PRESTONSBURG - The Floyd County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office is sponsoring a contest for county fifth- and sixth-graders which is aimed at raising awareness of child abuse and will see every participant receive a prize for their efforts.
The idea gained support quickly among several county agencies, including the Department of Protection and Permanency, Mountain Comprehensive Care, Kentucky State Police and the Big Sandy Child Advocacy Center.
Organization of the event was handled by the victim's advocate Kathy Lafferty, who said, "It is our hope that the results of this prevention and awareness contest will be educational for the children, teachers and parents and that the results will be far reaching."
The fliers going out to schools spell out the contest's rules and include materials, like statistics, which can be incorporated into one of two categories. Children who participate will be asked to either write an informative essay about child abuse or produce a poster.
Each participant will receive a pass to the East Kentucky Science Center for entering the contest and winners from each grade and category will also receive a free pass to the Kentucky Opry at the Mountain Arts Center this summer as well as a coupon for a free meal at Dairy Queen or Pizza Hut.
Every winner will have their project automatically entered in a countywide contest that will have the winners announced at the Floyd County Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Awards that will be held on April 21 at 6 p.m. on the campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College on the walking track gazebo, where Attorney General Greg Stumbo will be the guest speaker. Cash prizes will be awarded to the first-, second- and third-place winners for poster and essay contests with winners receiving $100, $50 and $25, respectively.
The evening will be capped by a special service honoring victims from the county who have lost their lives.
"We felt that it was the right time to give victims a voice in the community the memory of those victims who have lost their lives in Floyd County," Lafferty said.
Lafferty is sending out statistics about child abuse to family resource centers throughout the county. One sobering fact in the material is that despite the larger size of neighboring Pike County, Floyd still has slightly more instances of reported child abuse. Lafferty pointed out that such statistics don't tell the whole story, since many cases of abuse go unreported.
In a letter going out to prospective donors for the program Commonwealth's Attorney Brent Turner notes, "We believe that making a difference begins with education." He also invites all who participate in the program to attend the April 21 rally and closes by saying, "Together we can make a difference in the life of a child."