Kidfest at Home 2022 celebrates Athens County’s children with a week of virtual fun< < Back to
For over 30 years, Athens County Children Services has been acknowledging April as Child Abuse Prevention Month with Kidfest, an annual celebration of the organization’s mission as well as a way to spread awareness about what the organization does for the community.
In past years, Kidfest involved an in person gathering, but due to COVID-19, Athens County Children Services is instead providing bags filled with not only information from organizations that have contributed to Kidfest over the years, but also with toys, games, and sensory items for children, as well.
Distribution of the Kidfest at Home 2022 goody bags will take place April 2 at several locations throughout the county. These locations include Alexander Elementary School, Amesville Elementary, Coolville Public Library, Trimble Elementary, the Nelsonville Park, the Athens-Meigs Educational Service Center, and Heritage Hall (191 West Union Street, Athens).
Throughout the week of April 4 through April 8, Athens County Children Services will use their Facebook page to share with the community various activities and videos, some of which will pertain to the items in the goody bags.
Otis Crockron, Executive Director of Athens County Children Services, said Kidfest is one of the highlights of the year for the organization.
“For me, it just comes off as a really big party to celebrate children. That is really the main goal, for children to feel celebrated, important, valued, and supported,” Crockron said.
Crockron said Athens County Children Services handled 1,835 referrals in 2020 – 2020 being the most recent year the agency currently has statistics for. He explained exactly what a referral is in the context of the work the agency does.
“When I say ‘referrals,’ I mean that someone, it could be a church member, it could be a pastor, it could be a new neighbor, someone in the medical profession, someone at school, whoever — if they believe that they’ve seen a child being abused, they will make a call into our agency, into our intake unit. And every call that comes in is counted as one referral. And some of those will get a referral and maybe nothing really comes of it because there wasn’t enough there to truly ‘screen it in,’ as we would say. Regardless if it’s screened in or out, it’s called a referral.”
Out of those 1,835 referrals, Crockron said the agency helped 801 children in 2020. What help from the agency entails is dependent on the particulars of each child’s situation.
“Sometimes it’s just coming alongside the family and saying, ‘how can we help?’ If we are involved with a family, it might be because they can’t keep utilities on in their home. We’ve made plenty of arrangements with utility companies like that. So when we think about those referrals, it’s not always because there was a drastic intention to do harm. Sometimes it’s just not having the capacity to keep a child safe,” said Crockron.
Crockron said that the community has always been especially supportive of the work Athens County Children’s Services does, and that he is very grateful for that.
“Athens County is such a supportive community for our kids, and I have always appreciated it. We are here to help in any way we can. It is our priority to make sure children are in a safe environment where they can explore and learn. I thank the community for being willing to help in that whole process,” said Crockron.
For more information on Kidfest 2022 at Home the services Athens County Children services provides, visit athenschildrenservices.com.