York students to hold candlelight vigil in support of child abuse prevention

For the third straight year, Penn State York’s Human Development and Family Studies (HD FS) Club is holding a candlelight vigil to show their support for victims of child abuse. The vigil is set for 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, on campus in front of the Edward M. Elias Science Building, 1031 Edgecomb Ave., York, Pa. The event is open to the public. 

The vigil will be a stationary one, unlike previous years when the group walked around the campus. Peg Chown, a child advocate, will give a brief talk about the challenges of handling abuse cases, particularly in family court. Chown served as assistant attorney general for the State of Minnesota during the mid-to-late 1980s and handled cases that were part of what was known as the Scott County Sex Abuse Cases. These cases received national media attention because of the size of the investigation and the number of children involved. Chown is the wife of David W. Chown, who became the chancellor at Penn State York in February.

Following Chown’s talk, there will be candle lighting and reciting of the child abuse protection pledge. Those who wish to remain can do so in silence.

“This year, in addition to reciting the pledge to do our part to end sexual violence against children, the HD FS Club will be placing a trifold board in the lobby of our main classroom building which highlights news articles about child sexual violence,” said Michelle Cooper HDFS Club president and Rick Gross, vice president of the club, in a statement. “We encourage everyone to contribute an article throughout spring semester as a way to raise awareness about the need for intervention on behalf of survivors, both in our community and the world at large.”

Participants in the vigil will be asked to say the following pledge: “I believe that every child has a right to grow up free from the shadow of abuse. I believe that the responsibility to protect children rests solely in adult hands. I believe that, as adults, we must remain ever vigilant and dedicate no less than the best of ourselves to that purpose. To all the victims of abuse, male and female, adult and children, known and unknown: I pledge to educate myself about the realities of child abuse; I pledge to give a voice and report any and all suspicions; I pledge to cast a light in the darkness by doing the right thing the first time, every time.”

The program is slated to end by 6 p.m. in order for students and faculty to attend evening classes.

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Last Updated November 13, 2013