Advocates recognized during National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Child and family advocates kicked off National Child Abuse Prevention Month at La Crosse’s Myrick Park Friday. The annual Blue Ribbon Appreciation and Award Breakfast is the first of a series of events being held this month.

The breakfast allows the Coulee Region Child Abuse Prevention Task Force to give back to the providers who are working with children and families in the community.

“We want to honor the work that they do and we want to let them know that they’re appreciated,” said Nicole Milliren, chair for the task force.

Jeff Reiland is this year’s Outstanding Advocate Award winner for his work over more than 30 years.

“This is really humbling. I didn’t expect this,” said Reiland.

He is being honored for his unique contributions as a Gundersen Health System therapist and University of Wisconsin-La Crosse professor.

“He also runs a parenting course to really help parents understand ways they can do things differently,” Milliren said.

Reiland was surprised to see such a large crowd, but it says a lot about how the community is looking to recognize the importance of the issue.

“The fact that we are making progress in trying to make the lives of children and their families better is really an exciting thing to be a part of,” Reiland said.

He said that many advocates, including himself, want to see children have a better life and have the same opportunities they did.

“When we can come together and as a group raise up every family, every child, I think that’s really exciting,” Reiland said.

Coulee Parenting Connection is holding a Family Fun Expo on Sunday from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. at Onlaska’s Omni Center. The task force is hosting a family fun walk on Saturday, April 14, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.