April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and the goal of Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) Child and Parenting Center of Iredell County is to provide one-stop, in-house services for children and families in crises.
SCAN helps families who are at risk for abuse and neglect.
"Most abuse and neglect cases are referred to our SCAN Child and Parenting Center of Iredell County through the Department of Social Services," said Amy Eisele, SCAN executive director.
"Other cases are referrals from physicians, schools, family members and even the parents themselves. Our parents are not bad people, they are people who need to learn more effective ways how to deal with their kids," she said.
SCAN helps build parent-child relationships through education, counseling and intervention programs through parenting classes, parent support groups, public awareness and a parent aide volunteer program. There's also a parenting resource library available.
Eisele, an Olin resident, says she has the best job in the world because she gets to see people grow and change through their parent aide and family connections programs.
"It's like receiving a bunch of rosebuds and watching them blossom into a beautiful bouquet of roses," said Eisele.
Iredell County has not had any child-abuse related deaths between 2003 and 2009. The state average is 35 child abuse and neglect deaths annually. Nine out of 10 cases handled by SCAN do not recur within one year. The nonprofit Mooresville-Lake Norman Exchange Club/SCAN Child and Parenting Center of Iredell County is independently operated and funded by the United Way of Iredell, the Mooresville-South Iredell United Way, United Way of the Carolinas and area Exchange Clubs. SCAN also relies on individual, business and church donations to fund their programs.
"We are on the brink of starting a regional capital campaign to raise funds for land and facilities for a full-service child abuse prevention and parent education center in central Iredell County," said Mooresville resident Paul Summerville, president-elect of the North Carolina District Exchange Club.
The Mooresville-Lake Norman Exchange Club in conjunction with SCAN held activities in April to raise awareness and funds. The commemoration began on March 25 when the Exchange Club erected 33 white and blue "Prevent Child Abuse" flags in the John Franklin Moore Park in downtown Mooresville. Each flag represents a North Carolina child who died of abuse or neglect at the hands of their caregivers in 2009. The flags will remain in the park through April 30. SCAN mascot Time Out Teddy was on hand to greet the crowd.
March 27 marked the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the National Exchange Club, a service organization, and the 20-year birthday of the Mooresville-Lake Norman Club. There are 26 Exchange Clubs in North Carolina that pair with nine SCAN/Child Abuse Prevention Centers. Although the Exchange Club supports community service projects, veteran's, seniors and youth programs, its main focus is raising awareness for the prevention of child abuse and intervening when abuse has occurred.
The Mooresville-Lake Norman Exchange Club hosted the Grammy-nominated country blue-grass band Balsam Range on April 3 at the Mooresville High School auditorium. After expenses, the event raised $1,700 for the Mooresville and Statesville SCAN Child and Parenting Centers.
"I would like to see this concert become an annual fundraising event so we can continue our mission of preventing child abuse and neglect in Iredell County by building positive parent-child relationships through education, counseling and intervention programs," said Summerville.