A local organization is encouraging students to participate in two competitions to support National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Prevent Child Abuse of Jefferson County is sponsoring a poster contest for elementary students, as well as a public service announcement contest for students in middle and high school. Winners of both contests will be honored at an award ceremony April 29.

The theme of the poster contest is "Stand Up For Children." Counselors and teachers at Jefferson County elementary schools have received information about the contest, and many teachers will have their students complete posters in the classroom.

The PSA contest for older students is new this year. Entries will be 30-second or 60-second presentations in a DVD-RT format. Suggested topics are: Bullying, physical abuse, emotional/verbal abuse, neglect, dating violence, domestic violence and cyber bullying.

The deadline for entering the PSA contest for grades 6-12 is Wednesday, April 3. School officials have entry forms and rules for the contest, however, forms can also be provided by email. Requests can be sent to lhodges@docksidecorp.com.

The Prevent Child Abuse organization has planned many other activities to observe Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The most visible project will be the displays of blue pinwheels at the Jefferson County Courthouse, River Valley Financial Bank and Hanover's branch of the Jefferson County Public Library.

Local residents are asked to wear blue clothing or a blue lapel ribbon once a week in April on "Blue Mondays" to show their support for preventing child abuse. Friday, April 19, will be "Black Out Bullying Day," on which people can wear all black to show their support to stop bullying.

The public is invited to attend the Prevent Child Abuse awards ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 29, at North United Methodist Church. The speaker will be Mary Armstrong-Smith, who is Community Partners Director at Prevent Child Abuse Indiana. Student contest winners will be honored.

PCA Jefferson County is a chartered Council of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana. The local organization is staffed entirely with volunteers. Rena Caldwell is the president.

The organization's mission is to work together with the community to strengthen families through awareness and education.

Child Abuse Prevention Month has been observed each April since its first presidential proclamation in 1983.

Since that time millions of Americans have participated in this public awareness campaign. Individuals, organizations and communities across the country plant pinwheels, tie ribbons, organize trainings, host fundraisers, hold family events and support a multitude of other activities celebrating childhood and raising awareness that all children deserve to grow up in happy, healthy environments.