Traveling exhibit brings to light reality of abuse
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Jun 07, 2013 | 3806 views | 0 0 comments | 95 95 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Volunteers Christine Warne (from left), Pardeep Shergill and Melita Vellian go through one of the rooms in the Lisa Project, a mobile exhibit on child abuse, during an orientation session Monday, June 3.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Volunteers Christine Warne (from left), Pardeep Shergill and Melita Vellian go through one of the rooms in the Lisa Project, a mobile exhibit on child abuse, during an orientation session Monday, June 3. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
slideshow
Lisa Project coordinator Gene Hardin stands in a room where visitors can leave personal messages Monday, June 3, as he prepares the mobile exhibit for its Tracy opening on Friday, June 7.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Lisa Project coordinator Gene Hardin stands in a room where visitors can leave personal messages Monday, June 3, as he prepares the mobile exhibit for its Tracy opening on Friday, June 7. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
slideshow
Christine Warne, a Lisa Project volunteer, listens to an audio recording of a story of child abuse during an orientation session Monday, June 3.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Christine Warne, a Lisa Project volunteer, listens to an audio recording of a story of child abuse during an orientation session Monday, June 3. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
slideshow
The desperate voice of a child calling for help sets the tone for a mobile exhibit on child abuse that opens Friday, June 7, outside the West Valley Mall.

The Lisa Project, a month-long exhibit in the mall parking lot at 3200 Naglee Road, consists of a series of rooms, each of which represents an abused child. It’s free to the public.

Exhibit visitors are given iPods to hear an audio narration of each child’s story that range in age, abusive situations and gender.

Tracy is the 15th city to host the exhibit, which started in 2010, according to Gene Hardin, project coordinator.

“We want to raise awareness where people realize they can act, at the very least make a phone call to let someone investigate (abuse),” Hardin said. “We believe it’s everybody’s job to help prevent child abuse.”

Although the audio was recorded by a child actor and the pictures on the walls show child models, the stories they are telling are true. All but one comes from a San Joaquin County child that lived through these horrors, Hardin said.

The first room represents 6-year-old Lisa, the narrator of the exhibit.

Lisa tells her own story of abuse in San Diego and then introduces each child, intertwining her words with their stories of abuse in San Joaquin County.

Rooms range from one with graffiti on the walls to one with posters and awards that could belong to a typical teenage girl.

Perhaps the most disturbing room is a bathroom that tells two intense stories of sexual abuse lived by a teenage girl and a toddler boy.

The exhibit takes 25 minutes to visit, and although it is designed to accommodate five people at a time, Hardin said organizers can arrange for larger groups and private tours.

Due to mature content, children under 13 will not be given an audio device, but they can view the exhibit with their parents or guardians, he said.

On Monday, June 3, three locals volunteering to work at the exhibit got a chance to walk through it for the first time.

“It’s in your face and I’m glad they are showing it,” said Christine Warne, 31, of Tracy. “I feel it is important for those who don’t think it’s true.”

Melita Vellian, 15, of Mountain House, called it “intense and touching.”

“An eye-opening reality to what other people go through,” she said.

The Lisa Project is open 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through June 30. It will be closed June 16.

For information, call 644-5308 or visit www.thelisaproject.org.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.
Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet


We encourage readers to share online comments in this forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a space for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Comments that stray from the topic of the story or are found to contain abusive language are subject to removal at the Press’ discretion, and the writer responsible will be subject to being blocked from making further comments and have their past comments deleted. Readers may report inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at tpnews@tracypress.com.