Amberly’s Place gets creative for Child Abuse Awareness month

YUMA, Ariz. – A pinwheel placed for every child abuse victim last year in Yuma County.

“Each one of these pinwheels is a wheel of hope, because it’s a child that had the courage to report they they had been abused, and they’re lives have been able to move forward now.”

Students set out 549 of these Wednesday morning. April is child abuse awareness month, a time when Castle Dome Middle School partners with Amberly’s Place. One class hand made sock monkeys for the domestic violence shelter.

Jarely Alonzo created a stuffed monkey.

She said, “It makes me feel happy that i’m making someone else happy.”

Spanish teacher Ana Batres came up with the stuffed animal idea three years ago. She has since received grant money to buy sewing machines for the project.

“What my students do is just an inspiration. Everything’s done by them. They leave the class feeling accomplished,” Batres said.

Amberly’s Place executive director Diane Umphress says the homemade monkeys send a powerful message to the victims who receive them.

“That message to them is my peers support me. Other children believe in me and think i’m gonna be okay,” Umphress said.

Law enforcement is also showing support during child abuse awareness month. Yuma county sheriff Leon Wilmot says deputies work closely with Amberly’s Place throughout the year.

“They can step in and do the counseling and help law enforcement in the long term and working with victim services as well to make sure the kids aren’t left alone.”

Amberly’s Place reps say they want all of Yuma County to be represented during child abuse awareness month. They will be holding similar events to this one on Thursday in Somerton and San Luis.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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