Because I'm the Mom: Love Your Children

By Heather Condley Rainone | Managing editor Published:

Did you miss me? I missed a few blog posts while on spring break with my kids. Although it wasn't very spring-like!

I discovered today that Saturday is the 11th annual National Love Our Children Day. The day is an initiative of Love Our Children USA, which says the day is "like Mother's and Father's Day for children." According to the nonprofit group, the day was created to acknowledge the value of children and to educate parents on the importance of giving them love, protection and respect, the three essential elements children need to become strong and successful adults.

What a great initiative. Of course, most of us love our children every day, but some days we're so busy that we forget to show it.

Love Our Children USA is a nonprofit organization that fights violence and neglect against children. I had never heard of it before, but it seems to have a great mission. In addition to providing inspiration and resources, its website shares some mind-numbing statistics: Almost five children die every day in the U.S. from violence and neglect; 3.3 million reports and allegations were made involving an estimated 6 million children in 2009; from 2011 to 2012 there was a 2 percent increase in sexual abuse and 5 percent increase in physical abuse. The numbers are staggering.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month. Go to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website at www.childwelfare.gov/preventing/preventionmonth/ to see what you can do to help. Locally you can contact the Children's Advocacy Center of Portage County online at childadvocacyportage.org. Every year the group hosts Bowl Against Abuse to raise funds to heighten awareness of child abuse and neglect and to support services and programs. This year's event is April 12 at Kent Lanes. Team registration is due by April 9. If you don't want to bowl, you can simply make a donation.

Each year in April with the help of numerous volunteers, the Children's Advocacy Center of Portage County also places brightly colored pinwheels around the county to raise awareness of child abuse.

It's so important to speak up for the most vulnerable among us.

Remember to give your kids an extra hug or kiss on Saturday for National Love Our Children Day -- or why not do it every day?!

If you have any parenting topics you'd like me to touch on, feel free to comment on this post or email me at hrainone@recordpub.com. You can also follow me on Twitter at @heatherrainone or follow my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HeatherCondleyRainoneRecordCourierManagingEditor

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