Celebrating Hope against Child Abuse

 A child stands with a blue pinwheel among 200 inside Sugarman's Corner in Downtown Klamath Falls to celebrate a Day of Hope. Hope that child abuse can be eradicated. April 4, 2018 (Brian Gailey)

A child stands with a blue pinwheel among 200 inside Sugarman's Corner in Downtown Klamath Falls to celebrate a Day of Hope. Hope that child abuse can be eradicated. April 4, 2018 (Brian Gailey)

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Klamath Falls, Ore. - On Wednesday, April 4, 2018, Sugarman’s Corner in Downtown Klamath Falls became home to the Day of Hope community event. An event dedicated to child abuse prevention in Klamath County and to proclaim April to be Child Abuse Prevention Month in Klamath County.

“We celebrate this day being the annual Day of Hope,” said Carol Westfall City of Klamath Falls Mayor. “We recognize this month of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.”

 A crowd of 200 gather in Sugarman's Corner in Downtown Klamath Falls to celebrate a Day of Hope. Hope that child abuse can be eradicated. April 4, 2018 (Brian Gailey)

A crowd of 200 gather in Sugarman's Corner in Downtown Klamath Falls to celebrate a Day of Hope. Hope that child abuse can be eradicated. April 4, 2018 (Brian Gailey)

 “Today our purpose is to prevent and eventually eradicate child abuse in our community,” said Billy Redd Pastor of Refuge City Church and Emcee of the event.

“Today our purpose is to prevent and eventually eradicate child abuse in our community,” said Billy Redd Pastor of Refuge City Church and Emcee of the event.

“Today our purpose is to prevent and eventually eradicate child abuse in our community,” said Billy Redd Pastor of Refuge City Church and Emcee of the event. “In the sheer enormity of this issue, we must all believe that the invisible spirit of hope to begin turning the wheel in the right direction.”

Nearly 200 attended the event with several dignitaries observed in attendance as guests. Observed in the crowd were: David Henslee, Chief of Police; Chris Kaber, Klamath County Sherriff; Airmen from the 173rd Fighter Wing, among others. Music was performed by the Henley High Touch of Class Choir Directed by Chris Benjamin and students from kindergarten class at Stearns Elementary. Students from Klamath Union High School also sang as part of the Day of Hope event.

Kelly Minty Morris talks to the crowd gathered at Sugarman's Corner for Day of Hope. April 4, 2018 (Brian Gailey)

“I do not think there has been a time as exciting as right now to live in Klamath County,” said by Kelly Minty Morris, Klamath County Commissioner. “There are so many great things going on. As a community we dream big and we get things done.”

Morris continues, “We shared that the county did already proclaim this Child Abuse Prevention Month. But I also want to proclaim with you today. This is not an issue that is too big for our community to embrace. I want us to really embrace this together and I want to thank you all in your efforts for making this happen.”

 Jen Meyers tells her story of hope. April 4, 2018 (Brian Gailey)

Jen Meyers tells her story of hope. April 4, 2018 (Brian Gailey)

“I believe that there is hope,” exclaimed Jen Meyers a Klamath Falls parent who has helped many children. “I can say I have hope with conviction, because I have seen many situations turn around. I have seen children get glimpses of hope and see it change the direction of their lives.”

Meyers continues, “Our home became a home for kids to hang out. We started to incorporate them into our family. From going camping to fishing, to trips to the water park, to kids camps and youth events at our church. Every Friday we would buy pizzas and they would hang out or we would go bowling. Sundays we would take them to church.”

“I realized what these kids were attracted to,” said Meyers as her voice choked up. “They were attracted to the security, our love and our acceptance.”

“These kids are so worth it,” Meyer said.

Billy Redd speaks to the crowd at Sugarman's Corner about the purpose behind the pinwheels. April 4, 2018 (Brian Gailey)

Purpose of the Pinwheel

Redd took a moment to explain the purpose of the blue pinwheels.

If you take a closer look at the pinwheel you will see this is like a perfect representation of why we are here today celebrating this Day of Hope and what we are doing here today.

From a distance your pinwheel is going to look like it is just one big unified apparatus. But when you look closer you will see that there are all these individual spokes all these individual little parts. And each one of those is united by the axel in the middle. There is a pin that goes through these, there is a common purpose to this pinwheel.

To see progress, to get this thing spinning, it takes all of the agencies, businesses, schools, government organizations, faith community, law enforcement and us as individuals in our community. We’ve all got to work together and align ourselves in the right direction in order to get these things spinning. In order for progress to happen when it comes to child abuse prevention.

In Klamath County we have many agencies and organizations working to prevent child abuse and they are doing a great job at it and we are so thankful for all of the efforts that have been put in over the years about child abuse prevention.

I have had conversations with some of the key players and there is this real since of momentum, forward momentum when it comes to child abuse prevention. Organizations and community members are in agreement and they are aligning themselves like never before in history in our community.

Here is an amazing thing about the pinwheel, it is all powered by an unseen force. My pinwheel is sometimes turning and sometimes not. There is an unseen force that is making it happen. It’s nothing I am doing, wind.

You can’t see the wind it is an unseen force. In our efforts toward child abuse prevention is also powered by an unseen force and that is the spirit of hope. The spirit of hope is what propels us forward when it comes to child abuse prevention.

We can try to move these things with physical force. We can take our finger and kind of move these things around and we can make some things happen on our own. But our efforts toward child abuse prevention will only happen at a fast pace if we are aligned together and that spirit of hope is blowing.
— Billy Redd

Pinwheel Gardens

Pinwheel Gardens have sprouted up in the Klamath Basin in support of child abuse prevention month an in support of the Day of Hope and goal of ending child abuse. Locations of the gardens are:

  • CARES
  • CASA
  • Cascade Health Alliance
  • Holliday Jewelry
  • Klamath Basin Behavioral Health
  • Klamath County Community Corrections
  • Klamath County Fairgrounds
  • Klamath County Government Center
  • Klamath County Sheriff’s Department
  • Klamath Falls City Hall
  • Klamath Falls Police Department
  • Klamath Lake Community Action Services
  • Life Recovery Church
  • Oregon Tech
  • Pacific Crest FCU (Washburn Way & S. 6th St. Branches)
  • Refuge City Church / Faith Tabernacle
  • Sacred Heart Catholic Church
  • Sanford Children’s Clinic
  • Turn Thom Point S
  • US Bank
  • YMCA

Due to the response of a Day of Hope and Child Abuse Prevention Awareness month, pinwheels are hard to come by in the State of Oregon. If you or your organization wishes to host a pinwheel garden in April 2019 contact Susan at Klamath Lake Community Action Services (http://www.klcas.org/ or 541-882-3500).

In 2017, there were four pinwheel gardens around the community. That number has grown to eighteen for 2018. By 2019, they are hoping for fifty plus around the community of Klamath Falls.