During the era of COVID-19, many things have been put on hold. Child abuse is not one of them.
Raising awareness of the problem is why Broken Piece No More exists. The faith-based non-profit organization is holding an event for this purpose for the fourth straight year, and the message is no less important today than when Pamela Richards-Woodall first started this mission.
"It's to remind people that (child abuse and neglect) really happens. It's not just on TV or on the other side of the world, but could be happening right down the street from where we live," said Richards-Woodall.
For Richards-Woodall, it's a deeply personal cause, having suffered much when she was younger, a dark history which started her down a path of addiction.
"I went through many years of darkness, not knowing freedom," Richards-Woodall said in an interview last year. "God has led me through this incredible path. I have reached a point where I know that I want to be able to help other people find that freedom."
Broken Pieces No More helps shine a light on the problem, That includes researching and examining the causes of abuse, developing positive ways to reduce it through connectivity and education, offering resources such as volunteers and funding to reach out into the community, and working with community leaders to bring about change.
On Saturday, April 17, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., "Standing United With Our Children" will be held at the Rocky Hollow Athletic Center in downtown Somerset. Appropriate, since April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. A number of speakers will be on hand, "sharing information on how to build a healthy family," noted Richards-Woodall.
While past events have dealt with some of the grim realties of child abuse and neglect, "especially in the circumstances we're in right now, I wanted to step away from the doom-and-gloom," said Richards-Woodall of this year's event.
Speakers include State Rep. Shane Baker; Daniel Cornelius, whom Richards-Woodall described as "a survivor of child abuse"; local fitness expert J.R. Smith, speaking on the importance of getting kids active and moving; life coach Amanda Acton; mother-and-daughter team Paula and Emma White talking about dyslexia; and Lt. Bobby Jones from the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office.
Music will be provided by the Outreach for Jesus ELEVATE Youth Group.
Richards-Woodall said masks are required to enter and exit, but don't have to be worn inside for the event. "There will be limited social distance, so everyone feels comfortable," she said.
Visit www.brokenpiecesnomore.org or call 606-271-4111 for more information.
Even with a different outlook this year, there are still difficult facts to confront, like Kentucky leading the nation in substantiated child abuse cases, said Richards-Woodall. Still, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and Broken Pieces No More wants to help those in need find it.
"Statistics are important, but now more than ever, we need to extend hope," she said. "We need to give people a reason to say, 'We do need to protect children.'"