SAN ANTONIO – A local organization on Thursday distributed nearly 104,000 2-foot-tall cardboard figures of a child around San Antonio in hopes of raising awareness for abused and neglected children during National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
ChildSafe, the only child advocacy center in Bexar County, said the Cardboard Kids Campaign starts a much-needed conversation everyone should be a part of.
"It's something that makes it a little bit easier to talk about child abuse, you know, its a difficult subject," said Childsafe President and CEO Kim Abernathy.
The decorated cardboard cutouts are distributed at various locations, including stores, restaurants and parks.
The campaign, now in its fifth year, started at first with only 6,000 cardboard figures.
Abernathy decided more cutouts were needed to send a message.
"(It) represents a child who's been hurt at the hands of an adult. If we want to live in this city and want it to flourish, the children are our most valuable resource," she said.
Abernathy said the campaign led one child to report her own abuse.
"The interviewer said, 'What made you tell?' That's a common question, because children wait so long to tell," Abernathy said. "And she said, 'Well, you know, it is Child Abuse Awareness Month and there were cardboard kids all over my school, so I knew I could go to my principal and tell him."
Social media also plays a huge role in the campaign to spread awareness.
Abernathy urges residents to snap a picture when they see a cardboard kid and post it using #cardboardkidssa.