Children join fight to combat child abuse Pocket-sized calendar lists places to get help

June 12, 1996|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

Sarah Raymond has created a tool that abused children can use to get help: a pocket-size calendar with the names and telephone numbers of agencies that fight child abuse.

The calendars, which children can put in school notebooks, help them fight back the prevalence of child abuse by providing a handy reference source, said Sarah, a 13-year-old abuse victim who is leading a crusade to put the "Caring Kids Calendars" in county middle schools this fall.

Yesterday at Corkran Middle School, Sarah and classmate Meghan Kelly, 12, held a luncheon to thank their peers from Lindale/Brooklyn Park, Bates, Southern, George Fox, MacArthur, Central and Old Mill South middle schools for submitting drawings or writings about child abuse for the calendar, which covers August 1996 through July 1997.

"I just hope if any abused children will notice the numbers on the back to call and get help," said Sarah.

Each page of the black-and- white calendar contains images, some of happy families on an outing, others of children bent crying. Next to each picture are words of encouragement to parents and children about breaking the abuse cycle, and resources for help.

The last page of the calendar includes the names and telephone numbers of seven child abuse organizations that can provide help.

During the luncheon, the artists and poets of the calendar received a gift bag containing calendars, a poster and a T-shirt with each artist's work reproduced on it.

Stephanie Cullison and Theresa Connelly, both eighth-graders from Central Middle School, contributed a drawing of a child standing in the middle of the globe between a broken heart and a whole heart. The slogan, which wraps around the globe, reads: "Protect Kids Today, They're Tomorrow's Future." The outstretched arms of a child forms the letter 'T" in "future."

Stephanie and Theresa said they were proud to participate.

"I'm glad we did that because it will make an impact on people and teach them what child abuse is," said Theresa.

Sarah had the idea for the calendar when she was a contestant in the Miss Pre-Teen America Scholarship and Recognition pageant and gave a speech about child abuse. She and Meghan, who also was a contestant, were discussing the issue with teachers after the pageant. The calendar would be a portable reference source, Sarah said.

With the help of her enrichment teacher, Mary Ellen Ouslander, Sarah took her proposal to People Against Child Abuse (PACA) last September. The nonprofit agency in Annapolis guided the girls to sponsors who contributed about $30,000 to pay for 16,000 calendars and other promotional items.

In February, they asked their peers to contribute artwork and poems. Yesterday, Sarah and Meghan both received citations from the governor for their effort.

Ouslander said she was proud of her students.

People Against Child Abuse has a toll-free number for abused children: (1-800-CHILDREN).

Pub Date: 6/12/96

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