Planting pinwheels, growing prevention in Iwakuni

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Andrew Jones
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Andrew Jones

Planting pinwheels, growing prevention in Iwakuni

by Cpl. Andrew Jones
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni

U.S. service members, school teachers, Iwakuni Elementary School students and parents of students planted 1,500 blue and silver metallic pinwheels at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, March 28, 2019.

The pinwheels represent a carefree childhood and they were planted for Child Abuse Prevention Month in April.

The event was hosted by the Marine Corps Community Services Family Advocacy Program. Nearly 400 students from Iwakuni Elementary School walked to what is known around base as the cherry blossom triangle, and were assisted in planting the pinwheels by volunteer service members, parents and workers from the Family Advocacy Program.

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. John Harris, the executive officer of MCAS Iwakuni, represented the air station at the event and signed a proclamation on behalf of Col. Richard Fuerst, the commanding officer of MCAS Iwakuni. Harris read the document in front of the children and affirmed the command’s commitment to protecting society’s most valuable asset: children.

“(Supporting this event) is the right thing to do,” said Harris. “MCCS and health providers put a lot of effort into advertising this and promoting it and we fully back that. Just a simple thing like showing up shows that the command support is there.”

Support for families on the air station goes beyond just the command, it happens at every level from neighbors and coworkers to the MCCS Family Advocacy Program.

“The representation (of the pinwheels) is that we just want to make sure our kids are safe. We want to make sure that people know that there are services here to assist parents and caretakers with helping our kids thrive in our environment,” said Angela Finley, a prevention education specialist with the Family Advocacy Program.

The Family Advocacy Program provides support to families through victim advocates, classes for expecting parents and counseling services for victims and families in need.

The Family Advocacy Program can be reached at 253-4526. For their 24-hour hotline please call 090-9978-1033.

Photo Caption:
U.S. service members and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni residents participate in a pinwheel planting event at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, March 28, 2019. The pinwheel planting was held by the Marine Corps Community Services Iwakuni, Family Advocacy Program in order to raise awareness for National Child Abuse Prevention month at MCAS Iwakuni. During the event, nearly 400 students from Iwakuni Elementary School, assisted by volunteer service members, parents, school teachers and MCCS employees, planted 1,500 pinwheels.

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