Photo by Johnny Jackson
Prevent Child Abuse Henry County received a donation from the Willett Foundation. Shown are PAC Henry Chairwoman Priti Griffin (from left), PAC Henry program coordinator Robin Jones, Willett Honda South owners Kelly and Scott Willett and Willett Foundation Director Adam Stanfield.
MORROW — There were 2,076 reports of child abuse and neglect in Henry County in 2012, according to data from the nonprofit Prevent Child Abuse Henry County.
The reports are 2,076 too many, said Priti Griffin, chair of the organization’s board of directors.
Griffin and others plan to participate in the group’s annual Pinwheels for Prevention event Friday at noon. It is a symbolic ceremony for volunteers who will plant the same number of pinwheels into the McDonough Square Park lawn.
She said those pinwheels serve as motivation for residents to be proactive about preventing child abuse.
“Our biggest thing is awareness,” said Griffin. “Child abuse in general is taboo and people don’t talk about it. But we need to let people know. It’s a horrible thing that’s happening to our children.”
Already, the group has gotten the attention and support of one area nonprofit organization that has a similar vision and mission.
Kelly and Scott Willett, owners of Willett Honda South in Morrow, launched the Willett Foundation earlier this year as a way to support disadvantage youngsters throughout the Southern Crescent.
“We focus mainly on teenagers in our community,” said Kelly Willett.
The organization, formerly known as The Bow Tie Society, plans to host various charity events throughout the year toward those ends. Its most recent was the March 2 Texas Hold’em Tournament at Eagle’s Landing Country Club to benefit organizations such as Prevent Child Abuse Henry County.
“It’s very hard these days,” said Kelly Willett. “We can help finance putting on an event where they can’t. For what they do to try and prevent abuse, how can you not want to support them. So if we can help them get funds that’s going to help families and our community, that’s what we want to do.”
The charity poker tournament raised more than $19,000 and Prevent Child Abuse Henry County’s share was $5,434.23.
Willett Foundation Executive Director Adam Stanfield said the event, and others like it, also served as an opportunity to educate and raise awareness.
“There is a lot of challenges out there and there always has been,” said Stanfield.
“A lot of people don’t know about this,” added Kelly Willett. “But there are people that need to know about this.”
Griffin thanked the Willett Foundation Wednesday during a check presentation ceremony, where the group received a share of the Texas Hold’em Tournament proceeds.
“We feel very appreciative and very thankful for their support,” said Griffin. “If you help them [children] now, they become productive adults that can help our community later.”
She said residents can help by volunteering in Prevent Child Abuse Henry County’s programs and upcoming fundraising events.
The organization plans to host a Pinwheels for Prevention 1-mile charity walk April 27 at Heritage Park, 101 Lake Dow Road in McDonough. The event is free but donations are welcome. Registration is 9 a.m., and the walk begins at 9:30 a.m. A list of volunteer opportunities is available at www.preventchildabusehc.org, or call 770-507-9900.