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Students Walk the Runway to Raise Awareness about Child Abuse Prevention

4/8/2011 —

Little did Cyasia Lomax know that a presentation she gave on child abuse in her speech class would inspire her to organize an event in memory of Darisabel Baez, a 2-year-old who was beaten to death in 2008 by her mother’s boyfriend. Fashion for a Purpose...Child Abuse Prevention is set for Friday, April 22 from 6-7:30 p.m. in Penn State York’s Pullo Family Performing Arts Center. The event is free but Lomax and other students in Nittany Catwalk, a modeling club at the campus, hope people will come and make donations in memory of Darisabel to support the Lehman Center, an organization run by the Children’s Aid Society in York.

Lomax, 19, a human development and family studies major at the campus, has been following the child abuse case concerning Darisabel since it happened in 2008. After her class presentation, which included the story of Darisabel Baez, Lomax and her friends decided they wanted to do something.

“Initially we thought we would visit Darisabel’s grave site with flowers but then we all talked and decided to do much more. Raising awareness about child abuse prevention is our goal and having a fashion show in Darisabel’s memory just seemed the right thing to do,” said Lomax. “We decided to do the show in April since it is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.”

Students contacted local businesses and were able to get several area clothing stores to provide clothing be worn in the show. In addition to the fashion show, there will also be other entertainment and speakers including Patti O’Brien, a forensic nurse at York Hospital who photographed Darisabel’s injuries when she was admitted to the hospital.

In addition to the fashion show, the group is selling blue ribbons, the color of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and all proceeds will go to the Lehman Center.

The group decided to contact members of Darisabel’s family to let them know there were people in York who cared about what happened to her. The grandparents of Darisabel will attend the show.

Lomax’s goal after college is to be a caseworker or psychologist and be able to help children and make a difference. “I’ve always worked around children,” said Lomax, “my mom is a foster mom and children have a special place in my heart.”

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