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Family Advocates Rally Against Child Abuse

April 15, 2005 – Activists working to end child abuse in the territory say they sometimes get more support from children and teenagers than they do from adults. That is expected to be the case on April 23 when the Family Resource Center holds its annual Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month March and Rally.
But the head of the Family Resource Center, the group organizing the march, says it's not too late for concerned adults to make their presence felt.
"Most of our participants happen to be young people and I would like to encourage the adults to come out because children depend on them to protect them, to guide them, to advise them, to discipline them and to help prepare them for a future," said Sandra Hodge, director of the Family Resource Center.
Among the adults who have steadfastly supported the event, which includes a half-mile march from Holy Family Catholic Church to the Tutu Park Mall, are mall managers, clergy, sorority members and advisors for a number of school bands, dance groups and the Junior ROTC. They help organize the march ending with a rally in the mall at center court.
Monique Creque, the marketing manager at Tutu Park Mall says shopping center managers strongly support organizations that help promote children's well-being. "Our basic feeling is … if we can help the Family Resource Center demonstrate any practices they have against child abuse we will gladly help them," she said.
The rally is set to begin at 1 p.m. April 23. It's being billed as an "afternoon of fun," but Hodge says there will be serious messages intertwined with the scheduled performances.
From mid-morning that day visitors to the mall will be able to meet volunteers offering brochures and directions on how to set up appearances by FRC speakers.
"We have tables with information set up with safety tips; with information about child abuse prevention. We have information about the Family Resource Center and the services we provide. We also provide outreach to any entity or organization that's interested in having us do presentations about child abuse prevention and what to do if a child has been molested," Hodge said.
Representatives from the different public and non-profit organizations that deal with child welfare are expected to join the march and rally.
The Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month event is one of a handful of events taking place during April's Child Abuse Awareness Month. A group of volunteers who work with children through the court system held a Light of Hope ceremony Thursday.
"It's something that CASA programs do throughout over the country," said Gail Sheerer, executive director of the 10-year old St. Croix based organization.
There was also an Interfaith Healing Service for Children and Families held at Frederick Lutheran Church on St. Thomas April 4. The service is organized each year with the help of KidsCope, Inc.
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