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040218 Abuse pinwheels.jpg (copy)

In this April 2, 2018, file photo, pinwheels are planted in front of Lompoc City Hall in recognition of Child Abuse Awareness Month. Similar plantings are scheduled to take place Wednesday in Lompoc, Santa Maria and Solvang.

With April designated as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, child safety advocates in northern Santa Barbara County have several events planned to raise awareness of the local impacts of child and family violence.

Continuing a tradition that began in Lompoc in 2016, officials with the North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center will once again "plant" pinwheels in the courtyard at Lompoc City Hall during a ceremony set to begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday. That will be followed by similar ceremonies the same day at 10 a.m. at the Child Welfare Services office, at 2125 S. Centerpointe Parkway, in Santa Maria, and at noon at the Solvang Veterans Memorial Building, 1745 Mission Drive.

The pinwheels are meant to exemplify the innocence of youth, with each pinwheel representing five children suspected of being abused in each respective community.

The Rape Crisis Center will continue its outreach efforts with a survivor vigil and march set to begin at 6 p.m. Thursday at South Valley Community Church, at 1054 E. Clark Ave., in Orcutt.

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That event, themed "You know a survivor; You are a survivor," is billed as a way to celebrate those who speak out. The vigil march is slated to start at 6:45 p.m.

The Rape Crisis Center will also work to raise funds in Lompoc with its 12th annual Tip-An-Advocate event planned for 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, at Tom's Burgers, 115 E. College Ave.

At that event, Rape Crisis Center staff, volunteers and board members will serve food with the goal of raising tips that will be used to support the center.

For more information about any of the programs or efforts of the Rape Crisis Center, visit www.sbcountyrapecrisis.org.

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This report was prepared by Willis Jacobson. He can be reached at wjacobson@leecentralcoastnews.com.

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