HILLSDALE, N.J. -- The first-ever Joan's Joy Child Safety Fun Fest in memory of a 7-year-old Brownie Scout killed by a neighbor more than four decades ago is set for Sept. 20 at a sculpture and garden dedicated to her at the Hillsdale train station.
“No one can replace your hands in the circle of doing good,” said Rosemarie D'Alessandro, who made helping other parents and abused children her life’s mission after her daughter's April 1973 murder.
Scheduled from noon to 4 p.m., the free family event aims to promote child safety education amid live music by The Tenafly School of Rock House Band, a tour of the White Butterfly Sculpture & Garden,and a tricky tray raffle and silent auction.
More than two dozen tables will offer child safety presentations and fun activities.
Features include Internet safety information, child ID cards, a Hillsdale police presentation on abduction awareness, information on a National Runaway Safe line and situational awareness.
The fun tables will include face painting, baked goods, free snacks and silk flower arranging.
RAIN DATE: Sept. 27
The Joan's Joy Foundation is seeking sponsors, donations and volunteers.
GO TO: www.JoansJoy.org
OR email: email@example.com
The 5,670-pound monument to Joan joins the flagpole and sign in front of the train station and has a carving of a white butterfly and a plaque with her photo. The white butterfly was chosen because it symbolizes Joan’s “joyful and free spirit, giving hope to many,” D’Alessandro said.
It was inspired by one that then-grieving mother said she found at the site where Joan’s body was found.
Joseph McGowan, a former high school science teacher, was convicted of raping and murdering Joan on April 19, 1973 (Holy Thursday), before dumping her body in Harriman State Park, where it was found on Easter.
The youngster had come to McGowan’s home, three doors down, looking to sell her last two boxes of cookies.
Her murder prompted the passage of Joan’s Law, signed by Gov. Christie Whitman in 1997 and by President Clinton in 1998. It mandates life in prison for the killing of children under 14 during a sex crime.
D’Alessandro established Joan's Joy to help youngsters and raise awareness of child safety issues.
TO CONTRIBUTE: The Joan Angela D’Alessandro Foundation, 45 Florence St., Hillsdale, (201) 664-9140 OR: Rosebd@email.com
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