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Roseville, Calif.- It was a “Blue Tie Affair” on a recent Thursday in Roseville, as more than 200 people gathered for KidsFirst’s 16th annual luncheon, celebrating their 25th commemorative anniversary and kick-off their community-wide campaign to end child abuse.

“We are so pleased to have reached our fundraising goal of $45,000 to help support vital prevention and therapy services to area [Sierra-Sacramento] children and families,” Lisa Velarde, KidsFirst, CEO said. “Last year, we served more than 300 people a month through our three family resource centers in Roseville, Auburn and Citrus Heights.”

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Rob Stewart from KVIE’s television program, “Rob on the Road” served as emcee for the “Blue Tie Affair” benefit. Stewart and guests wore their “best blues” in support of KidsFirst and National Child Abuse Awareness month in April. The blue ribbon was declared as the National Child Abuse Awareness ribbon color in 1989, the same year KidsFirst was incorporated as a 501C3, 25-years-ago.

Guest speakers of the event included an invocation by Dr. John Jackson, President William Jessup University, followed by a welcome by Mayor of Roseville, Susan Rohan and ending the luncheon with a benediction by Reverend, Dr. Christopher Flesoras of Saint Anna Greek Orthodox Church.

 During the luncheon, guests were asked to utilize their creative side and participated in a community art time capsule message dedicated to children of the future. Inspiring words and symbols were drawn on small pieces of canvas by attendees. All pieces were woven into a large canvas covered by pinwheel graffiti art and later revealed by, artist, Douglas Kleinsmith of Auburn Hip Hop Congress. Acting as the Timber Creek Ballroom wait staff were musicians from Auburn’s Golden Gloves who surprised the audience with hip-hop music, song and beats, and making a difference in the youth community, by focusing on bridging the gap between adolescents and adults through the power of hip-hop.  

The youth who participated in the “Blue Tie Affair” had much to say about strength and the power of life. Seventh grader and Vice President of St. Alban’s Country Day School, Brynne Burrows, chose KidsFirst as this year’s charity for their school-wide campaign. She was a guest speaker at the “Blue Tie Affair” and represented the 238 students from St. Alban’s.

“As students at St. Albans, we have been given a great education, and a safe place to learn. We have been given much, so every year we make a special effort to give back to the less fortunate in our community,” Burrows stated in her speech.

The blue and silver pinwheel is the national symbol for child abuse prevention. The uplifting symbol represents a positive childhood and the efforts to ensure the healthy development of children and is a reminder that everyone is devoted to creating healthy, safe and nurturing experiences for children. St. Albans child abuse prevention awareness campaign ran from March 10 through March 27. They collected diapers and wipes in the bins provided by KidsFirst and donated two-dollars to display each pinwheel on campus. Every pinwheel had a student’s name placed on the label.

“We are so pleased! They donated 2,864 baby diapers, 3,524 wipes and raised $650 from their “Pinwheel Garden” for our family programs and services,” Velarde said. “It was perfect timing, since we were about to launch our county-wide “Plant a Pinwheel Garden” social media campaign challenge.”‘

KidsFirst “Plant a Pinwheel Garden” social campaign challenge launched on Tuesday, April 8, just after the Placer County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted April as child abuse prevention month and recognized KidsFirst for their 25-years of serving families the Sierra-Sacramento region.

Everyone is encouraged to “Plant a Pinwheel Garden” in their community, school, home or business and take a photo to post on KidsFirst’s Facebook and Twitter pages to KFNow (#kidsfirst #25years).

The month-long-campaign challenges community members not only to help create awareness of child abuse, but also to get creative with their gardens. All photos will be voted on and narrowed down to four winners, naming best in show, most creative, people’s choice and kids choice. KidsFirst is accepting donations for pinwheels at or call (916) 724-5088. Pinwheels can be obtained at KidsFirst family resource centers located in Roseville, Auburn and Citrus Heights.

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