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April 3, 2014

Safe Kids Expo April 12 at Sportsman Lake Park

Hundreds of children and families will flood Sportsman Lake Park Saturday, April 12 to enjoy a day of free popcorn, amusement rides and music in an event to raise awareness about child abuse and crime victims advocacy.

Each year, Brooks Place (the Cullman County Child Advocacy Center) hosts the annual Safe Kids Expo at the park, and each year, it attracts more and more attendees, with between 500 to 700 or more expected this year. The goal of the free community event, which will be from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., is to engage residents and make them aware of child abuse, said Kim Bevis, executive director of the Cullman County Child Advocacy Center.

This year, organizers plan to emphasize crime victims after receiving a federal grant through a crime victims fund.

“We just want to offer a day where kids and families can come out and have a good time and also raise awareness about child abuse in our community and for victims of crimes,” Bevis said.

Organizers are working with local churches and business sponsors to give away popcorn, soft drinks, snow cones and hotdogs. Local law enforcement and fire departments will have helicopters, fire engines and police cars on display for children. Kids can also play in bounce houses, ride the park’s train around Sportsman Lake or play miniature golf for free. Live music and fishing rodeo will round out the day’s events, Bevis said.

The first 600 children will receive a free T-shirt from the event. The Safe Kids Expo is one of many events planned this month to recognize April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. According to the Children’s Bureau, 9,573 children in Alabama were victims of maltreatment and abuse in 2012, up from 8,123 in 2009.

Tiffeny Owens can be reached by email at towens@cullmantimes.com or by phone at 256-734-2131, ext. 135.

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