you know. Ask how their children are doing. Draw on your own experiences to provide reassurance and support. If a parent seems to be struggling, offer to baby-sit or run errands, or just lend a friendly ear. Show you understand.

Be a friend to a child you know. Remember their names. Smile when you talk with them. Ask them about their day at school. Send them a card in the mail. Show you care.

Talk to your neighbors about looking out for one another’s children. Encourage a supportive spirit among parents in your apartment building or on your block. Show that you are involved.

Give your used clothing, furniture and toys for use by another family. This can help relieve the stress of financial burdens that parents sometimes take out on their kids.

Volunteer your time and money for programs in your community that support children and families, such as parent support groups, child care centers, and our state chapters and local Healthy Families America sites.

Advocate for public policies, innovative programs and issues that benefit children and families.


The sad and crying little boy in the photo above reminded me vividly of the scary times during my own childhood during the 1950’s and early 1960’s.  Our family was torn apart by my father’s military experience during WWII and the Korean War.  As kids we lived in fear constantly.  We were scared of Dad because he was angry and often violent, especially when self medicated.  We were scared that Mom would be hurt, and worried that she was anxious and nervous all the time.   She yelled and screamed at us siblings as a daily norm…suggesting that we were at the root of all the trouble.  I think all of us wondered what it would be like to be happy and joyful…  We were at times afraid of each other because we became angry living in a highly toxic home circumstance…fighting with each other was a way to relieve stress and vent.  We couldn’t wait to get out of the house for school and play.  And we hated to come back home.

My description of our troubled family dynamic could be duplicated in thousands of homes in America at that time and today in the 21st Century.  The one thing different today that makes a difference is awareness, but we have a long way to go.  The stigma of mental health is strong motivation for children and families to be quiet about what happens at home, and suffer in silence.  Worse yet is that without mitigation or treatment all the emotional baggage sticks around with those who are abused for the next generation…the cycle of pain continues until the pattern of abuse is broken…

The best we can do to help abused children and stop the violence at home is to be vigilant.  As good Samaritans we must not ignore what we see as wrong doing.  All too often during my childhood, there was no place to go to be safe, no one to talk to, and worse we had the feeling no one else cared, even other relatives and family members…friends would stay away too.  Our teachers and coaches didn’t even know… We were silent for fear of the terrible consequences of telling anyone.

Heightened awareness today allows us to freely help as friends and neighbors, and a community as a whole.  Reporting is mandatory in schools and we are trained for intervention.  It is not difficult to recognize a child or a family needing help…  We can reach out and ask for help for ourselves and others in appropriate ways.  The trained mental health professionals and programs available are far more effective today than in the 20th Century.  By becoming educated and aware of child abuse and domestic violence, you can save the life of a child or even help an entire family receive the help needed to start the healing process.  Take a look at the references and resources provided in this blog post and get engaged in your own community doing your part to stop child abuse…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…   Click on the highlighted text for my author page, and purchase my book(s) as part of your awareness campaign and support in preventing child abuse and domestic violence…

Easter reminds me of new beginnings and children… This is a great time to celebrate our most valuable resource…our future…our children…

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

From Seasonal Wisdom…Gardening, Food and Folklore

Easter Bunny: It has long been said that fertile folks can “breed like rabbits.” No wonder many ancient cultures associated rabbits and hares with fertility, regeneration and spring. Old folklore believed rabbits cured sterility or difficult pregnancies. Even now it’s considered good luck to carry a rabbit’s foot. Perhaps the only ones who don’t consider rabbits a lucky symbol are the gardeners who have seen their flowers and vegetables devoured by the furry critters.

Immigrating Germans brought the Easter bunny to the United States. But the tradition wasn’t widely adopted in this country until after the Civil War.

Easter Eggs: It’s hard to imagine Easter without eggs. Yet, this tradition has roots that extend back to the earliest known civilizations. In fact, eggs represented rebirth and fertility to many ancient cultures.

Easter – Celebrating Life’s New Beginnings…


Why does the month of April matter as we think about keeping kids safe?  Quote from this website article from Child Trends

“Some observances are ones you wish you did not have to mark. With some 686,000 children victimized annually by physical, mental, or sexual abuse, National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April is one of those observances.  If there is good news here, it is that reports of child abuse have been declining slightly over recent years.”


Easter is very much about our Christian faith.  For me, Easter also represents the laughter and joy of healthy and happy kids.  When I recall long ago Easter celebrations with my own children and now observe little ones getting excited about the traditional Easter Egg hunt, I want to preserve this time of joy throughout the entire year and years to come.  As parents and adult mentors we know that our future depends on kids growing up as healthy and happy young adults with hope and promise for the future.  We are passionate about the safety and protection of our children who are the highest priority in our lives. 

Although we work very hard to keep our kids safe, it is a fact that there are thousands of children who live in toxic or traumatic circumstances all over America and around the globe.  It is critical to be reminded that all children are not safe and suffer from neglect and abuse in neighborhoods all around us in every corner of America.  We can help these kids have a better life while we keep our own children safe by getting involved in community events and other programs throughout the year that are focused on keeping children in a safe environment with loving adult mentors.  This extra adult attention for the children who are in need will make a huge difference for one child at a time.

On this Easter Sunday as we celebrate our Christian Faith, take quality time on this day and celebrate your children and others you know.  Your smile and kindness can easily give a child in need of that extra loving attention hope for a brighter future.  Do this everyday, not just on Easter Sunday…

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

“Pinwheels for Prevention” at the Lincoln City Cultural Center April 19, 2012… Join community volunteers on the front lawn at 9am…

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

pin_wheels_mini_1332702381 Pinwheels for Prevention…Lincoln City Cultural Center… Come and join community volunteers on the front lawn of the Cultural Center at 9am this Saturday…April 19, 2014…

Pinwheels for Prevention…official website…  Quote from this website… Big_Pinwheel_Garden_2014_02_00337

Actor Josh Charles and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Help Create Big Pinwheel Gardens in New York and Chicago!

“The Good Wife” actor Josh Charles helped Prevent Child Abuse America transform Times Square into the Big Pinwheel Garden on Tuesday, April 9, to mark Child Abuse Prevention Month and promote the pinwheel as the symbol for healthy starts for all children. Charles was joined by Manhattanmagazine’s Cristina Cuomo, Prevent Child Abuse America President and CEO Jim Hmurovich and over 200 volunteers, holding nearly 5,000 pinwheels to create the display.


I was delighted to learn about the “Pinwheels for Prevention” event planned at the Lincoln City Cultural Center on the front lawn this coming Saturday starting at 9am.  The month of April is designated by the US Congress for National Child Abuse Awareness and month of the military child as well.  I have posted on this blog recognizing April as the month to remind ourselves of the painful silence of children who are emotionally neglected or abused.   It is also a time to think about the families who suffer with emotional challenges that often affect children and result in abuse, including military families.  Children often carry forward the emotional baggage of childhood trauma well into adult life.  I know this to be true as a post WWII and Korean War military child growing up in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.  The national conversation during the month of April and throughout the year advances the cause of awareness and healing for millions of Americans…

Judy and I are planning to join our friends and neighbors on Saturday for this special event.  “Make a difference one child at a time.”  Hope to see you there!

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

Vice Chair,