MONTREAL – The Missing Children’s Network commemorated National Missing Children’s Day by hosting a special event of remembrance on Sunday.
“Missing Children’s Day provides them with a sense of solace and fills their hearts with hope,” said Pina Arcamone, the Director General of the Missing Children’s Network.
“It is a reminder that their children are missing but not forgotten.”
“Make Noise for Missing Children” is designed to raise awareness about the plight of missing children and the importance of prevention to keep them safe.
“For families, the disappearance of a child is a very traumatic event that causes grief, fear and despair,” said Arcamone.
“As time passes and the spotlight on their missing child starts to fade, these families may find themselves alone in their sorrow.”
The event included speeches, a marching band, cheer-leading sessions and art workshops.
The Montreal police were also on hand to speak to families and children about the importance of safety.
“We often hesitate discussing the risks of abuse and abduction with our children, feeling that we may frighten them,” said Arcamone.
“But in order to keep them safe, we need to empower then with age-appropriate information that doesn’t incite panic or fear.”
Liliane Cyr, the mother of Yohanna Cyr, a young toddler missing since August 15, 1978 also addressed the crowd.
The event ended, as it does every year, with a special walk around the park to pay tribute to missing children.
Families and participants carried photos of each missing child and called out their names one by one.
Brothers Adolphe and Michel Carrier walked to remember their 6-year-old sister Diane who was last seen in 1963.
They were joined by Andrée Béchard and Michel Bergeron, whose daughter Marilyn disappeared in 2008; Françoise Algier, mother of Melina last seen in 2005 and Michel Surprenant, whose daughter Julie has been missing for nearly 15 years.
Last year in Canada, more than 41,000 cases of missing children were reported to the police.
In Quebec alone, around 15 children are reported missing every day.
That means the province has the fourth highest number of missing children reports in the country.
According to the Missing Children’s Network:
87% of the children were safely recovered within a week
67% involved run away youth
49% were females
43% were between the age of 14-15
The “Make Noise for Missing Children” event took place at François Perrault Park in Ville St-Michel from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.