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Catholic church in San Benito raises awareness about child abuse

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A Catholic church in San Benito is making a final push to raise awareness and bring attention to child abuse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 7 children in America are victims of child abuse.

It’s an issue Carlos Canas saw often in his 29 years as a teacher.

"You'd see kids that maybe they came in and they were withdrawn, sometimes they didn't fit in,” said Canas, a retired teacher.

In 2019, 1,840 kids died as a result of abuse, and as unaccompanied migrant children cross the southern border, a new wave of abused children will need help.

"Not only the education, but the counseling they're going to need,” said Canas. “Because going through that kind of trauma it's going to be very hard for them to grow up normally."

Over the last month, St. Theresa Catholic Church has placed blue pinwheels in front of their church. Fr. Joe Villalon and his team hope to shine light on the deadly issue with each turn.

"My staff came up with the idea to put angel wings because our guardian angels— they're to protect all children,” Villalon said.

The church is known for its calls to action along the busy San Benito road. Over Christmas, a call to remember loved ones lost to COVID-19.

And for an issue like this, Villalon says staying quiet isn't an option.

"We've got to say something,” Villalon said. “It's worse when you don't do nothing about it. When you become a benchwarmer. You know? You just sit there and look at life and never get involved in life...That's more...That's more deadly."

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