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Rain doesn't dampen spirit on National Siblings Day

Sisters Karla (far left) and Ana Aviles (far right) gather at Symphony Park for National Siblings Day on Sunday, April 10, 2016. They were separated after their mother died of leukemia and the dad was incarcerated. [Christine Kim | News 3]

There are about 3,000 children in the foster care system in Clark County, and many of them are separated from their siblings in the process.

Child Focus of St. Jude's Ranch for Children is bringing those siblings together for its first annual festival on National Siblings Day.

Sunday morning saw rain and clouds, but that didn't stop the event. The bright colors and smiles brightened up the gloomy backdrop of the skies at The Smith Center's Symphony Park.

Myesha Wilson, the executive director of St. Jude's, said the event is one way of helping preserve the relationship between siblings.

"It's really sad they don't get to grow up together, so we try to provide that vehicle for them to grow up together and share memories and make memories like we're doing today," she said.

Laura Goen, 20, and her younger brother Shaun Sobczak, 13, have been able to keep their bond strong. The two were separated 8 years ago when Shaun was just 5 years old. A cycle of abuse within their family forced them into the foster care system, which they bounced in and out of until Shaun was adopted into a foster family.

"It's been a very strong battle within 8 years," said Goen. "We only see each other once a month because of these events. If it wasn't for these events, we probably would never really see each other and it really means a lot."

"She's been there for me a long time and she's the last family member I actually have," said Shaun. "She keeps me going."

Three sisters also spent time together at the festival. Karla Aviles, 21, Ana Aviles, 20, and their younger sister came with their cousin. They were separated after their mom died of leukemia and their dad was incarcerated.

"I didn't have my sister. She's my best friend, and I didn't have her with me" said Karla.

"It's amazing to have a day like this... even though we are making new friends, they come and go, but family stays," said Ana.

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