The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 29, 2014

Standing vigil: Wooden children represent abuse victims

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Last April, 93 “adopted children” stood vigil on the courthouse lawn during national Child Abuse Awareness month, representing the number of confirmed cases of child abuse in Garfield County.

This year, even more children will be on the courthouse lawn, meaning more “foster parents” are needed.

Garfield County Child Advocacy Council began its wooden children program last year, with local church, civic groups, businesses or individuals adopting each wooden child for $25.

Whoever adopts a child has their group, organization or name featured on a name tag, along with a pledge to end child abuse. Foster parents clothe and display their child until they are all place on the courthouse lawn April 1.

With an increase in child abuse cases in the past year, more sponsors are needed.

“Of course, we’ll need more sponsors since the number has increased,” said GCCAC board member Lori Leap. “It was quite a community effort when we had the actual children cut out and painted. A lot of different groups helped out.”

Garfield County Child Advocacy Council Executive Director Carole Wade said last year, “We want to make people aware of child abuse, and then hopefully they’ll step up to prevent it.”

She said she hopes those who participated last year will participate again.

Last year, students from Autry Technology Center and Community Development Support Association YouthBuild program volunteered to cut out the 93 wooden figurines, plus about 40 more spares for future years.

Art students from Waller Middle School and Enid High School volunteered to paint faces and hair on the wooden children, and members of Junior Welfare League and Greater Enid Arts and Humanities Council helped paint the bodies.

Students from the Enid High School Junior ROTC program helped assemble the wooden children.

For information on the wooden children project or to become a sponsor, contact Garfield County Child Advocacy Council at (580) 242-1153.