Blue Ribbon 2021

Watch The Livestream Kickoff Event

March 30, 2021     9:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Kickoff Event Details

All are invited to the 27th Annual Blue Ribbon Month Kickoff Ceremony, themed “SPEAK UP…Save a Child!” and hosted by Orange County Child Abuse Prevention Council (OC CAPC). This countywide event is being held via livestream and begins a month-long Blue Ribbon awareness campaign throughout April 2021, also known as National Child Abuse Prevention Month

The Ceremony on Tuesday, March 30th, 2021 from 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. will be emceed by Vikki Vargas, NBC4 News reporter for the Orange County Bureau.

With your help, we will pay tribute in memory and support of children, honor adults and youth who advocate for child safety, and dedicate a Pinwheels for Prevention® Garden. You’ll hear an important update from the County of Orange Department of Social Services Agency as well as inspiring stories from people who know firsthand the journey of fostering and adoption in order to give children a stable home. New to this year’s program is a mini workshop on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) delivered by a leading expert. You’ll also learn about the many community events and trainings taking place throughout Blue Ribbon Month in April and how the whole County can participate and spread awareness, as we join together to “Keep Kids Safe, Healthy, and Happy!”

The Agenda Includes:

  • Pay tribute in memory and support of children.
  • Hear a countywide update on child welfare.
  • Embrace inspiring stories from local difference makers.
  • Learn about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
  • Honor adults and youth who advocate for child safety.
  • Dedicate a Pinwheels for Prevention® Garden.
  • Leave with information and next steps to “SPEAK UP…Save A Child!”

The Event Will Follow:

CAPC Welcome

Katherine Hamel, CAPC Member

County Remarks

Scott Burdick, MFT, Deputy Director
County of Orange Social Services Agency Children and Family Services Division

Presentation of County Resolution

Chairman Andrew Do
Supervisor, First District
Orange County Board of Supervisors


Rabbi Joseph Mendelsohn, Chaplain
Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC)

Pledge of Allegiance

Orange County Sheriff’s Department

Speakers & Agenda

Emcee – Orange County Bureau Chief/Reporter, NBC4 News

VIKKI VARGAS has been part of the NBC4 news team for more than 35 years. During her career, Vargas has earned numerous prestigious honors and awards for her reporting and community service efforts from such groups as the Orange County Press Club, State Bar Association, and National Hispanic Media Coalition, among others, and was part of the team that won a Los Angeles Area Emmy Award for “Best Newscast.” Vargas is passionate about giving back to the community and remains active with California State University, Fullerton. Additionally, Vargas was recognized by the Orangewood Children’s Foundation for her work with foster youth in the region.

Impact Speaker – From a Resource and Adoptive Parent’s Perspective

VANESSA ACOSTA is an educator and with her husband Jesus fostered nearly 20 children in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. They went on to adopted four of the foster youth they cared for and had been in the process of finalizing the adoption of two additional children. Yet in May 2019, Vanessa’s husband unexpectedly and tragically passed away, leaving her to raise six children on her own. In his memory and her love for the children, she continued to finalize the adoptions of the remaining two children and together they are working hard to honor Jesus’ legacy of love and learning. Their story is a true testament to strength and resiliency. She was recognized by the Board of Supervisors during Adoption Awareness Month in November 2019.

Impact Speaker – From an Olympian and Adopted Child’s Perspective

CARLIN ISLES is best known for being on the 2016 U.S. Olympics Men’s Rugby Team and dubbed as “the fastest man in American rugby.” He has had many other successes in the sports world, and his story off the track and field that inspires many as well.  At age seven, Isles and his twin sister were adopted by a loving family after enduring a very troubled home life and being in several foster homes. Carlin’s inspiring story is one of overcoming obstacles, having faith and discipline, and running his hardest to the finish line. He credits his adoptive parents with providing the stability and love he needed to excel in sports and life.

Workshop Speaker

DR. ERIC BALL is a primary care pediatrician at Southern Orange County Pediatric Associates, a member of the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) Primary Care Network. Dr. Ball is the immediate Past President of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in Orange County and a member of the Board of Directors of AAP in California. He also serves on the Boards of the Orange County Medical Association and the California Immunization Coalition, and is a delegate to the California Medical Association House of Delegates. Dr. Ball represents AAP on the California Surgeon General’s Trauma Informed Primary Care Implementation Advisory Committee.

Blue Ribbon Resource Hub

Community Resources:


  • FaCT Flyers
  • CAR Hotline Flyer
  • OCAP Reporting Handouts
  •  & Much More

Blue Ribbon Toolkit


  • 30 Days 30 Ways Calendar
  • Suggested Social Media Posts
  • Coloring and Activity Sheets
  • & Much More

Blue Ribbon Initiatives & Events

Join Orange County’s CAPC for the Inaugural Blue Ribbon Community Forum!

April 15th, 2021     10:00 AM – 12:15 PM

Please join Orange County’s Child Abuse Prevention Council for the Blue Ribbon Community Forum on Thursday, April 15th 2021. Come hear from CAPC representatives on topics such as: Adverse Childhood Experiences and Toxic Stress, Human Trafficking, Mandated Reporting and Financial Literacy. The forum will conclude with a question and answer panel and the opportunity for community members to connect with Orange County’s Child Abuse Prevention Council.

Blue Ribbon Book Drive

The Raise Foundation, with a continued focus on prevention, asks for your help in promoting early and lifelong literacy in the children we serve by supporting the inaugural Blue Ribbon Book Drive and Book Club ProgramThis program seeks to provide community access and equity to books, support and promote quality bonding time between parents and children through storytelling/recitation and work to improve short-term and long-term literacy outcomes for children in Orange County.  

To meet these needs and make this project possible, we are asking for donations of brand-new books for children and teens. We encourage you to have fun choosing books you love, books that you enjoyed reading as a child or with your own children, or books that are considered required school reading titles for Orange County based schools. If you want some ideas, there is a some suggested titles on our wish list and the additional lists below to choose from! 

We are grateful to accept donations all year long. All books should be shipped to: 

The Raise Foundation

2900 Bristol Street, Suite J-201 

Costa Mesa, CA 92626 

If you have any questions, please email Katarina Scalise at [email protected] 

Thank you for your consideration and your support!


More About the Book Drive Program

Blue Ribbon Book Drive Wish List

Best Young Reader Books of 2020

Best Young Adult Books of 2020

Best Picture Books of 2020

Books for Every Stage and Age

2021 Blue Ribbon Youth Art Contest

OC’s Child Abuse Prevention Council (CAPC) announces the winners to the 2021 Blue Ribbon Art Contest!

2021 Blue Ribbon Youth Art Contest First Place Winners


This year, forty-five Orange County kids of all ages showed us what Blue Ribbon Month means to them through participating in our Blue Ribbon Youth Art Contest. From these entries, the Blue Ribbon Committee chose the artwork that best exemplified the theme “Keep Me Safe, Healthy, and Happy!”. All of the entries were submitted by children ages six to eighteen from a wide range of Orange County schools and nonprofit organizations. The creative artwork featured many images of love, blue ribbons, diversity, family, healthy eating, and terrific exercise habits. The winning artists will be recognized by their community throughout the coming months and more than thirty art entries will be featured in a virtual roaming art exhibit. If you are interested in hosting an art exhibit honoring the top entries or a larger portion of the collection at your location and/or on your website, please contact The Raise Foundation at [email protected].  

Winning entries from past years can also be viewed below. 


Blue Ribbon Youth Art Contest 2021 Entry Packet – English

Blue Ribbon Youth Art Contest 2021 Entry Packet – Spanish

2020 Blue Ribbon Youth Art Contest

This year, when Orange County’s Child Abuse Prevention Council invited children countywide in grades 1st through 12th to enter the annual “Keep Me Safe, Healthy, and Happy” Art Contest, it received a record breaking 142 entries throughout the county. Schools, Family Resource Centers (FRCs), places of worship, and youth groups/organizations all rallied together to engage youth to speak up through art. A special thank you to the staff at Jamboree Housing, the Boys & Girls Clubs, and FRCs for inspiring so many youth to enter. The first place artists and their artwork will be shared online in April and be featured on the cover of Orange County Business Journal as well as other places. They along with all who participated will be honored at a later date during a Blue Ribbon Family Fun Day that was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top 30 entries will become part of a roaming Blue Ribbon Youth Art Exhibit at libraries, museums, banks, and other locations throughout the county. The goal of each piece of artwork is to remind everyone that, “It Takes the Whole Community to Care For the Whole Child.” May the time and creative energy each child put into their entry inspire us all!

Please find the 2020 Top Entries below and join us in celebrating their creative work and time to remind us all to keep them Safe, Healthy, and Happy:

2020 Blue Ribbon Youth Art Contest Winners-Elementary Age

2020 Blue Ribbon Youth Art Contest Winners-Middle School Age

2020 Blue Ribbon Youth Art Contest Winners-High School Age

2021 Blue Ribbon Awards

Blue Ribbon Award: Individual or group specifically dedicated to the field of child abuse prevention

  • 2021 Blue Ribbon Award WinnerDR. VAN NGUYEN GRECO 
    Child Abuse Pediatrician in Orange County – Child Abuse Services Team (CAST), Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), and University of California, Irvine (UCI)

Shining Light On Children Award: Individual or group that advocates for children.

  • 2021 Shining Light On Children Award Winner PATTY HATCHER, MPH
    Anaheim Union High School District Health Curriculum Specialist and Anaheim Innovative Mentoring Experience Program (AIME) Coordinator; California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) Adjunct Faculty Member, Health Sciences Department; Former Teacher



Blue Ribbon Awards Nomination Form

A More Mindful Community

Children in families that are struggling or facing stressful times are at an increased risk of experiencing abuse and neglect. As a member of the community we have a role to play in promoting the factors that build a strong, healthy family, and identifying the red flags and warning signs that increase the risk of abuse and neglect.

Story of the Blue Ribbon

The Blue Ribbon Child Abuse Prevention Campaign had its early beginnings following the death of a very young child. In 1989, Virginia grandmother, Bonnie Finney, received devastating news. In her own words:

“Tell me it isn’t true. It simply can’t be true…Michael can’t be dead…they are wrong…there must be some mistake…Michael is fine. But deep in my heart, I knew it was true for I had not seen him in weeks. It’s been so long since I sat by his side in the hospital. Of course I knew something was wrong as I sat there. I saw fear on his face, the bruises on his body…. his doctor didn’t believe my daughter’s story….he fell in the slippery bathtub water….I felt sick….I didn’t understand…I wondered if my other grandchildren were okay.”

“After the ordeal at the hospital, my grandson was placed into foster care for three weeks. I ached for his dilemma and I was not physically able to care for him. The courts seemed to believe that home was the best place for him and [over my objections], returned him to his mother.”

“I never got to see Michael again. Almost three months later, I learned that he had been killed, wrapped in a sheet, stuffed in a toolbox and then dumped into a dismal swamp.”

“From that point on, my life turned into physical and mental chaos. My efforts to understand became a plea to stop abusing children. I tied a Blue Ribbon on my van antenna to spark people’s curiosity. It caught on locally with restaurants, businesses, the police department as well as radio and television stations. They all started supporting me in my efforts to make a real awareness campaign.”

“The Blue Ribbon serves as a constant reminder to fight for our children. Join me as we work together to protect our most precious gift…our children. Please show your support by wearing a Blue Ribbon, putting one on your car and/or giving one to your friends and family and tell them what it means. You could be saving a child’s life.”

Bonnie’s simple idea to wear or display a Blue Ribbon to show her support for child abuse prevention was picked up by grassroots organizations across the country. The campaign reached California and Orange County in 1993. Today, The Raise Foundation produces a coordinated, countywide annual Blue Ribbon Campaign.

The act of one grandmother thousands of miles away lead us to this annual awareness raising campaign. Just think, what could happen if each one of us helped spread the word to a few of the people we come in contact with each day? The groundswell of support that would follow just might be enough to move us towards the day when our homes and communities are completely safe…

A place where it doesn’t hurt to be a child.

#BlueRibbonMonth #ChildAbusePrevention #SpeakUpSaveAChild #PinwheelsForPrevention #GoBlueForOCKids #PassThePinwheelOC #KeepKidsSafeHealthyHappy


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