For three years, a Metropolitan Community College student has been taking part in an annual event that aims to prevent child abuse. This year, she has assumed an even bigger role.
Emily Vanderpool, an MCC-Blue River student, is not only helping organize this year’s All for the Children event, but she is also being an ambassador for it with local civic and political leaders.
Vanderpool, along with MCC psychology instructor and All for the Children organizer Kim Glackin, presented the mission for this year’s program to the Kansas City Child Abuse Roundtable Discussion Group on Feb. 3.
“It definitely was a unique experience. I was not expecting to meet the mayor for sure,” says Vanderpool, who will graduate in May with an associate in arts degree.
“The first person I introduced her to was (Kansas City Mayor) Sly James, who is such an amazing advocate for children,” Glackin says. “He was lovely and graciously shook Emily’s hand.”
According to Glackin, James told the group that “children are a small percentage of the population, but 100 percent of our future.” That message is near and dear to Glackin’s heart. She has spearheaded All for the Children on the MCC-Blue River campus since 2011.
“Nearly five children die every day in the United States due to child abuse and neglect,” Glackin says. All for the Children strives to reduce those numbers locally with a morning of prevention awareness that’s also fun for families.
Glackin has two work-study students helping her this year, Vanderpool and Vivian Cline. Because Vanderpool’s career interests are social work and child development, this was a perfect fit. In addition to the mayor, she also got a chance to meet a variety of elected officials, the CEOs from several agencies and the members of Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA).
“My goodness, it was incredible,” Vanderpool says. “It means so much for me. It opens my eyes to a different perspective, meeting legislators and seeing that political side and what they are doing and planning to do for children.”
In her first two experiences with All for the Children, Vanderpool participated as part of her coursework. In 2015, her sociology class had an idea to do a canvas with a simple tree trunk on it that “grew” throughout the day. A little paint was all that was needed. “It was pretty amazing to make a tree out of the kiddos’ hand prints,” Vanderpool says.
The year, she’s helping Glackin organize the various contributing agencies for All for the Children.
The Grain Valley native plan to transfer to the University of Central Missouri, where she will continue her education with an emphasis in social work at UCM’s Lee’s Summit location.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. All for the Children is slated for Saturday, April 8, at MCC-Blue River in Independence. A 5K walk/jog starts at 8:30 a.m. Other activities begin at 10 a.m. The morning wraps up with an egg hunt.
Activities (all free) include:
- Self-defense classes from the MCC-Blue River Public Safety Institute
- Fairies, princesses, the Easter Bunny and lots of costumed characters
- Truman Medical Center’s Mobile Dental Unit, providing free dental screenings for children and adults and referrals for treatment
- Miller Theatre, with chances to win free movie passes and concessions
- Student projects from the children of the Independence School District
- MCC-Blue River students presenting their research on human development and ways to improve family functioning
Attendees are asked to RSVP on Facebook: 6th Annual All for the Children Event
For more information, contact Kim Glackin at 816.604.6658 or Kimberly.Glackin@mcckc.edu.
For info on the 5K, contact Dave Owens, at David.Owens@mcckc.edu.