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'Shedding a light on child abuse' at York County vigil

Leianne Johnson and Grace Olivia perform the national anthem as the Museum of York County hosts this year’s Child Abuse Awareness Ceremony & Candlelight Vigil in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Leianne Johnson and Grace Olivia perform the national anthem as the Museum of York County hosts this year’s Child Abuse Awareness Ceremony & Candlelight Vigil in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. PHOTOS BY JEFF SOCHKO

Neglect is the number one form of child abuse in York County. Research shows that adverse childhood experiences such as child abuse and neglect result in toxic stress, which damages children’s developing brain architecture.

Supportive, nurturing relationships with caregivers, however, build strong brain architecture that helps children thrive.

Wrapping up April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Museum of York County was the site Thursday night of the annual Child Abuse Awareness Ceremony & Candlelight Vigil.

The goal of the vigil is to promote the idea that when children have great childhoods, South Carolina will prosper. When children grow up in safe, stable, nurturing families and communities, they are more likely to do well in school and grow up to become contributing citizens who give back to their community.

“We can make a positive impact on the future prosperity of our community by preventing child abuse and neglect today,” said Windy Cole, volunteer resource manager for the Culture & Heritage Museums. “The best way to accomplish this is for every adult in our community to do what they can to support families, so children can grow up to become healthy, successful adults.”

The vigil was presented by the Catawba Community Mental Health Center, the Children’s Attention Home & Palmetto School, the state Department of Social Services, the Guardian ad Litem Program, local law enforcement agencies, Keystone, Safe Passage, United Way of York County, Thompson Child & Family Focus and the York County Foster Parent Association.

Want to know more?

To read more about what you can do to make a difference in the life of a child, go to childwelfare.gov.

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