Neosho Second Annual Child Abuse Awareness Walk

Published 04/11 2014 06:59PM

Updated 04/11 2014 07:54PM

NEOSHO, MO.--- Local residents headed outside, wearing blue to spread awareness in Neosho today. The effort is about the impact of child abuse. Foster families, victims, and citizens laced up their shoes today in an effort to shine light on those who have suffered.

"So we are walking to show our awareness and take a stand against child abuse and to help make our community aware of the abuse in the area," said Christi Sims, Newton and McDonald County Social Services. 

The 2nd Annual Child Abuse Awareness Walk was held today at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery. 

Educate the community about ways they can help our families. There are different ways from fostering children that come into foster care in our area. Also, sponsoring families, sponsoring children who are in care," said Sims. 

Kathi Stephens has been a foster parent for 28 years.  

"My youngest daughter, it's her fault. We saw a parade and there was a little girl who had a sign saying "We need foster homes and a family like yours." She cried until we got our license," said Kathi Stephens, Foster Parent. 

Right now, she has four foster kids in her care and three of them are teenage girls. She says it's a blast having these girls in her care.
"I'm not a girly girl. So this finger nails and don't forget the toe nails. I have three going to prom and they are having a blast," said Stephens. 

Stephens has fostered more than 500 kids and is happy she and her husband have touched so many lives.

"That's the one thing we need to understand, is that these children need to have a family. We just happen to be the stepping stone getting back to the family," said Stephens. 

As part of today's walk, participants released balloons, honoring the victims of child abuse. Groups will work to raise the awareness throughout the month of April. 

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