By Jennifer Mylenek, Executive Director of CASA of Jackson and Josephine Counties

The month of April represents Child Abuse Awareness, which helps shine a spotlight on the tragic circumstances of hundreds of thousands of abused and/or neglected children in the U.S.  It is also a month in which I’m honored to be a part of a rich collaborative of child-serving agencies that have joined together to raise awareness and funds to support our strong linkage of services provided to abused children in Jackson County.   

The Children’s Advocacy Center, CASA of Jackson County, and The Family Nurturing Center are three cornerstone non-profit agencies that support the needs of marginalized, abused, and/or neglected children in various ways with the common goal of ensuring every child can be safe from harm, thrive in a stable/loving home, have equal educational opportunities, and heal from abuse.

The three agencies are led by strong and experienced Executive Directors who realized that together, we can do much more for our children. 

Working across agencies has always been our practice when we have shared child clients, but April brought us together in a bigger way.  The subject of child abuse awareness is challenging to promote.  Most people would rather turn away than accept that it is going on in our county in an epidemic-like fashion. 

We knew we could raise more awareness with the larger footprint of our three agencies shining a coordinated light.

Change for Children was our brainchild and began last April in a small way.  Today we have seen a significant surge in community support and with our combined staff pitching in to raise the flag on child abuse, much is getting done.  Not to mention we found we all work really well together!

I think you’ll agree that recognizing there’s a problem is the first step toward solving the problem, but stepping in to be part of the solution will lift your spirits to new heights, I guarantee it. 

If you’re already helping a child or children in some way, thank you. 

There is no greater gift than to see a smile on a child’s face or to know you made a positive difference in their life.