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Creator of Child Abuse Survivor Monument receives 5th Annual Stand Up for Kids Award

Stand Up for Kids Award recognizes local residents who take action against child abuse

TORONTO, Oct. 2 /CNW/ - Sculptor and psychotherapist Michael Irving, Ph.D., was recognized today for his significant contribution to protecting children and youth from abuse and neglect. The fifth annual Stand Up for Kids Award, sponsored by the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto, Children's Aid Society of Toronto and Jewish Family and Child Service, was presented to Dr. Irving today by Toronto Mayor David Miller as part of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Dr. Irving created the Child Abuse Survivor Monument, which when completed, will consist of two massive bronze figures adorned with a sculptural quilt of survivors' hand prints. The monument will be 30 feet wide by 11 feet tall, making it one of the largest bronze sculptures and social action arts projects in Canadian history. A total of 190 survivors of child abuse and their supporters have worked on the sculptural quilt, each making a square sculpted with images and words.

"This monument honours the spirit and courage of participating survivors, and empowers all child abuse survivors to speak out," said Mary Juric, Director of Service, Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto. "It is our hope that this monument will create awareness about the dangers of child abuse and the necessity of on-going prevention."

Over 5,000 Canadians, including such notables as the Honourable Ken Dryden, and former NHL player Lanny McDonald, have already participated in the project through the Helping Hands for Child Abuse Campaign. The campaign asks participants to send in an outline of their hand and a personal message about child abuse that will be permanently placed inside the hollow centre of the finished monument.

A noted sculptor for more than 30 years, Dr. Irving conceived the Child Abuse Survivor Monument 17 years ago and has collaborated with hundreds of survivors, clinicians, artists, donors, and volunteers to carry out the

"As a community, we all have a responsibility to use our voices to help stop child abuse," said Mayor David Miller. "Our children are our future, so it's important to recognize those who have the strength to stand up and make a difference in the lives of our community's most vulnerable children. I challenge and encourage all Torontonians to act - and to help stop the cycle of silence by giving these children a voice."

The Stand Up for Kids Award ceremony was followed by the second annual Use Your Voice challenge, where media personalities and the public were enlisted to use their voices to prevent child abuse. The participants shouted slogans about preventing child abuse and were judged on their volume level by M.J. DeSouza, Vice President & Chief Audiologist, ListenUP! Canada.

Over the past year alone, the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto, Children's Aid Society of Toronto and Jewish Family and Child Service have investigated more than 4,709 cases of suspected child abuse, and provided care for more than 19,707 area children. The Stand Up for Kids Award was presented at the Eaton Centre's Trinity Square, and generously sponsored by Sears. The event marks the Toronto launch of Child Abuse Prevention month.

Mayor Miller presents the Stand Up for Kids Award sponsored by the Children's Aid Society of Toronto, Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto and Jewish Family and Child Service to Dr. Irving, creator of child abuse survivor monument. (CNW Group/Children's Aid Society of Toronto)

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Michael C. Irving, Ph.D., Psychotherapist Sculptor and Irving Wellness -- Providing Speaker, Motivational Talks, Workshops, Psychotherapy, Art Therapy, Art in Therapy, Sculpture, Monuments, Public Art., Memorial, Reaching Out Child Abuse Monument, Child Abuse Survivor Monument Project, Reaching Out: America.