By Roberta Humphries, Executive Director
The Break the Chain of Child Abuse annual event was held on March 24 with more than 500 children and adults gathered at the Charlie Rose Agri-Expo Center. The event was sponsored by the Exchange Club of Greater Fayetteville and Olde Fayetteville Insurance. The purpose of the event was to focus the students’ and community members’ attention on the importance of preventing child abuse and to advocate for an end to child abuse and child maltreatment in our community. This annual event culminated with preschool children marching forward with blue pinwheels symbolizing the bright future that all children deserve and the entire audience linking together paper chains around the auditorium. The chain was then torn apart symbolizing “breaking the chain of child abuse”. At the event, the Cumberland County Champion for Children Awards were presented. The 2017 award winners were: Frank Pierce – Volunteer Category; Detective Dean Riggott, FPD – Professional Category and Fayetteville Police Department Youth Services Unit – Agency/Group Category.
The Break the Chain event also included an art contest for youth 18 years or younger sponsored by The Terri Union and Carlos Zukowski Endowment for the Arts of Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc. and The Elaine M. and Johnny L. Bryant Family Fund of Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc. in partnership with the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, the Child Advocacy Center, Fayetteville/Cumberland Parks and Recreation and Array Magazine. The theme of the contest was “You are a wonderful work of art”. Children were invited to create a self-portrait showcasing their uniqueness. The first – third place winners in the various categories were: Pre-K and Kindergarten: Caitlin Lewis, Anaya Shell and Mari Ashe’ Sahali, 1st-3rd Grade: Nathan Lee Thomas Jr., Evan Huggins and Olivia Jade Heredia, Middle School: Serenity Shipp, Sophia Colahuna and Anaya Marie Thomas, High School: Lea Hope Rodriquez, a tie for second place with Sarah E. Linton and Ryan Amery Jamison, Cameron Kinlaw.