Sunday, May 23, 2010

I went to church today.

Shocking, huh?

Okay, it was really only a chapel. Strictly for funerals, apparently. But it still looked and felt like a church. And they let me in! And I didn't melt like the Wicked Witch did when Dorothy threw water on her!

Anyway, don't worry, I haven't gone and found God or anything. Joey was asked to perform in a recital by his piano teacher. And here he is:

Can't really see his handsome face, but you can hear him tickling the ivories.

This actually was not your run of the mill piano recital. This was an event to raise funds and awareness for missing persons. Joey's (and Daisy's and Annabelle's) piano teacher, Jannel, has a sister who vanished without a trace ten years ago. She's never been found, and Jannel founded, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about missing persons.

Although Jannel's sister, Gina, was an adult when she went missing, Jannel focuses a lot on missing children as well - something none of us like to think about. At the event today, thirteen missing children were profiled, and flyers for each of them were available for attendees to take and post in public areas in their neighborhoods.

After all of Jannel's students performed their various musical and vocal talents, Erin Runnion spoke.

If you don't know who Erin Runnion is, she is the mother of a beautiful little girl, Samantha Runnion, who was abducted by a stranger while she was playing outside with a friend right outside her home almost eight years ago. Her body was found the next day, dumped about seventy miles away. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled. She was not quite six years old. She was abducted just a hop, skip, and a jump from my neighborhood, so it was all over the local news. I remember it very well, and how sad and horribly unsettling it was. It was right after Joey was born, and at the time, Kevin was about the same age as little Samantha.

Anyway, Erin Runnion, Samantha's mother, is an amazing woman. I honestly can't think of anything more devastating than losing one's child - under any circumstances. But I would imagine knowing your child had been so heinously victimized and brutalized might be especially nightmarish. I honestly don't know how people find the strength and resilience to go on in the wake of something like that. But go on is exactly what Erin has done, becoming an outspoken advocate for children. She founded The Joyful Child Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping communities protect their children from predators. She also talked about radKIDS, a "Personal Empowerment, Safety Education, and Violence Prevention" program for kids, which I personally am going to look into.

I picked up a pamphlet, too, that has all kinds of information and resources, and I thought I'd share the resources pages here for anyone who is interested (the links aren't clickable but easy enough to type into your browser):


Stephanie said...

I'm so glad you didn't melt or get struck by lightning or anything :P
The Samantha Runion case was all over national news and shortly after I saw an interview with her mom Erin. She made a big impression on me and I think about it fairly frequently. Morbid, I know, but I just can't imagine having something like that happen, it's just so tragic. Anyway, I just thought it was pretty interesting that you saw her in person. Take care and hug your babies...

diane rene said...

loved hearing Joey play :)

thanks for the links and resources. I have often thought of what I would do if something like that happened to one of mine. I worry that I would fail the remaining children because I don't think I could handle it. my heart goes out to those who have lived that life.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow! I remember the Samantha Runion case very well. It was right after I had my son Javin. I had also been following the Danielle Van Damme (please forgive my mistakes in spelling) at the time. My oldest daughter was 7 at the time and I had nightmares about those two little girls for months yet felt so compelled to follow the cases to the end. Both of those cases play a big part in why I am so overprotective and maybe even paranoid with my kids.

Joey was great BTW;)