STUART — Through its Memory Field, CASTLE paid tribute on March 5 to the 126 children who died from abuse and neglect in the State of Florida last year.
Each flag, each with the name and age of a child, waved in the wind as the community gathered to see the results of abuse and neglect and learn that it is still an active problem in the communities we live in.
“We will continue to stand with CASTLE and be the voice for these children,” said Terri Sloan-Bartz of Seacoast Bank, host of the Memory Field. “We hope that other members and businesses in the community will do the same so we can guarantee all our children will grow up to reach their full potential and be the future of the Treasure Coast.”
The dedication ceremony began with a presentation of the colors by the Martin County Sheriff's Honor Guard and a moment of silence, followed by guest speakers including Mayor Kelli Leighton to discuss how important it is to have an organization like CASTLE in the community.
Board members and CASTLE staff spoke of the different programs offered and the history of the Memory Field and a story was shared by a CASTLE client.
“I received an enormous blessing when I was referred to CASTLE’s Safe Families Program,” said a mother named Angela, through a story read at the Dedication Ceremony. “I lost myself when I lost my son, but my inner strength pushed me to learn new parenting skills and show love and affection towards my other two sons.”
The ceremony concluded with taps and a moment of silence.
After the dedication ceremony was completed, attendees had the opportunity to sponsor a Memory Field flag with the purchase of a ribbon to tie to the flag of a child for $10.
Ribbons are currently on sale on CASTLE’s website at www.castletc.org/shop.
The Memory Field
The Memory Field will fly one flag for every child and the flag will hold a card with the name of the child and their age at the time of their death.
“It is important for us to continue to fly the Memory Field each year to bring awareness that child abuse is still a major issue in society. Last year we flew 101 flags and this year there are 126, which means the numbers continue to rise,” said Jill Rodriquez, CASTLE’s community relations specialist for St. Lucie/Martin County. “CASTLE is the solution to keeping our children safe and with the support of the community can make an impact so that someday we won’t have to fly anymore flags.”
Seacoast National Bank hosted the 2018 Memory Field for one week in Martin County and another week in St. Lucie County.
Port St. Lucie also will host the field for one week along with Sebastian, Vero Beach, Okeechobee, and Bailey’s Medical Center in Vero Beach.
The Memory Field will finish its tour at CASTLE on Midway Road in Fort Pierce.
For more information about CASTLE and its programs, visit www.castletc.org