VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A sea of blue pinwheels has flooded the lawns of the Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in an attempt to raise awareness for National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

All April long, 3,000 pinwheels will hold their ground for drivers and pedestrians to see. The tradition was started in honor of the Virginia Beach Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) founding member Leah Waitzer.

CASA spokeswoman Stacy Nixon says Waitzer died in February of this year.

“She paved the way for many to serve, making an impact on generations of families not only in the Hampton Roads region, but across the globe,” says the group’s Facebook post. “This garden was planted in her memory, AND in honor of the legacy that she leaves for us to continue.”

Stacy Nixon has been with CASA for several years. She said the organization’s continued work through the pandemic was crucial.

The past year has made the significance of the pinwheel garden go far beyond just reported abuse. It also represents those who have suffered quietly in isolation brought on by the pandemic.

Although the display of solidairty spins in near silence, Stacy hopes we start talking about and reporting potential child abuse or neglect at a louder volume.

If you or some one you know is experiencing any form of abuse, you are not alone.

Child Abuse/Neglect Hotlines:

  • State Hotline: (800) 552-7096
  • Out-of-state: (804) 786-8536
  • Hearing-impaired: (800) 828-1120
  • Virginia Beach Hotline: (757) 385-3400

For more information on child abuse and neglect:

Human Trafficking Prevention Resources

10 On Your Side has compiled a list of local and national resources for residents to fight and prevent human trafficking.

Avalon Center in Williamsburg

  • Phone: 757-258-5022
  • Offers transitional housing, emergency shelter, youth services, legal advice, and counseling.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline: 757- 258-5051

Samaritan House Inc. in Virginia Beach

  • Phone: 757-631-0710
  • Offers counseling, emergency shelter placement, and safety planning.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline 757-430-2120

HER Shelter in Portsmouth

  • Phone: 757-485-1445
  • Offers emergency services, court assistance, shelter, employment, housing assistance.
  • Hotline: 757-485-3384

Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence

  • Hotline number: 757-787-1329
  • Offers: an emergency shelter, 24-hour crisis hotline, individual counseling, safety planning, children’s services, legal advocacy, accompaniment during hospital visits and court appearances and support groups to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
  • Website: https://www.escadv.org/ 

National Human Trafficking Task Force Hotline: 1-888-3737-888.  

Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Task Force -757-430-2120

Prevent Child Abuse America – Coronavirus Resources & Tips for Parents, Children & Others.

Child abuse and neglect are serious problems that can have lasting harmful effects on its victims. For more information on preventing child abuse and neglect check out resources from the CDC or call The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 for help.

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