The Polly Klaas Foundation will hold a 20-year anniversary event at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Lucchesi Park/Petaluma Community Center, 320 N. McDowell Blvd.
The event, dubbed an Evening of Commemoration and Hope, will feature speakers involved in the search for Polly and students performing in her memory, according to a press release. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP at pollyklaas.org.
“We are hoping to offer our heartfelt thank you to the community for making a difference 20 years ago that has reached well beyond Petaluma,” a press release quoted Board President Gary Judd, who has been on the board since the foundation started in 1993, as saying.
Since the 90s, the foundation has helped 8,500 families search for missing children, the press release states.
The full release follows:
PETALUMA, CA – (September 1, 2013) Twenty years after its founding amid one of the nation’s most intensive searches for a kidnapped child, The Polly Klaas Foundation is making plans to acknowledge the many thousands of people who came together in an effort that changed the country’s perception of missing children.
The Foundation’s Board of Directors is inviting the public to an Evening of Commemoration and Hope at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 at the Lucchesi Park/Petaluma Community Center, 320 N. McDowell Blvd. The 90-minute event will include speakers involved in the search 20 years ago for Polly Klaas, including FBI agent Ed Freyer, as well as local students performing to honor Polly’s memory. The Board also is planning other special announcements during the event, as well as a photographic display of pictures taken during the search efforts.
It is expected that many people who were directly involved in the search for Polly, as well as those who remember the Foundation’s early beginnings will attend.
“We are hoping to offer our heartfelt thank you to the community for making a difference 20 years ago that has reached well beyond Petaluma,” said Gary Judd, Board president and a Board member since the Foundation’s start in 1993. The evening is free and open to the public but seating is limited. Those who wish to attend are encouraged to RSVP.
Since its beginning, the Foundation has assisted more than 8,500 families to search for their missing children. The Foundation’s trained staff works with law enforcement, volunteers and community members to assist with child searches and child safety issues, utilizing skills and techniques now recognized as trend-setting, but initially developed in the search for Polly Klaas.
“The Foundation’s work today and into the future embodies the spirit of that first meeting in 1993, when people from the community met on Kentucky Street in downtown Petaluma to help find a missing 12-year old few of them even knew,” said Raine Howe, Foundation Executive Director. “Those initial efforts have become a symbol of hope for families and children and should stand as one of the key moments in the history of our community.”