Springfield, Missouri – The works of art on display for the next two weeks at Randy Bacon Studio are for much more than decoration. The art, created by Springfield elementary students, is standing up against child abuse and neglect.
“They told us that the artwork was for charity,” said Caleb Pardue, a fifth-grader at Robberson Community School. “They’re going to be sold and they’re going to be going to the charity for abused and neglected kids.”
The artwork is part of Children Taking a Stand, which began in 2008. That was the year Juli Nelson read an article about the horrible abuse of a local child. When she took the story to her faith community, a little boy said he wanted to sell lemonade to help kids who get hurt.
The non-profit has evolved through the years into a school-based art program. Through the art they create, kids are empowered to be part of the solution to a very serious problem.
“Because children are the ones being hurt, children deserve to rise up on behalf of their own, to be empowered to be part of the solution to this persistent and horrendous problem,” Nelson said.
“It’s important for us because I don’t think anyone in this school is abused and we don’t know how it feels, so other kids, we want them to have the experience we have,” said Robberson fourth-grader Olivia Attyberry.
“I think it’s important because a lot of people notice [this is happening] and they don’t do anything, they don’t even try to find a way that they can help,” added Mattie King, a Robberson fifth-grader. “And I think it’s just teaching us that if we start earlier, then we can do much more.”
Not only does the artwork give back, but it also creates a conversation and educates kids on what to do if they ever find themselves or their friends in a dangerous situation.
“We talk about what child abuse is and how the kids need to be safe and if they’re feeling unsafe or there’s other kids out in Springfield who are unsafe, it’s just helping them and just putting awareness out,” said Daphne Mack, School Counselor at Robberson Community School.
Last year’s art auction raised $6,000 for the Child Advocacy Center, the Victim Center and CASA of Southwest Missouri. This year, the goal is $10,000, which will take the help of the entire community.
“If there are children in our community who are being hurt, even if we personally haven’t experienced it, or our children haven’t experienced it, it should matter to us,” Nelson said. “It’s our problem too.”
The show is open to the public starting at 6:30 p.m. at Randy Bacon Studio on College Street.
If you can’t make it tonight, all the artwork will be on display for another two weeks.
You can also make a donation to Children Taking a Stand through Community Partnership of the Ozarks.