Helen Ross McNabb Center launches campaign for therapeutic preschool

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – A group gathered in Coolidge Park Friday afternoon holding pinwheels and signs while walking in honor of child abuse prevention month.

“If we intervene early it’s just going to make a much better life for that child and we’re going to eliminate a lot of the problems that we’d see had the early intervention not taken place,” Helen Ross McNabb Center Director of Development Robyn Hanners said.

The event, hosted by the Helen Ross McNabb Center, also included speakers who shared information on efforts to prevent child abuse.

That included new campaign launched by the center for a therapeutic preschool in Chattanooga.

Hanners said the program would provide children with coping skills they need.

“These kids are sometimes acting out in their normal preschool environments. The behavior is being noticed to where they’re just, you know, they could be arguing with other children. They could be kind of just set aside, isolating themselves and these therapists really know how to provide the coping skills for these children and teach them how to deal with the traumas that they have suffered,” Hanners said.

The 10 to 12 week program would be offered for 3 days a week for 3 hours a day.

“It would return a child back to their preschool or school situation, but with a different perspective on what’s happened to them, being able not to feel guilty about things and also helps the family to understand what caused this traumatic event and how they can prevent that in the future,” Helen Ross McNabb Center Board Member Ross Schram said.

The program would add to other efforts to prevent child abuse.

Chattanooga Police Community Services Assistant Chief Danna Vaughn said that the police department considers education a main component of prevention.

She said within the past year officers have been trained in ACEs to learn about adverse childhood experiences.

“If we can get these behaviors on the front end when they’re so young, it will help them develop into a more productive adult. So our hope is that we can get to them when they’re younger so we don’t have to deal with them when they get older,” Vaughn said.

As for therapeutic preschool, the center has set a goal to raise $450,000.

That would fund the program for three years.

If you’re interested in helping the campaign contact the McNabb Center.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Local News

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