Around the State

Special to The Dallas Examiner

DALLAS

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to bring awareness to the prevalence of child abuse in our community. As many as 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will experience sexual abuse before turning 18. At least 5,847 children were victims of abuse or neglect in Dallas County last year. But child abuse thrives in the dark, and continues only as long as it remains secret and hidden. By bringing awareness to the problem, Children’s Advocacy Centers in Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Erath, Fannin, Grayson, Hood, Hunt, Kaufman, Navarro, Palo Pinto, Sommervell and Tarrant counties will equip adults to identify and report abuse, empower children to ask for help, and enable professionals to bring perpetrators to justice. Individuals, organizations and corporations can participate in the following activities:

• Friday: Show Your Blue Day – Organizations and corporations throughout our community are encouraged to wear blue in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

• April 24: Blue Sunday – This event provides an opportunity for faith communities to get involved by organizing a special offering to benefit the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center or by asking faith leaders to share a statistic or story during the service.

• April 26: Appetite for Advocacy luncheon at the Sheraton Dallas, featuring Brené Brown.

Citizens can also stand up for children by sharing the realities of child abuse, organizing an awareness event, or contributing financial or volunteer support to bring hope, healing and justice to one of the most vulnerable populations. For more information, visit http://www.dcac.org.

AUSTIN

The National Conference of State Legislatures invited state Rep. Helen Giddings last month to serve as a fellow in the upcoming Early Learning Fellows Program from May 18 through Aug. 8.

Giddings serves the cities of House District 109, which includes Dallas, DeSoto, Cedar Hill, Glenn Heights, Hutchins, Lancaster, Wilmer, as well as part of Duncanville.

“During my years in the Texas House of Representatives, I have dedicated myself to serving the children of this state,” Giddings said. “I hope to bring back solutions from across the country to promote early learning, close the achievement gap, and end the school-to-prison pipeline once and for all.”

This is the fifth year of the fellows program, designed to support legislators and staff who are experienced leaders on early childhood and early learning issues. It is designed to bring together the best and brightest from across the country for a series of sessions to explore innovative, cost-effective and high-quality best practices to provide early childhood care in our states.

“Last year, the National Institute for Early Education Research released a study showing that Texas ranks dead last in the country in delivering quality pre-K,” Giddings explained. “Despite incrementally increasing our investment in pre-K, the children of this state deserve more comprehensive solutions.”

Leading up to the summit, Giddings has called on the Legislature to give community colleges authority to certify early childhood educators and to continue the fight for universal, statewide pre-K.

DALLAS

“Order My Steps,” will be the theme of the 13th annual “Hatting” Prayer Brunch, hosted by the Dallas Southwest Section of the National Council of Negro Women Inc., a national women’s organization founded by Mary McLeod Bethune in 1935. With 39 affiliate councils and over 240 sections across the country, the organization’s mission is to lead, develop and advocate for African American women through research, national and community-based health programs, education and economic empowerment services.

The celebration will take place on April 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the East Dallas Christian Church, located at 629 N. Peak St. Attendees are asked to wear church attire and a hat. For more information, donations and tickets, call 214-337-5609.

LANCASTER

The city of Lancaster announced yesterday that it has selected Robert Franklin as the city’s new fire chief.

Franklin started his career with the city in 1999 as a firefighter, working his way up to battalion chief where he oversaw an array of fire department functional programs, assisted with fire department grants, and served as the chief of training. He is known for facilitating a transparent environment of trust by encouraging and equipping others to improve. His career passion is firefighter safety and customer service.

He is a certified fire executive; he holds a Bachelor of Science in educational leadership and an associate’s degree in fire protection. He is a certified Texas Commission on Fire Protection Master Firefighter, Fire Officer IV, Haz-Mat Technician, Incident Safety Officer and Master Instructor. He is also a graduate of the Texas Fire Chiefs Academy, a comprehensive training opportunity for current fire chiefs and those who aspire to be fire chiefs.

In 2015, Lancaster former Fire Chief Thomas Griffith announced his intention to retire in April 2016 after 30 years of service with the Lancaster Fire Department. Griffith’s retirement celebration will take place on April 22 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Lancaster Recreation Center Grand Ballroom, 1700 Veterans Memorial Parkway.

Lancaster City Council is set to confirm the city managers appointment of Franklin at the April 11 City Council meeting.

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