'Lest we forget,' candlelight vigil set for Nov. 13 at Penn State York

November 05, 2014

YORK, Pa. — “Lest we forget.” These are words that hold great meaning for students in the Penn State York Council on Family Relations (PSY-CFR) Club as they prepare for the fourth annual candlelight vigil for child abuse awareness set for Thursday, Nov. 13. The event will take place at 5 p.m. at the Nittany Lion Shrine Plaza in front of the John J. Romano Administration Building, 1031 Edgecomb Ave., in York, and is free and open to the public. In case of inclement weather, the event will take place inside the building. The Student Veterans Association (SVA) is also sponsoring the vigil.  

In the fall of 2011, students in the Human Development and Family Studies Club —now the PSY-CFR Club — made plans to hold an event in November to raise awareness about child abuse and provide information about prevention of this reprehensible crime. The work on this event intensified and a decision was made to make it an annual event when on Nov. 4, 2011, a grand jury report was released containing testimony that accused former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky of sexually abusing eight young boys over a period of years.   
“Our candlelight vigil is a display of our diligence and commitment to empower the campus and community about the injustices associated with child abuse,” said Ginia Moorehead, a Penn State York student and co-president of the PSY-CFR Club. “Child abuse is a topic that is difficult for many people to discuss but we hope though this year’s program and lighting of candles in a public display, people will remember to report child abuse and do the right thing.”

The vigil again will be a stationary one, and features speaker Kristen Pfautz Woolley, a survivor of child sexual abuse herself and the clinical director and founder of York-based Turning Point Women’s Counseling and Advocacy Center, a place for healing from childhood sexual abuse. She is passionate about prevention, education and advocacy for survivor’s rights. Woolley will discuss the reality as well as the prevalence of child sexual abuse, and share why it may take a victim well into adulthood to tell their story and begin the healing journey. She will also share the personal story of a local woman who will be in attendance at the vigil.

Woolley is a licensed Pennsylvania Registered Nurse and a licensed Pennsylvania social worker. She earned a bachelor of science in nursing from West Virginia University and masters in social work from the University of Maryland. She also holds a post-graduate certificate in addiction studies from Penn State and a post-graduate certificate in child sexual abuse treatment from Widener University in Philadelphia.

Her experience includes working as an emergency department nurse and as a therapist providing individual, marital and family therapy. Woolley is a trained facilitator for the Darkness to Light program, designed to raise awareness of the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse by educating adults about the steps they can take to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to the reality of child sexual abuse.   

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

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.

  • Kristen Pfautz Woolley

    Kristen Pfautz Woolley, a child sexual abuse survivor and founder of Turning Point Women’s Counseling & Advocacy Center, is  the speaker for the candlelight vigil set for 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 13 at Penn State York.

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • 2014 Candlelight Vigil York

    "I Found My Voice" is a campaign to tell the stories of child sexual abuse victims and promote awareness and prevention.

    IMAGE: Penn State
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Last Updated November 07, 2014