The Milledgeville Exchange Club is getting set to host an annual event aimed at furthering its mission of preventing child abuse and neglect.
The civic organization has put together its third annual symposium on child abuse and neglect where local professionals will present information on both topics. The symposium is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 6 p.m. on the Milledgeville campus of Georgia Military College. The event is open to the public so anyone may come and learn about the different aspects of child abuse and neglect.
“We want to be not only a voice of reason and protection in the community, but we also want to be a voice of education,” said Jeff Wells, Milledgeville Exchange Club president-elect. “That’s one of the things we want to do with this symposium — make sure the residents of Milledgeville and Baldwin County have adequate information about how they can prevent this from happening.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 674,000 children across the country were reported victims of abuse or neglect in the federal agency’s fiscal year 2017. Three-quarters of those victims were neglected, 18.3 percent were physically abused, and 8.6 percent were sexually abused, the data states.
The setup for what has become an annual event is different from the first two incarnations. Previous years saw professionals simply present their information to attendees, but a switch is being made to a panel format with Wells serving as the moderator. The symposium has been organized through a collaboration with GMC who has two members of faculty serving on the panel in addition to housing the event. Members of the panel include: Tony Mayo, GMC professor of psychology; Jan Kump, GMC adjunct professor of psychology; Taylor Eady, Baldwin County firefighter and director of SafeKids Baldwin, Jacqueline Gittins, GBI special agent focused on preventing sex trafficking; and JoAnna Smith, program director for The Bright House. Each panelist will present information and answer questions based on their experience in their respective fields.
“It’s a combination of letting people know what child abuse is, how to be on the lookout for it, and what we can do as a community to try and prevent it,” Wells said.
The local Exchange Club is hoping to reach a broader audience at this year’s symposium as word has been spread to GMC’s psychology, sociology, and social work students. Wells added that the symposium could also be beneficial to new parents looking to get information on keeping their child/children safe.
The Milledgeville Exchange Club’s symposium on child abuse and neglect will be held inside the main academic building on the GMC campus located on South Elbert Street. Room G16, located on the building’s bottom floor will house the event, and heavy refreshments will be provided to those who attend free of charge. For more information on the upcoming symposium, contact the Milledgeville Exchange Club through its Facebook page or email at email@example.com, or call Wells at 478-387-1921.