SAYRE — Over its 40-year history, the Abuse and Rape Crisis Center (ARCC) has helped an estimated 10,000 people through its services.
And on Sept. 7, those 10,000 will be commemorated in a gigantic flock of white origami doves at Howard Elmer Park in Sayre from 1 to 3 p.m.
According to the center’s prevention educator supervisor Regan Parshall and prevention educator Mariah Morgan, the Towanda-based facility recently celebrated its 40th anniversary with a special dinner with some of the doves and wanted to reach out to the community with a special event at the park.
“I think a lot of people recognize what we’ve done in the past in helping people through those situations, but what we also do is try to prevent violence from ever happening,” Parshall said. “And I’m not sure a lot of people realize the role we’ve played in classrooms for that, so we’re trying to raise awareness for that.”
Parshall and Morgan explained that the event will feature approximately 10,000 origami doves hung throughout the park — an effort that has been supported by school districts and libraries alike.
The event will also include fun activities such as face-painting and balloon animals — as well as free ice cream for the first 75 participants. Additionally, booths will be set up for community members to learn more about ARCC and its services.
“In schools, we want kids to focus on building and maintaining healthy relationships,” Morgan said. “Things like being nice, communicating, having healthy peer relationships, talking about peer pressure — just giving them those skills to prevent bad things from happening.”
Parshall and Morgan added that the center also works with local drug and alcohol facilities to prevent violence as well, and new programs that ARCC is introducing include education through a suicide prevention program and family strength program.
In the case of rain, the “Doves in the Park” event will be moved to the Guthrie Patterson Auditorium at the same date and time.