On Thursday, April 29 Pee Dee Coalition’s New Beginnings Transitional Shelter in Wallace honored Child Abuse Prevention Month and the lives of 8-year-old Iyana Lowery and her mother Ella by holding a memorial balloon release ceremony.
The program included speakers from the community and two performances by soloist singer Amy Yarborough. After the speakers, over 100 balloons were given to attendees and released into the sky. All of the balloons used were biodegradable and environmentally friendly. The family members were given white dove balloons and others released blue balloons, the color that represents Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Iyana and Ella Lowery were killed in 2017, and although the suspect has been identified, the case remains ongoing. A statue fountain was erected in 2017 at the New Beginnings Shelter playground to honor Iyana and her mother. The event was held in front of the playground and had an estimated 70 guests. Many were personal friends of the family, and others were members of agencies involved with the case. Many attendees were officers from the Marlboro County Sheriff’s Department.
Speakers at the event included Janice Hamlin, Program Coordinator for New Beginnings; Janice Rozier, President of the Marlboro County Chapter Board and Vice President of the Coalition’s Board of Directors, Denise O’Neal and Constance Leak with the Department of Social Services, Gail Redding, Principal of Bennettsville Primary School where Iyana was a student, Rev. J.J. Anderson from Sawmill Baptist Church and Charles Lemon with the Marlboro County Sheriff Department. Amy Yarborough performed two solos: “Hold on to me” and “Rise Up.”
“Floating freely in the air,
Is a special balloon with all my care, That I have released to the skies above. It’s really important, it carries my love. So please be watching for it to come by; This special balloon, I released to the sky. I know you’re in Heaven
and that gives me peace.
So it’s with all my love,
this balloon I release.”