A Douglas County anti-child abuse advocacy group has received a $194,529 grant from the Catholic health organization that owns Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg.
Catholic Health Initiatives awarded the money to the Up2UsNow Child Abuse Prevention Coalition.
The coalition’s coordinator, Marion Kotowski, said the group will use the funds for its outreach programs to prevent child abuse and help domestic violence victims.
The programs include a youth media project in which teenagers make videos to raise awareness of child abuse.
“We’ve taken the issue of child abuse and we are pushing it out into the sun. It’s not as hidden as it used to be,” Kotowski said. “People are noticing and reporting it.”
One of the programs funded through the grant is a youth media project in which teens make videos to raise awareness of child abuse and post them on social media sites.
Recruitment will begin at county high schools in September for students to join the program.
Last year, 11 students started the program and four completed videos, which are posted on YouTube. This year, Kotowski said the project will take a team approach to make the video projects easier for students.
“Maybe they just want to be an actor, maybe they want to be a scriptwriter, maybe they are an artist,” Kotowski said. “With everybody bringing in what their strengths are, there can be more enjoyment of the project.”
Another project to benefit from the grant will be the ongoing placement of posters in women’s restrooms advertising the services of Battered Persons’ Advocacy.
The posters have already been placed at doctors’ offices.
Placing the posters in bathrooms helps women who might need to read the information or get the phone number away from the view of an abusive boyfriend or husband, Kotowski said.
The grant also will help Up2UsNow create and distribute information to educate new parents about “purple crying,” a natural period that can begin at week two of an infant’s life and last several months.
“This is a period of really increased and intense bouts of crying that was formerly known as having a ‘colicky baby,’ which implies there’s something wrong with the baby,” Kotowski said.
The organization hopes spreading information will help prevent parents from injuring their babies by shaking them in frustration over the crying.
“We tell them it’s OK to put your baby down in a safe spot and walk away and take a break,” Kotowski said.
One of the group’s newest projects is placing baskets containing pamphlets about a variety of abuse-related topics at locations such doctor’s offices and schools.
Kotowski said part of Up2UsNow’s message is that community members can help stop family violence.
“We can all be violence interrupters,” Kotowski said. “We can help make sure all people in our county are happy, healthy and productive citizens.”
• You can reach reporter Carisa Cegavske at 541-957-4213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.