When a person sees a pinwheel, they may think of a child holding it in the breeze, each blade rotating, flashing its colors in reflection of the sunlight.
However, when members of Advocates to End Domestic Violence place 490 pinwheels on the Legislative lawn Tuesday, each one will represent a reported victim of child abuse from Carson City.
April is Child Abuse Awareness Month.
"This is a statewide program to raise awareness and prevent child abuse," said Rhonda Roth, parenting coordinator at Advocates to End Domestic Violence.
Advocates to End Domestic Violence is partnering with the Ron Wood Family Resource Center and the Division of Child and Family Services for Carson County to raise awareness of child abuse.
"We hope people will realize that by reporting abuse or neglect they can save a child's life," said Roth. "And through counseling, some families can become healthy again."
The most notable abuse report in Carson City in recent years is the case of two young siblings being starved for five years in an apartment bathroom. A good samaritan called the Carson City Sheriff's Office when she spotted the young girl, then 16, pushing a grocery cart rather than being in school and felt she was out of place.
The children's grandmother, Esther Rios, was found guilty and sentenced to a maximum 70 years in prison. The mother, Regina Rios, was found guilty and received up to 55 years in prison on two counts of permitting child abuse and one count of false imprisonment. Rios' husband, Tomas Granados, received 35 years on one count of permitting child abuse and one count of false imprisonment.
"No community is immune to child abuse," Roth added. "It really is important for people to report suspected abuse. The pinwheels are bright, colorful and kid-like as to who and what they represent. We'll be placing them on the Legislative lawn on Tuesday afternoon and removing them Wednesday."
Roth said teachers and anyone who works in the school system are mandated to report suspected child abuse, as are any job who might come in contact with a child, like medical staff, law enforcement and social service workers.
"We encourage them to call (authorities)," Roth said. "It's not our job to investigate and determine abuse, it's just our job to report suspected abuse.
"One thing for the caller to realize, (authorities) not going to take the children immediately from the home. They will first investigate.
"That's not going to destroy the family, but the case will be investigated and will help make the family stronger."
• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1223.
You can help
If you suspect a child is being abused, contact Advocates to End Domestic Violence. The organization has a 24-hour hotline: 883-7654.
If a child is in immediate danger, call 911.