Hickory – The Children’s Advocacy and Protection Center will hold a Vigil on October 23 at noon to remember the 24 children listed by the NC Child Fatality and Prevention Team as homicide victims by a parent or caregiver. The Vigil will be held at Sails on the Square in downtown Hickory.

The Vigil is held annually in October in remembrance of the children who died as a result of abuse and neglect in North Carolina during the prior calendar year. A bell rings as each child’s name, age and cause of death is read aloud. Simultaneous with the ringing of the bell, a T-Shirt holding the child’s name and age will be displayed for everyone to see. This year 25 T-shirts will be displayed. In addition to the 24 names, there will be one for the Unknown unreported death. The artwork on each shirt is created by students in the Art Club at Hickory High under the guidance of Teresa Bentley, Art teacher. After the ceremony, Linda Henson takes the shirts and creates a quilt. The CAPC will also reveal last year’s quilt designed and created by Linda Henson and her husband, Dave. After the event, this quilt will be displayed somewhere in Catawba County as designated by Chris Johnson, the Children’s Protection Award Winner for 2018.

Dr. Penni Huffman, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC will speak. Penni Huffman is a Doctorally prepared Neonatal Nurse Practitioner and the Director of Catawba Valley Medical Center’s Neonatal Nurseries and Pediatrics. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of South Alabama where she coordinates the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner MSN and DNP programs. She is a current board member of the Children’s Advocacy & Protection Center. Penni has over a decade of experience caring for infants exposed to opiates in utero and a passion for providing exceptional patient care to these children and their families.

Christy Clary will be singing a special song, and Pastor Lori Blocker with Corinth Reformed Church, Hickory will do the prayer.

The Vigil also serves as a reminder to each of us that we have a responsibility to protect children. Please join us as we remember the innocent children who suffered a senseless death in North Carolina during 2017. As a reminder, the location of the Vigil is at Sails on the Square, Tuesday, October 23 at noon and will last approximately 1 hour. For more information, contact the CAPC at 828-465-9296.

The CAPC is a non-profit organization that works to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse and serious physical abuse. It coordinates the efforts of Catawba County Social Services, law enforcement, and the District Attorney’s office.

More information about the CAPC is available on its website at catawbacountycapc.org. You may call the center at 828-465-9296. For more information about the Vigil, email cengart@catawbacountync.gov.