Friends of the Child Advocacy Center
AN ODE FOR OUR HEALING GARDEN
By Leah Johnson, former President of Friends of the CAC and Founding Member
Images, memories flood our minds
Bruises, broken bones, innocent lives lost
To maltreatment - sickness, tragedy.
Endeavors to amend their lot in life, bring healing, and
Keep the promise of a safe childhood
Unexpectedly become disrupted by forces beyond our control.
The trauma of abuse leaves behind a weight of sadness, disappointment, feelings of betrayal.
On June 29, 2022, the Friends of the CAC and Child Advocacy Center of Frederick County MD dedicated a beautiful bench and plaque to memorialize Lt. Andrew "Stew" Alcorn in the Healing Garden of Bonita Maas Park. Stew was a Frederick Police Officer that passed away at the age of 39. He was passionate and dedicated in his work with the Child Advocacy Center and the Friends of the CAC. Stew had just begun his term as the Board Chair at the Child Advocacy Center at the time of his passing. We thought a memorial bench was a fitting tribute to honor his legacy.
Maltreatment, an immoral blemish, leaves a residue to purge from consciousness.
This Healing Garden, we dedicate today, is a place to come and find healing.
Release the sorrow that is within you,
Your tears a bountiful rain for seeds to sprout.
Uplift your heart and spirit, find renewed strength.
Remember those who are hurting or have lost their lives.
Bolster your mind to find meaning by turning this experience into good.
Develop compassion and empathy for others who will need you.
Listen for the slightest whisper of a hurting child and respond to change the future.
Bonita Maas Park is home to the Healing Garden designed to remember Frederick County children who have died as a result of child abuse. After the 2013 death of three young children within a six month period at the hands of caregivers, local officials involved in these cases sought a way to remember these precious children. They asked our organization to help find a place in Frederick in which to honor their memory. Nearly 18-months later, on April 30, 2015, County and City officials gathered to dedicate the Healing Garden, a quiet space to remember and reflect upon the young lives lost in Frederick County to child abuse and to begin the healing process for the survivors and the professionals working these horrific cases. This garden is a special place. Trash cans and cigarette receptacles have been placed in the garden for the public's convenience. We ask that "You leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but memories" when you visit the Healing Garden.
Driving Directions to the Healing Garden
From Route 15, take Rosemont Avenue exit. Follow West Second Street to North Bentz Street. Turn left onto Bentz Street, then turn left onto West Church Street. Take a left onto North Market Street for one block. Then turn left onto West Second Street. Park will be on the right after Magoo’s Restaurant. There is metered street parking. (Go to Map)
Although the park features landscaped gardens, benches and small tables, and a water fountain, the centerpiece of the Healing Garden is the one-of-a-kind Whispering Bench, designed by a well-known sculptor, Jim Gallluci. The bench is adorned with pinwheels, the nationally-recognized symbol of a happy and healthy childhood. There are two sound tubes — one at each end of the bench — that visitors can use to communicate with one another. While playful and fun to test out, the tubes serve a greater purpose, reminding us that children need to be heard, even when they whisper, to prevent abuse and neglect. The bricks surrounding the bench contain names of some of the Frederick County children lost to abuse. The pinwheel bricks represent children whose names cannot be disclosed. The marble bench in the garden helps us remember all the unnamed children, known or unknown, unable to survive their abuse. I'm a paragraph. Click once to begin entering your own content. You can change my font, size, line height, color and more by highlighting part of me and selecting the options from the toolbar.