CALDWELL, Idaho — The ninth annual Superhero Walk had people clad in capes, masks and spandex taking over part of Caldwell Saturday - marching through the streets to bring awareness to child abuse prevention.
April marks Child Abuse Prevention Month. Roughly one in four girls and one in 13 boys experience child abuse sometime during their childhood, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Members of the community donned their superhero outfits and marched with local law enforcement from the Caldwell Police Station to the Canyon County Courthouse.
Batman, Wonder Woman, Robin, and Optimus Prime were some of the characters in the parade of superheroes that came together to send an important message.
"We wanted to celebrate the professionals that serve victims and their families who are affected by child abuse," Child Advocacy Center Manager with the Nampa Family Justice Center, Jennifer Perry said. "We also wanted to celebrate the victims themselves who have transformed into survivors either by speaking up, or by giving back to their community in some way."
At the end of the walk, people planted bright blue pinwheels in front of the Canyon County Courthouse. The pinwheel is the national symbol for child abuse prevention, and represents a great childhood with playfulness and joy.
Families were escorted by officers from Caldwell Police, Nampa Police, and the Canyon County Sheriff's Office to the tune of bagpipes and drums.
"It's so important to let these kids know that they're loved and they're cared for, and make an example for other people," Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue said.
They were also joined by Guardians of the Children, a biker club that helps children overcome abuse.
"We live it. A lot of us rode today in the rain because if a kid can go through their trauma, we can ride for them," President of the Sawtooth Chapter of Guardians of the Children, Big D said. "When a child calls, we ride. We'll do whatever we need to do as long as it's legal, ethical and for the good of the kid to make sure they're taken care of."
The Nampa Family Justice Center said it's important for the community to be aware of the signs of child abuse, and potential situations that could put a child at risk.
"There are a number of ways, but really keeping an eye on your kids - especially online and their interactions on social media, what is happening with phones and text messages. Even the video games that they're playing with other people," Perry said. "So often we see a lot of the perpetrators are family members or close friends to the family that has that child that's been abused, because there's that level of trust there."
Sheriff Donahue said child abuse is a problem in our communities that can negatively affect a child's entire life.
"Even with all the awareness that we do as communities and society, unfortunately we just have a culture within a culture that we see that, and it's so sad," Donahue said. "These are the most innocent people of our society, and the most defenseless. So, it's really important that we continue to talk about it as communities."
The Nampa Family Justice Center exists to promote safety, self-sufficiency, hope and healing to those affected by abuse. They said one of the populations they see the most are children impacted by abuse.
"We see the importance of having community members aware of the signs of child abuse, and potential situations that could put a child at risk of being abused," Perry said.
Which is why the everyday superheroes marching through Caldwell on Saturday were banding together to defeat a menacing foe.
"I still believe that together we can make a difference, and we certainly can make a difference in these children's lives," Donahue said.
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