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April 23, 2013

Memorial service for 21 children lost to abuse planned at courthouse

In honor of the 21 children who died from abuse and neglect last year in Alabama, the Cullman Caring For Kids organization will host a memorial service next week to “paint the town blue,” in reference to the international blue ribbon meant to signify child abuse awareness month.

Cullman Caring For Kids will host the memorial service on April 25 beginning at 10 a.m. on the steps of the Cullman County Courthouse.

“We try to do something every month that brings the public awareness of child abuse,” Javon Daniel, director of Cullman Caring for Kids, said. “Many think it doesn’t happen here where we are, but it holds no economic or racial bounds. It’s in every part of the world. We have problems — read the paper — look at the news; It happens in Cullman, and the only way we can stop it is if we come together as a community and take responsibility of helping the kids.”

Nancy Bryant, who also works with the organization, said the memorial service will feature 21 empty chairs in memory of the lives lost. DHR will sponsor a walk to Depot Park at 11 a.m. in conjunction with the service.

“We’re going to be giving out the small blue ribbons and the blue ribbon story to those who attend,” Bryant said. “ The color blue represents the bruises on the children, which is where the ‘paint the town blue’ comes in. We will be bringing three wooden crosses, which have the 21 children’s names on them to Depot Park and plant the crosses there.”

Daniel said Cullman Caring for Kids welcomes sponsors or donations for its child abuse prevention and awareness program.

“If it wasn’t for the individual groups, churches, and businesses, we couldn’t do this,” Bryant said. “We would not be able to operate without them supporting us.”

Blue Ribbon magnets will be sold for a $3 donation at the Cullman Caring For Kids office which is located at 402 Arnold Street in Cullman.

“We just want to end child abuse, and if you’re not against it, then you’re for it,” Bryant said.

Lauren Estes can be reached at laurene@cullmantimes.com or 256- 734-2131, ext. 270.

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