On Sunday, April 14, The Department of Pediatrics at ETSU’s Quillen College of Medicine hosted its sixth annual “Once Upon a Time Celebration.” In recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month, the event celebrated children and educated families on the devasting issue of child abuse.

“The ETSU Department of Pediatrics works with the medical students from Quillen College of Medicine and their student organizations, Niswonger Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Advocacy Center of the First Judicial District to host this event each year,” said ETSU professor and event head Karen Schetzina. “The goals of the event are to celebrate children and to get information about health and resources.”

To accomplish the first goal, participants and volunteers were invited to dress up, filling the Mini-Dome with princesses, fairies and ninjas. In addition, the celebration included physical and educational activities that were hosted by various groups and people like Science Hill High School Marching Band and Johnson City Mayor Jenny Brock.

“Participants and volunteers are invited to dress up in their favorite fairytale or storybook character and participate in the parade with us,” Schetzina said.

For the second goal, families in attendance received information about spotting and preventing child abuse.

“Unfortunately, child abuse is still a frequent problem,” Schetzina said. “We have a station called ‘Dare to Share’ where families can get information about preventing child abuse and place their hand print on a banner to pledge to talk about it with their family and to educate themselves about it. We have a couple dozen community and student organizations who come and set up educational and resource tables as well as physical activities.”

Attached to this event was an educational conference on human trafficking. In an effort to prevent child abuse, this conference educated its attendees on the topic of human trafficking.

“We had a speaker talk about human trafficking which is something that affects both adults and children,” Schetzina stated. “That was really beneficial for out healthcare providers and organizations to learn more about.”