Backyard BBQ Cook Off September 19

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

Prevent Child Abuse Henry County’s second annual Backyard BBQ Cook Off is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 19, noon-4 p.m. at the Jason T. Harper Event Center at Heritage Park, 101 Lake Dow Road in McDonough.

There will be live music, a cake walk, obstacle course and slide, raffles, face and nail painting, and an ice cream truck among other attractions.

Tickets are $15 online and $20 at the door ($5 for children under 10).

“It’s a fun way to help support our programs financially,” said Priti Griffin of Prevent Child Abuse Henry County. “Our programs are solely funded by our grants and fundraisers.”

Among those programs is Darkness to Light, for which Griffin is a certified facilitator, and a pilot training program called “Stewards of Children,” which she said addresses child sexual abuse and the commercial exploitation of children.

“Our 2.5-hour program teaches adults how prevalent the epidemic is, how to prevent, how to recognize signs in children and finally how to report and find help for children,” she said.

Since 2013 the organization has partnered with Henry County’s public school system, Connecting Henry, the county’s Juvenile Court, A Friend’s House, DFCS and others to train adults regarding these issues. Partners at the state level include the Governor’s office and Georgia Center for Child Advocacy.

Griffin met Friday with a school board member and several administrators to discuss a possible event in October that she called “an open forum” and “a call to action.”

“Our mission is to bring awareness to the whole community,” she said. “We want to let the community know that child sexual abuse and child sex trafficking happens in Henry County and we need to be vigilant about preventing it.

“This is an issue that doesn’t get addressed with the urgency it needs. A lot of people don’t know about it or are in denial about it happening.”

For more information, visit or the organization’s Facebook page.