Shelby Co. tykes pedal for child abuse prevention - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Shelby Co. tykes pedal for child abuse prevention

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

SHELBY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) –  Every 35 seconds in America a child is abused or neglected. This month is dedicated to raising awareness about child abuse. Tuesday morning in Shelby County, tykes were learning about child abuse.

Behind each bike, there's a lil tyke, pedaling for prevention.

"They're racing for awareness!" said Lailia Chambliss, 'Pedal for Prevention' volunteer.

"They may not be old enough to understand it when it's happening to them if no one's talked to them about it, but they're certainly young enough for it to happen to them," said Sarah Shires, a counselor for abused children. "I mean it does happen to children at very young ages."

Every six hours in America, a child is killed by abuse or neglect. Last year in Shelby County, there were nearly 50 confirmed child abuse cases and countless more are currently open, under investigation.

Shires said child abuse is an epidemic. She counsels abused children in Shelby County. She said teaching kids now about abuse empowers them to speak up.

"It's important to teach kids as soon as you can about it," said Shires. "Just learning to say 'no' is prevention."

So, kids even as young as three know what to watch out for.

"It's very important to me because I want him to be safe and to able to know that it's okay to tell others if there's a problem," said Benita Collard, mother.

"The quicker you can give children awareness of what is appropriate and right and wrong, just to give children the power to know what is good for them," said Chambliss.

Mom's like Chambliss want their little ones to grow up aware of abuse, but still be able to savor this time in their life.

"Let our kids be kids for a while," she said. "Let them enjoy the simple things in life that only an innocence of a child can give."

Abuse can take that innocence away in a moment.

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