Arts grant aimed at preventing child abuse

October 31, 2007|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - A $25,000 grant recently was awarded to Morgan County Partners in Prevention, a team consisting of Morgan County Starting Points, Morgan Arts Council and Shenandoah Women's Health, for an arts program to help reduce child abuse.

Mary Hott, executive director of the Morgan Arts Council, said the purpose of Partners in Prevention is "a collaborative effort to come up with innovative ways to address child abuse and neglect."

Art From the Start is the program that will be funded by the grant, Hott said, and by integrating art into the daily lives of families with young children, parents will learn new outlets for expression as well as creative ways to solve problems.

Beginning in the spring, Prenatal Visual Arts, Movement Arts for Mothers and Their Infants, and Kindermusik for Children up to age 5 will be offered at the Ice House, and the classes will be taught by local professional artists with teaching experience, Hott said.


The classes will be offered to pregnant women, mothers with infants, children up to age 5 and women planning to have children, Hott said. Scholarships will be provided for Starting Points and Shenandoah Women's Health clients, she said.

"The synergy is since we have an arts community and a healing arts community, the two can be used to address the social needs as this program will provide," Hott said.

The grant will provide funding for a parent educator who will work with Starting Points participants and attend all of the classes, said Audrey Morris, its director.

Starting Points assists parents in accessing community resources and building social connections in the community through play groups and activities, she said.

"By getting them involved in activities with their children, we are trying to educate parents to reduce child abuse and neglect," Morris said. "That's the bottom line."

Starting Points will offer play groups for mothers and their children up to age 5 by December, she said.

"When families have social connections, they are not isolated and are less frustrated," Morris said.

The grant was awarded by Prevent Child Abuse WV and its funding partners, the West Virginia Children's Trust Fund, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Hott said.

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