Flower launch celebrates child advocacy, protection

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Dozens of area residents gathered at the downtown riverwalk Wednesday to launch flowers in honor of child protection advocates. Photos by Hilary Snow.
Dozens of area residents gathered at the downtown riverwalk Wednesday to launch flowers in honor of child protection advocates. Photos by Hilary Snow.

Wanda Marino with the New Hanover County Department of Social Services knows the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” rings true.

But through her work she also knows it takes a community to save a child.

She helped thank that community of advocates during the 11th annual Flower Launch on Wednesday afternoon.

Following a brief ceremony, the Cape Fear River became awash in the bright pastel hues Wednesday, as dozens of area residents and professionals in a variety of fields tossed flowers from the downtown Wilmington Riverwalk into the water below.

While beautiful to see, the tossed long-stemmed flora bore significant meaning to those in attendance–each symbolically bore the name of someone who had helped make a difference in a child’s life.

The New Hanover High School Steel Cats perform during the annual flower launch ceremony.
The New Hanover High School Steel Cats perform during the annual flower launch ceremony.

Sponsored by the New Hanover Community Child Protection Team and held in conjunction each year with National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the launch pays tribute to local community members and professionals dedicated to the well-being of area children.

“I’m so glad for this event every year, because I get to thank every one of you for what you do,” Marino noted.

Specifically, Marino recognized members of area agencies who cooperate with the New Hanover County Department of Social Services to help children in need—law enforcement, New Hanover Regional Medical Center, the N.C. Department of Juvenile Justice, the Carousel Center, United Way, attorneys and judges, among them.

Moderated by Chief District Judge J.H. Corpening Jr., the ceremony included the presentation of colors by the Ashley High School JROTC, a rendition of “The National Anthem” from Noble middle-schooler Georgia Smith and musical performances from New Hanover High’s Steel Cats, a steel drum group.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6341 or hilary.s@hometownwilmington.com.