02/24/11 — Candlelight vigil will remember children who are victims of abuse

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Candlelight vigil will remember children who are victims of abuse

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on February 24, 2011 1:46 PM

Children who are victims of child abuse and neglect will be remembered at a candlelight vigil Monday at 7 p.m. at Berkeley Mall's center stage.

The WAGES/Wayne County For Children Council will sponsor Life L.I.G.H.T.S. (love, instruction, guardianship, hope, time and sponsorship). This year's theme will be "Cherish the Child."

Council co-chairman Jennifer Dupuis said the event is a vigil to spread awareness of the problem of child abuse and neglect and to let people know what they can do to help prevent it.

"Candles will be lit for every victim of child abuse and neglect in Wayne County for 2009, more than 600 candles," Mrs. Dupuis said. "We will also have remembrance candles for the 17 children who died in North Carolina at the hands of a parent or caregiver in 2009. One big remembrance candle will be at the center of the stage to honor all of the victims across America."

Also during the vigil, Trina Dunn, WAGES self-sufficiency project manager, will give statistics and information about child abuse and neglect.

Dr. Marlee Ray, executive director of WAGES, will be the keynote speaker

There will be a mime performance by members of Whitley Church's Mime Ministry.

Ina Hughes will read a poem titled "A Prayer for Children."

"We want to let everyone know that everyone has a part to play in child abuse prevention," Mrs. Dupuis said. "It's not just for Social Services, family resource centers and other agencies like that. The community needs to do all it can do to prevent child abuse and neglect."

She noted that the statistics are alarming.

"If you look at the statistics, there were 17 children who died in 2009 in North Carolina, Mrs. Dupuis said. "That's at least one child every month. People should be aware that this is going on. Child abuse and neglect doesn't discriminate against race, economic status, anything.

"Everything people can do to support child abuse and neglect and prevention, they need to do it and become involved. It involves the entire community, not just people who have kids and grandkids. There are long-term impacts on children's lives. And there is a long-term impact on the community on the quality of life and economic prosperity."

The free candlelight vigil is for children of all ages and adults.