Lexington, KY – Many families are struggling to make ends meet in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky (PCAK), a statewide nonprofit dedicated to the prevention of the abuse and neglect of children, is selling t-shirts in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month with proceeds benefiting basic needs funding for struggling families.
“We know through research and experience the risk of child abuse and neglect increases drastically under circumstances of extreme stress or uncertainty,” said Executive Director Jill Seyfred. “The COVID-19 pandemic is the perfect storm – with families facing extreme social isolation, financial instability and stress, we knew we could step in and help struggling families.”
With t-shirts PCAK had purchased to sell throughout the month of April, Child Abuse Prevention Month, the nonprofit is instead raising money to distribute to families through partnering direct service providers, including their parent education provider network. The t-shirts, designed by Grant County Elementary student Kaylee Muse, will be sold at-cost, for just $15 each, with tax and shipping already included in the price. All proceeds will assist families by providing them with basic needs, such as groceries assistance with utilities and rent payments.
“Now is the time we need to rally around families and children more than ever before,” Seyfred said. “As a state and as a community, there are actions we can all take to decrease the risk children will face throughout the pandemic.”
PCAK has developed a toolkit for educators with tips to connect with their students while they are not physically in the classroom, as well as developing an activity calendar for parents to follow throughout the month. A resource toolkit for parents and caregivers is also in the develop-mental stages and will be released before the end of April.
In the meantime, PCAK offers this advice for parents and caregivers to provide stability for children during these unstable times:
• Maintain a schedule that promote appropriate bedtimes, schoolwork, mealtimes, hygiene and exercise. Make sure you include time for family fun!
• Limit electronics, gaming and TV. Limit your family’s exposure to social media and news coverage. Ensure everyone is practicing internet safety.
• Enjoy being outside, while practicing physical distancing. Go for a walk, play catch or explore the seasonal changes and check out new blooms and plants.
• If you feel yourself becoming frustrated or stressed, you are not alone. Take a time out and practice self-care. Contact a friend or neighbor if you are feeling overwhelmed and need to talk.
• Let children talk about their worries. Share your coping skills with children. Ask your children what helps them feel better when they are anxious.
• Take this opportunity to teach life skills to children and youth. This can include laundry, cooking, washing a car, or building something.
“Even if you don’t have children, you can still join our prevention efforts by purchasing a shirt, saying hello to your neighbors from across the street, checking-in with family members, planting a home pinwheel garden, or donating to PCAK,” said Seyfred. “Everyone can prevent child abuse and neglect, especially now.”
To learn more about PCAK, find COVID-19 resources for professionals, parents and caregivers, purchase a shirt or home pinwheel garden, or to donate to their cause, visit www.pcaky.org.