Pinwheels planted to raise awareness, prevent child abuse
By Janelle Fisher
City Pages Editor
GREEN BAY – Nearly 150 pinwheels adorn the lawn outside of Family Services Willow Tree Cornerstone Child Advocacy Center at 503 S. Monroe Ave., Green Bay, but those pinwheels serve as more than just a decoration.
Each pinwheel represents a child who has been helped at Willow Tree so far in 2023 as a result of allegations of sexual or physical abuse, neglect or other maltreatment.
That number — 144 — is just a fraction of the total suspected cases of child abuse reported in Brown County annually, which typically comes out to roughly 5,000.
The pinwheels planted at Family Services represent a collective hope for all children, according to Kristie Sickel, child forensic interviewer and program manager at Family Services.
“April represents childhood abuse prevention and awareness,” she said, “and the symbol for child abuse prevention in awareness is this pinwheel… In essence, the pinwheel represents what we want for every child — a safe, happy and healthy childhood free from abuse.”
Family Services staff gathered April 7, joined by other members of the community, to plant the pinwheels as part of an effort to raise awareness and prevent child abuse.
“We are honored to be a part of the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign again this year in effort to promote the safety and well-being of children in our community,” Tana Koss, vice president of programming at Family Services, said. “By planting pinwheels and raising awareness about child abuse prevention, we hope to send a powerful message that we all have a role to play in keeping children safe.”
Among those planting pinwheels were members of The Other Guys — a motorcycle group made up of retired and active law enforcement officers.
Glenn Sowle, vice president of The Other Guys, said The Other Guys’ support of Family Services and the planting of the pinwheels is important to members of the group because they have all witnessed firsthand the need for the services they provide.
“What they do for victims of sexual assault, for kids and their families, is just paramount because we could all relate to it so much,” he said. “We’re all officers or retired and we’ve been through it with people. Crimes against children are just unexcusable. It’s very near and dear to us and close to us, so that’s why we keep on supporting this organization.”
Other members of the community who are interested in getting involved with raising awareness and preventing child abuse are encouraged to plant pinwheels in their own yards, volunteer at a local event or spread the word about the campaign on social media. More information about Family Services or about the services provided at Willow Tree can be found at familyservicesnew.org