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‘Raising’ awareness for child abuse

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Surrounded by the community and other members of Charlie’s Angels, Roswell High School junior Arianna Padilla releases a set of blue balloons Tuesday afternoon. According to the Children Youth and Families Department, each balloon represents a foster child in Chaves County. At least 80 balloons were released. (Trevier Gonzalez Photo)

At least 80 blue balloons were released into the Chaves County skies to raise awareness for child abuse.

These balloons, explained Sergio Jimenez, an investigator for the Children Youth and Families Department, are a nod to the blue ribbon which represents child abuse.

“So we’ll be releasing a balloon per child that’s in foster care due to child abuse,” Jimenez said. “We’re here to prevent child abuse — that’s what we’re here for.”

This event, named the Child Abuse Awareness Carnival, brought in more than 30 vendors to New Mexico’s Children Youth and Families Department’s Child Protective Services office at 4 Grand Avenue Plaza Tuesday afternoon.

“With this carnival, it’s all free to the public and just to show awareness,” Jimenez said. “A lot of people think it’s a bad place, so it’s kind of to show it’s not a bad place. We’re here to help out.”

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, the month of April has been designated Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States since 1983.

First responders like the Roswell Fire Department and the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office also made an appearance to host fun-filled events and hand out badge-like stickers.

“All our law enforcement are our first responders when a child abuse case happens,” Jimenez said. “We have several vendors here that came out today (as well as) different resources that we have here in town that some people are not aware of.

“We’re here to inform them, and at the same time — have it entertaining for the kids.”

Members of the Charlie’s Angels, as well as plenty of children, took a moment later Tuesday afternoon to clench onto the blue-hued balloons and release them all in almost unison into the sky.

“We’re doing this for the kids,” Jimenez said. “Just to — as awareness for child abuse.”

Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.