All around the world, thoughts and prayers turned towards missing children as the Missing Children’s Network marked National Missing Children’s Day. To observe this important day of remembrance, on May 24 the organization hosted a Breakfast of Hope at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel. The Missing Children’s Network and its partners paid a special tribute to missing children and renewed their unwavering commitment to help locate and recover these children until all are safely back home with their families.
Distinguished guest speakers included Rosannie Filato, member of the Executive Committee and responsible for Public Security for the City of Montreal, Line Carbonneau, Deputy Director of the Montreal Police Service and Caroline Lachance, a mother who for the past ten years has been living every parent’s worst nightmare.
“For over 34 years, the Missing Children's Network has been providing invaluable assistance and support to families who are living the worst nightmare imaginable … a missing child. Missing Children’s Day reminds us all about the importance of organizations such as the Network who work tirelessly towards implementing sound personal safety programs for children and adolescents,” stated Filato.
“Missing Children’s Day is an important occasion in which we celebrate all those children who were safely recovered in this past year, as well as remember all those who are still missing. Keeping our children safe is everyone’s responsibility and this can only be accomplished if we all continue to work together in partnership,” proclaimed Carbonneau of Montreal Police. “The stronger our partnerships, the greater the results and the more progress we will make in protecting Quebec’s children and youth.”
“For families whose lives have been devastated by the disappearance of a loved one, it is comforting to know that we can turn to the Missing Children’s Network,” said an emotional Caroline Lachance. “Their office feels like home to us and the staff is always available to listen and lend their shoulders to cry on. This allows us to draw the strength and the courage needed to never give up hope that one day our child will be returned safely home.”
“The Missing Children’s Network envisions a world where children can grow up protected and safe. Collectively, we work diligently and with determined focus to reduce child victimization and search for missing children,” said Pina Arcamone, Director General of the Missing Children’s Network. “It is only through the unwavering support of our partners who provide both financial and in-kind support as well as expertise and skills that we are able to carry out our important work.”
For the third consecutive year, over 2,000 preschoolers from childcare facilities in the Greater Montreal area took part in the Tiny Tots Walk for Hope. This annual walk is a reminder to searching families that their children are missing but not forgotten. At the end of the event, the Missing Children’s Network distributed copies of Juliette and Jacob Stay Safe, a fun and engaging safety quiz that is designed to help parents foster their preschoolers’ safety competence. This educational tool teaches our little ones how trusting their instinct, knowing their personal information and finding safe people are key to their safety, in case of emergency.
To conclude Missing Children’s Day, in a show of solidarity, the City of Montreal illuminated Montreal City Hall in green.
Missing Children’s Day was first recognized by former President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, on May 25, 1983. May 25th is the date that six-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from a New York City street corner on his way to school. Etan’s case remains one of thousands of unsolved missing children’s cases and this day serves as an annual reminder of our responsibilities to ensure the well-being and safety of our children.
In 1986, the Solicitor General of Canada declared May 25th to be National Missing Children’s Day in Canada. Today, this annual awareness day is international in scope with over 50 countries pausing on May 25th to honour its missing children.
—Missing Children’s Network