Locals rally in support of children

Community members stood strong on the steps of the Marshall County Courthouse in the face of a big wind and got their message across on how they support children in the area.

The annual Stand up for Children rally was held Friday over the noon hour as part of Child Abuse Prevention Month. The event drew more than 100 people.

“This is to bring awareness to the whole community about the importance of prevention,” said Laurie Gowdy, community awareness director of Child Abuse Prevention Services, the sponsoring agency of the event.

Just as this rally has become an annual event, so has been the attendance of family members of Jesse Snyder, who died from child abuse at the age of 2 in 2001.

A big group of family and friends wear T-Shirts every year honoring Jesse.

“It’s our way to represent him while we are here,” said Jesse’s father Matthew Snyder. “We’re here to show our support for the community and his memory.”

Franklin Elementary School counselor Karen Mussig was one of the handful of community members who spoke up on how they stand up for children in their lives. Mussig said Marshalltown agencies partner well to do what’s best for children.

“I think it’s incredible to be a part of Marshalltown and be in a community where you have that support,” Mussig said.

CAPS Director Jana Enfield wanted everyone to know that they have can have a positive effect on children, no matter their line of work.

“Protecting children is everyone’s business,” Enfield said. “It’s so important that we have a voice for them.”

Gowdy said the events and activities this year as part of Child Abuse Prevention Month went well. New this year was a Stand up for Children comedy night, which was held Thursday at the Orpheum Theater.

“We got lots of positive comments, and it was a fun night,” Gowdy said. “We feel like overall we’ve hopefully accomplished our goal to raise awareness.”