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Mahoning County Champions Child Welfare with Annual Pinwheels for Prevention Event.

In a heartfelt celebration of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Mahoning County Children Services, in collaboration with Akron Children’s Hospital’s Child Advocacy Center, hosted the 19th annual Pinwheels for Prevention event at the scenic Lariccia Family Center in Boardman Park.

National Child Abuse PREVENTION Month
National Child Abuse PREVENTION Month

This year’s event shone a spotlight on the transformative work being done in child welfare, featuring a poignant agenda that underscored the successful outreach and support programs of the organizers. A highlight of the day was the keynote speech by Regina Alston, a distinguished author of children's books and a beacon of hope for many in the foster care system.

Alston, whose journey from a Mahoning County Children Services foster youth to a celebrated author and advocate, shared her compelling story with the audience. Drawing from her life experiences and the narratives of her books’ main character, Lena, Alston emphasized the significance of giving foster children a sense of belonging and importance. “I don’t want kids in foster care to think that they are just thrown away, that they don’t matter because they do matter,” Alston passionately declared.

Her statement, “adopting one child won’t change the world, but for that one child, the world will change,” resonated deeply with attendees, encapsulating the essence of the event's message. Alston’s tireless efforts through her nonprofit, Adventures of Lena, which organizes birthday celebrations, pajama drives, and provides essential supplies for teens transitioning out of foster care, highlight the critical role of community involvement in child welfare.

The event also served as a platform to honor individuals making significant contributions to foster care children’s lives, with Linda Romisher receiving the Community Spotlight Award for her years of dedication to creating Easter baskets and providing school supplies to foster children. Romisher’s simple yet powerful mantra, “be kind to each other,” echoed the underlying theme of the event.

Rick Tvaroch, the executive director of Mahoning County Children Services, addressed the gathering, emphasizing the organization's commitment to ensuring every child in their care finds a “safe, forever home.” The display of hundreds of pinwheels at the park entrance symbolized the positive impacts of such efforts, each whirl representing hope and advocacy for abused or neglected children.

The Pinwheels for Prevention event not only celebrated the achievements of Mahoning County Children Services and its partners but also issued a clarion call for continued support and action from the community. As Alston aptly put it, “It takes a community. It takes a village. It takes all of us to help children in foster care,” underscoring the collective effort required to secure a brighter future for every child.

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