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In Support of Children Candlelight Vigil Is Feb. 14 in Webb Center

The only true innocence there is, is that of a child. Still, more than 1,000 children a year are subjected to neglect and abuse at the hands of those who should care for them. In remembrance of all who cannot speak for themselves, Old Dominion University's In Support of Children (ISOC) organization will hold its sixth annual Candlelight Vigil Friday, Feb. 14. The event, which will begin at 6 p.m. at the North Mall of Webb University Center, is free and open to the public.

The annual vigil was inspired by the 2006 death of Nixzmary Brown, who was the victim of repeated beatings, torture, abuse and malnutrition at the age of 7 by her own mother and stepfather.

Cases like Brown's ring true here in Hampton Roads. A 17-month-old was killed in similar fashion in Newport News last year, said Lou Lombardo, professor of sociology and criminal justice, who is organizing the event with ISOC. And Norfolk is currently trying its first case of the New Year in the cruelty, neglect, abuse and death of 7-week-old Dylan Cummings. A daycare provider and two other women face charges in the case.

"In America there is little hope of protecting children, of preventing harm to them, unless we, as a community, connect ourselves to principles that protect and support children before harm comes to them," Lombardo said.

Betty Wade Coyle, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Hampton Roads, will speak at the vigil. She is the recent recipient of the Lewis Hine Award for Service to Children and Youth.

ISOC, a nonpartisan, nonprofit service organization, was founded in 1992 by ODU sociology professor Karen Polonko along with students from her Child Welfare class. ISOC advocates for an end to all forms of child maltreatment, especially physical punishment of children, and the promotion of positive partnering techniques.

For more information contact Lombardo at llombard@odu.edu or 683-3800.

This article was posted on: February 11, 2011

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