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'Mama bears' raise awareness about abuse





The MOMS Club of Hays has partnered with the Mama Bear Effect to raise awareness about child abuse.

More than 6 million children are abused each year, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the MOMS Club is going door to door to spread the statistics.

"The reason we chose to partner with the Mama Bear Effect is because we like the image of how a mama bear will do anything to protect her cubs," said Lauren McNeil, administrative vice president of the club. "We will do everything we can to protect our children."

The club hopes to raise awareness and encourage parents to educate themselves and advocate for the kids.

"Kids can't always speak for themselves," said Kinsey Green, club president. "There are a lot of sick people in the world. I just want to spread awareness, so people know what to look for and what to warn their kids about."

April is child abuse prevention month, and the project encourages education and outreach.

"Our hope with this service project is to raise awareness about the silent epidemic of child sexual abuse, and encourage parents to educate themselves on how to keep their children safe," McNeil said. "Most abusers are not strangers off the street. Most are people you know and even trust."

The club is distributing 3,000 brochures to neighborhoods, as well as doctors' offices and other locations frequented by families.

"We want parents to learn how to protect their kids and make their kids feel empowered," McNeil said. "That way, they'll know what to stay away from and what to look for."

For more information, visit themamabeareffect.org.