NEW PLYMOUTH Friends and loved ones of an 8-year-old boy who was killed nearly five years ago continue to remember him and bring attention to child abuse. That boy was Robert Manwill. He was killed by Daniel Ehrlick in 2009.
For the next two days his hometown of New Plymouth will remember him.
On Friday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Veterans of Foreign Wars there will be an auction in remembrance of him. It s also done in the hopes of preventing child abuse in the future.
There's just something very special about this little boy, even though this is not an uncommon thing. There was just something special that spoke to people, said Pattie Young, one of the women who helped organized this year s auction.
That thing that Young is talking about that is not uncommon - is child abuse.
I think it's a lot more prevalent than we would admit, said Christy Morales, Robert s second grade teacher.
Under that premise, a group of women started the Artists for Kids event, an art-driven auction that started because of Robert's death. It has since become bigger than Robert.
Much bigger than Robert, he just was the starting place, said Morales.
Robert's class, now in the 7th grade, has done something special, each year, for this event.
We thought we would make a gate with flowers, because flowers and blue is significant for child abuse month, said Young.
Using scraps from a junk yard, they created an 8-foot gate, just one of the many pieces of art to be auctioned off.
The money raised will go toward student scholarships for graduating seniors at New Plymouth High School.
It's turned into something positive and it continues to bring him to light and it continues to bring the issue to light, said Morales.
The idea is to keep the scholarships going until 2019 when Robert's class graduates. Going into the fifth year, the scholarship fund is up to $17,000, with six more auctions to go before they are done with high school. The hope is to have a lot more money to award to his class who have never forgotten him, and have learned a little more about the realities of child abuse.
We need to continually remind ourselves that this is a problem in Idaho and across the country. This is not something that's specific for New Plymouth. We need everyone to talk about it, said Morales.
The auction is not the only way that they're looking to raise money. On Saturday there will be two races in New Plymouth, the Manwill Mile and Robert's Run.
The money raised from the races will also go to help fund the scholarships.
This scholarship fund started with one woman's idea and has since grown to nearly a dozen women working together to stop child abuse.