Vigil serves as a reminder to do the right thing, 'Lest we forget'

April 07, 2016

“Lest we forget.” These are words that continue to hold great meaning for students in the Penn State York Council on Family Relations (PSY-CFR) Club as they prepare for the fifth annual candlelight vigil for child abuse awareness set for Thursday, April 14. 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.   
“We hold the annual candlelight vigil because the effects of childhood abuse extend far beyond childhood.  Abuse robs children of their innocence, and their childhood.  It can create a loss of trust, feelings of guilt and shame, and it may lead to a path of destructive behaviors,” said Bethany Lilley, president of the CFR Club and a Penn State York senior majoring in human development and family studies.  

Lilley also notes that the CFR Club wants to provide a voice for the voiceless.

“We hope that by taking a stance against child abuse, others will follow us in our efforts. We want our community to know not only what abuse consists of (as it is not always so obvious); but we want them to know what steps to take to prevent child abuse from happening, or what resources they can access if it has happened. There is power in education and we hope to use this power to transform our community,” she said.

The vigil again will be a stationary one, and features speaker Deb Harrison, director of the York County Children’s Advocacy Center.

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.

  • York Vigil1

    Jazmine Nixon, left, lights a candle during a previous candlelight vigil at Penn State York.

    IMAGE: Barbara Dennis

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 07, 2016