Community News


8/28/2007 2:12:00 AM 


Heirloom Project to Help Prevent Child Abuse

By Ashley Reynolds
Staff Writer

Photo / Larry Rees

CHARLESTON - Gov. Joe Manchin received an early birthday present this year.

One day before his actual birthday, First Lady Gayle Manchin presented her husband with the first West Virginia Heirloom Birth Certificate during the Aug. 23 Heirloom launch at the State Capitol.

The certificates are available for $35 from the Office of Vital Registration.

According to Jim McKay, the development program coordinator for the West Virginia Children's Trust Fund, $15 of the proceeds will benefit the trust fund to help programming in local communities to prevent child abuse and neglect.

The certificates are "suitable for framing," McKay said, and they come in two designs - "Majestic Mountains," and "Heritage Quilt."

Putnam County Regional Family Resource Network Executive Director Michele Baranaskas said these funds "ultimately benefit children by preventing child abuse and neglect."

Some of the funds raised from the Heirloom Gift Certificates will go to the Resource Network to help distribute educational resources throughout Putnam, Boone and Kanawha counties - mainly a book entitled "What to do When Your Child Gets Sick," by Gloria Mayer.

"As a Partner in Prevention team member, we are a recipient of some funds to raise awareness of child abuse and neglect prevention," Baranaskas said. "These books help parents be more confident."

With increased funding from donations made through the Heirloom Birth Certificates, Baranaskas said, they hope to expand their programs "to have at least two events on each side of the river called Passport to Stronger Families. It will be for families who are expecting or have young children to come and get information on health and safety issues and give families a little more support."

Money raised from the Heirloom Birth Certificate, Gov. Manchin said, "will allow many people born in the Mountain State to display and commemorate their heritage."

"What a wonderful way to celebrate West Virginia as we continue to fund what is so important to us," Gayle Manchin said.