Community leaders gathered Thursday in front of the Yadkin County Courthouse to honor the 79 victims of child abuse in the county for last year. The brief vigil has become a tradition in the county to bring awareness to child abuse.
Human Services Director Kim Harrell greeted attendees and read aloud from a resolution passed by the county commissioners deeming April Prevent Child Abuse month. Harrell also read a sobering list of children and their ages from around the state who died last year as a result of child abuse.
“Child abuse is alive and well in Yadkin County, however we all work together as a community members to help prevent child abuse,” Harrell said.
Attendees at the event included professionals who work in the human services department and court system as well as a large number of Yadkin County Schools staff members.
“We had a good turnout this morning, but it’s unfortunate that we should have to turn out at all,” said Yadkin County Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Martin. “No child should be abused. I truly believe that every child is a blessing from God and when our blessings are abused in such a way, we have to do more. All of our principals and assistant principals and central office administrators are out here this morning to show support for the work that’s being done in Yadkin County and around the state to end child abuse. It’s a sad occasion, but it’s a necessary occasion to call attention that our children are still being harmed and that we all should do more to stop that.”
Cathy Davidson, District 23 supervisor for the Guardian ad Litem child court advocate program, also was present for the vigil. She hoped the event would serve as a reminder of the ongoing need for volunteers to support children going through the court system due to abuse and neglect.
“Seventy-nine seconds seems like a very short time to remember Yadkin’s abused and neglected children, it makes people think, ‘there’s nothing I can really do to help.’ But there is,” said Davidson. “For four to 10 hours a month, a Guardian ad Litem can advocate for a child in foster care to make sure he is safe, getting any treatment he needs and keeping an eye out on the process to make sure this child doesn’t languish in foster care for years.”
The numbers of children are increasing and Yadkin needs additional GAL volunteers, Davidson said. To learn more or to volunteer, go to www.volunteerforGAL.org or call Cathy Davidson at the Yadkin GAL office 336-679-3671.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.