Pearls of Wellness Wisdom
By Perla Rivera, Wesley Nurse
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." Proverbs 31:8-9 (NIV)
I start off with this verse because April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. We know, however, that we must prevent and address abuse each and every day. Having worked as a behavioral health nurse, I am acutely aware of the devastating and destructive effects that physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse has on a child's life. It is up to the community, agencies, schools, and churches to protect and strengthen families because these institutions have a great influence on family life.
Children thrive on attention, affection, and having their needs adequately met by their parents. They depend on parents to nurture, guide, instruct, and support them on a daily basis and throughout their life span. Children need parents to be a part of their lives, and to be aware of their friends and activities –even when parents aren't very welcomed around their teenage years. Your awareness, knowledge and involvement in the care of children within your family, church, and community can help prevent or stop current abuse. Reporting child abuse and neglect is mandated by law, not just for professionals, but for any person that witnesses or suspects a child is affected. Speak up and be an advocate. Reports can be made to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services at 1-800-252-5400 or www.dfps.state.tx.us, or to a law enforcement agency. Additional information can be found at www.childwelfare.gov.
You can advocate for children and further help to nurture communities through education, speaking to neighbors, and/or becoming a volunteer at any organization that serves families. If you are unable to physically participate in this manner, you can carry this need in your heart and pray for children and families struggling with these issues. Pray for justice for these little ones. Pray for their healing and protection. Remember to always thank the Lord for your family, little ones, and the life and love that you all share with each other.
In honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, please join us at the 19th Annual Hidalgo County Child Abuse Prevention Candlelight Vigil on April 7, 2016, for a public awareness walk to raise awareness and remember those we have lost to child abuse. The walk begins at the CASA of Hidalgo County office building (1001 S. 10th Ave., Edinburg, TX 78539) at 5:45 p.m., and ends at the Hidalgo County Court House lawn where the Candlelight Vigil will take place at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call (956) 381-0346 or visit www.casaofhidalgo.com.
Perla Rivera, RN, is a Wesley Nurse with Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. Methodist Healthcare Ministries' Wesley Nurse program is a faith-based, holistic health and wellness program committed to serving the least-served through education, health promotion and collaboration with individuals and communities to achieve improved wellness through self-empowerment.