Friends and family of a missing Nanaimo teenager held a vigil on Tuesday in an attempt to keep hope alive that she’ll be found safe.

The event for 16-year-old Makayla Chang, who was last seen in Nanaimo on March 17, was organized at John Barsby Community School.

Loved ones shared stories, took part in a healing circle and said the focus of the vigil was to keep Chang’s name in the limelight.

“The commuity needs to be aware that this happened here on our island and we’re not going to stand for it,” said Brandy McKee, the event organizer. “Keep your eyes open, keep your ears open at all times, and keep Makayla in your heart.”

Organizers at the school where Chang was a student before she disappeared say they are overwhelmed by the generosity of the community. 

“Certainly as I say this is the worst nightmare for parents. Hopefully any little thing like this can do is certainly a worthy cause and I don’t think anybody that was asked for help would say no,” said Craig Palin, the owner of In Print.

RCMP officers and search and rescue teams have scoured the Harbour City over the past several weeks. 

Police also executed two search warrants in 53-year-old Steven Bacon’s home where she was known to stay on and off. 

Bacon was suspected to either be with Chang or know information on her whereabouts, but after Mounties tracked him down early last month there was still no sign of the girl. 

“It’s hurt all of our kids dearly, it has hit very close to home, all of her friends are very concerned for her,” said family friend Lindsay Arsenault.

With files from CTV Vancouver Island’s Jessica Lepp