Ten days of action to prevent the abuse of children in memory of Somer Thompson!
It was ten years ago on October 19, 2009 when Diena Thompson kissed her daughter, Somer, for the last time as she sent her children off to school. That afternoon headlines and news reports about her disappearance reached local and national news. Pictures of Somer Thompson were shared through media outlets with hopes that she was still alive. Somer Thompson’s disappearance during her walk home from school in her Orange Park neighborhood had parents everywhere praying for her safe return. It was yet another fearful reminder of the world we live in and the need to protect our kids from the monsters we don’t want to believe exist in our communities. Forty-eight hours later, the search for the precious and once happy 7-year-old ended tragically. Somer, a beautiful little girl with a bright future ahead of her, had been abducted, sexually assaulted, and killed by a sexual predator living nearby the Thompson’s home. The fight to protect other children from the unimaginable crime committed against Somer Thompson continues at the hands of her mother, Diena and through her partnership with the Monique Burr Foundation for Children. “I shouldn’t have to visit my daughter in a cemetery,” said Diena Thompson, “A monster took her from me and I will work until my last breath to make sure children are protected from evil people like him.”
Sunday, October 20that 6:45 p.m., Diena Thompson along with friends and family are holding what Diena is calling an Angelversary for the little girl who would be 17 years-old. The memorial will take place at Somer’s Garden (1152 Gano Avenue, Orange Park, FL 32073), the location of where Somer’s murderer once lived. The home was burned down during a fire and rescue training and was transformed into a beautiful garden of flowers. “Somer loved playing outside and this place just celebrates who she was a child. She was a little girl who loved purple, loved picking flowers, and loved being in the sun,” Diena said.
To ensure her daughter’s death can bring change, Diena is encouraging people to take action in honor of Somer’s ten year memorial by participating in the Monique Burr Foundation for Children’s (MBF) “THE POWER OF TEN” campaign.
“THE POWER OF TEN” encourages adults to take the Darkness to Light Stewards of Children®online training and learn how to prevent, recognize, and react appropriately to sexual abuse.
The Stewards of Children® on-line training is only $10.00. It is available at NO COST to residents in Northeast Florida with the generous support of Children’s Safe Passage and the Somer Sunshine Foundation.
Beginning October 18th and ending October 28th, MBF and Diena Thompson are hoping thousands of adults who work with or care about children will participate in THE POWER OF TEN:
As a collaborative effort and approach to protecting children from sexual abuse and assault, the Monique Burr Foundation for Children, Darkness to Light, and Children’s Safe Passage are encouraging every adult to take the online Stewards of Children®training. As adults, it is our job to protect children from becoming victims of sexual abuse. The Stewards of Children®training educates adults to protect children. And combined with MBF’s Prevention Education Programs that educate and empower children, we can all help prevent violence and child sexual abuse and exploitation in our community.
If you are a resident of Northeast Florida (living in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, or St. Johns counties), you can access the Stewards of Childrentraining at no cost at https://d2l.csod.com/selfreg/register.aspx?c=somer.
While the scholarship is offered to Northeast Florida residents, the Stewards of Childrentraining is available to anyone and can be accessed through the Darkness to Light website for $10.00 at https://d2l.csod.com/selfreg/register.aspx?c=d2l.