Crime & Courts

Sign project to fight child abuse expands

They call themselves "grandmas on a mission" to fight child abuse.

And their mission is growing.

Beverly "B.K." Van Es and Lily "Madrene" Hill are expanding their homegrown project, which encourages residents to post yard signs urging people to call 911 to report child abuse.

The signs say: "Be aware. Child abuse can be anywhere!!! Call 911."

The local women say they were inspired by an Eagle editorial that expressed concerns about the recent death of a North Newton toddler, Vincent Hill, who authorities say was the victim of abuse.

The women began their project by ordering and paying for 100 of the yard signs. Now, they have ordered a total of 400 signs and have paid for half of them.

They hope that others will donate to help pay for the remaining 200 signs, Van Es said Thursday.

The women ask that anyone interested in donating for the signs or posting them call 316-838-8601 or 316-943-1437.

They also are urging churches and businesses with billboards to post the message for at least one week.

From 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, people who have called the women to get one of the yard signs can pick them up in the parking lot of Asbury United Methodist Church, at North 15th and St. Paul, Van Es said. A limited number of additional signs will be available.

Their project is receiving more attention. USA Today mentioned it earlier this week, she said.

A Wichita business, Nu-Line Signs, is producing the signs at cost. Nu-Line owner Shane Hutchinson said that when he learned of the women's project, "I didn't feel like I could pass up being a part of it.

"I've got little kids in my life that I love, and I can't imagine if something happened to them," he said.