Jill Nyland, the director of the Garden half marathon and four mile races in Madison, WI has a passion for preventing and stopping child abuse. She is the founder of Children's Voice Inc., which distributes educational materials to schools, daycare centers, and libraries to educate children about child abuse.
The inaugural Garden half marathon and four mile races are this Saturday, September 28th in Madison, Wisconsin. There are 210 runners registered for the races, and there are 50 people signed up to volunteer. The volunteers range from the medical director, who is an orthopedic doctor to the ambulance and fire department, who will make sure the race runs smoothly.
Jill wrote the children's book, "Lets Play Safe" to increase awareness and help prevent child abuse. She donates copies of the book to schools, daycares, and libraries hoping teachers and staff will read the books to open the discussion about child abuse.
The Madison School Board approved the book to be used in schools in 2011. Jill plans to get the books into Milwaukee schools this fall. Her long term goal is to get them out to all Wisconsin schools.
Nyland continues to, "Pass [the book] to teachers, and teachers read it to kids. [...] Distributing and reading books is cost effective, and can reach 50 to 100 kids per book."
"I believe it is helping. Kids don't know that it's OK to report abuse or how to identify it." said Nyland about the effectiveness of distributing the books. She believes it's important to give the books to the teachers because they, "know the kids and can make the material more personal to the students."
She also finds the book helpful for families because many parent's feel embarrassed talking to their children, or don't know how to teach their children about child abuse. The book is used to bring up the discussion of abuse in a non-threatening way.
From this effort, children have come forward and reported child abuse. She hopes that as the information spreads more children will come forward.
For more information about the races, click here.