Published April 17, 2014
By Devin Corbitt, News Editor
AWARE Central Texas hosted the 2014 Earth Day Festival this Saturday at Yettie Polk Park in Belton.
This year’s festival exhibited more than 60 vendors and 7 guest speakers throughout the day.
“There was something here for everyone,” Harriet Brodie, Director of Development at AWARE, said. “Lots of things can fall under Earth Day. This is an agricultural area; it’s going to be more prone to taking care of the earth anyway. It’s everybody’s problem.”
AWARE’s booth featured a general store with items ranging from stuffed animals to baked goods.
“I didn’t expect to have this much in there,” Brodie said. “We had a lot of people donate things, and that’s just so amazing. The public is coming alongside of us and saying, ‘We’re standing with you against this terrible epidemic we have in our community.’”
The main attraction of the general store was the bunny adoption, which allowed children to take home a stuffed bunny that included care instruction.
“We do stuffed animal adoptions so that the child will take them home, and then they’re supposed to read to it and feed it appropriately and make sure it’s taken care of with lots of love,” Brodie said. “The idea is that will pass onto the parents so that they understand what their children need.”
The event’s theme was “Healthy Families, Healthy Environment,” in keeping with AWARE’s dedication to preventing child abuse, neglect, and family violence.
Brodie offered suggestions for living this theme.
“Be aware of your surroundings; see if children are not getting fed or getting the kinds of things they need to flourish,” she said. “65 to 70 percent of children that grow up in homes where there’s yelling and screaming, their brains begin to shut down and they do worse in school. There’s more inclination toward teen pregnancy, they get in trouble with the law, they become wards of the state, so this is affected everybody, whether they realize it or not.”
AWARE covers an area that includes Copperas Cove, Killeen, Belton, Temple, Gatesville and Waco.
“We do parenting and anger management classes in those cities, and we also do family coaching,” Brodie said. “We come alongside families when they’ve been identified by CPS or if they just need some help through a difficult time.”
For more information on AWARE and how you can help prevent child abuse, visit http://awarecentraltexas.org or call (254) 939-7582.