Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes was inspired by the rain when he made his remarks at Steppin’ Up for Children, organized in Logan by The Family Place and held each year as part of National Child Abuse Awareness Month.
Reyes, the keynote speaker, noted the rain that drove the event from the Cache County Historic Courthouse steps to the County Council chambers, saying it was an appropriate analogy to the cycle of child abuse.
“For so many, far too many, living in that environment is like living in a storm, it’s like darkness, and for many they don’t know if there is a way out of that storm; just think about it for a second — shelter — how much nicer and warmer it is in here than to be outside in the rain,” he said. “That is what The Family Place and that is what you all are doing, helping to provide that sanctuary and safety and shelter for these children and families that are in the cycle of abuse.”
Esterlee Molyneux, executive director of The Family Place, said the organization provided services to 8,500 people in Cache County in 2015.
Of those, a refugee had a safe place to leave her children three times a week while she took English classes and worked toward obtaining both her driver’s license and GED diploma.
Another woman, a single parent, used the care services at The Family Place for her child while she studied for exams.
An adult who was once a victim of child abuse took advantage of the educational programs there to stop the cycle of abuse and learn how to raise her children with love and respect.
Molyneux said these stories are much nicer to share than those represented by the hundreds of pairs of shoes on display during the Steppin’ Up event. Each pair represents a substantiated case of child abuse in 2015 in Cache and Rich counties.
“I implore you all — stop the judgment, be supportive of one another,” she said. “I personally will not be satisfied until there in not one pair of shoes up here.”
The Family Place, formerly named the Child and Family Support Center, was started in 1982 by community members who wanted to offer support to struggling families and now has local centers in Logan, Smithfield and Hyrum.