Two Scottsdale organizations want to end what they call the national assault on innocence.
The Cultural Wellness and Family Enrichment Center and the Scottsdale Prevention Institute are beginning their first child wellness and violence prevention campaign in February, which is national Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month.
Their first plan of action is to spread awareness about the culture of violence and the disappearance of childhood in the United States that contributes to a child’s loss of innocence.
A speech by Jon McCaine, who has helped thousands of violent children cope with their violent pasts, will kick off the wellness campaign at 7 p.m. Feb. 17 at Scottsdale Community College Performing Arts Center. The event will include a display of nonviolent art by kindergarten through eighth-grade students from Waldorf Desert Marigold School at 6 p.m.
McCaine, who lives in Tucson and works for Floridabased Youth Services International, has treated more than 3, 500 violent children nationwide.
McCaine said children become violent because of circumstances that accumulate over time, including having violent role models, traumatic personal experiences and even exposure to violent movies and video games without a parent to explain what they mean.
The speech and wellness campaign are aimed at stopping the culture of violence before it gets out of hand, said Barbara Newby, executive director of the Scottsdale Prevention Institute.
"We’re hoping that by reaching the parents and not waiting until it’s totally out of hand, that we can do some intervention here and prevent the violence that is prevalent among children," she said.
Vanessa Chamberlain, director of the enrichment center, said this and three other events throughout the year will be a good first step to spreading awareness.
She said the last event is a performance of "Bang Bang You’re Dead," a play that shows what happens when parents and educators don’t pay attention to children
McCaine said his speech will focus on what influences children to become violent and examine what can be done to counteract that.
Speech on violence
What: "A Moment of Truth, A Matter of Choice: Planting Seeds in the Season for Nonviolence," by Jon McCaine
When: 6 p.m. Feb. 17
Where: Scottsdale Community College Performing Arts Center, 9000 E. Chaparral Road
Cost: $15 for students, $20 for others; $25 at box office
Information: (602) 432-3707