By Theresa Hart. Development Director for The Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County

Each year the Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County hosts a fundraising luncheon. During these luncheons, guests will receive an update from Tammi Pitzen, CAC Executive Director, about what’s happened at the CAC in the last year.

They will also hear the story of a survivor and how each person can help the children we serve.

On October 12th from 12 noon – 1 pm, the CAC will host its 11th Annual Cherish a Child Luncheon at Inn at the Commons. It is our second largest fundraising event.

I love the luncheon as it provides a look into what we do and inspires people to make a difference in a child’s life. The event is only one hour and lunch is provided. We ask attendees to give what will satisfy their hearts. Attendees may give a one-time gift or a sustaining gift over the next 12 months.

The theme of this year’s fundraising luncheon is Planting a Seed.

Attendees will learn how the work we do is planting seeds of healing in the lives of abused children and their families. They will learn about our community partners who are planting seeds of healing and how they too can plant seeds of healing in our community.

By giving to the CAC, you are planting seeds of healing in a child’s life.

I’m excited to share that this year’s survivor story will focus on how the seeds of healing were planted in the heart of the mother of an abused child thirty years ago. It is a truly inspiring story that you won’t want to miss.

What we know is that when an intervention is timely, a child can heal from the abuse and grow up to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. We also know that the families of these victims also have needs. When those families are helped, they will provide a healthy and safe environment for their child to heal.

Our newly formed Family Support Team provides advocacy and services to the families of victims. Sometimes when a child comes to our Intake Center, their only possessions are the clothes on their backs. That child’s parent may have had to leave their home, and they may have no place to go.

Because of the generosity of donors, there is a clothes closet where our Family Support Team may pull out an outfit or two for that child. We work with community partners like ACCESS, where there is food available for the family. If they need additional clothing or other items to set up their new home, we will give them a Goodwill Industries voucher to purchase items from one of their stores. We work with other agencies to help these families.

We are truly grateful for the community partners doing great work to help these families.

The CAC is a place where children can come to tell the story of their abuse in a loving environment that feels like a home. If they have been injured, they will receive a medical evaluation by a specially trained medical provider.  These head-to-toe evaluations can take two hours or more to perform. During that time, evidence is collected and other medical needs are assessed. Our medical providers give referrals so those additional needs may be addressed. Some of these children have not seen a doctor since they were born.  They also provide assurance to these children that their bodies will heal. These children may also receive a therapy assessment to determine their needs.

We offer short- and long-term therapy as well as specialized therapy groups for the victims. There is also a Parent Group where the non-offending parent may learn how to care for a child that has been through trauma. The CAC is a place of healing. Your gift will plant seeds of healing and recovery in an abused child’s life. Your gift will help those families to provide a safe and healthy environment for their child to heal.

Your gift also plants seeds of healing in our community. We partner with The Ford Family Foundation to provide PROTECT OUR CHILDREN child sexual abuse prevention training where adults learn to identify the signs of abuse and are given tools to intervene and to prevent child abuse from happening. During the last two years, we have trained 1100 people Jackson County. We offer monthly trainings at the Medford Library as well as provide trainings at schools, agencies, churches and organizations that work with children. I would encourage anyone who has or works with children or youth to take this training.

We work closely with community partners who specialize in child abuse. We assist them in planting seeds of healing in the community. We work closely with the Department of Human Services-Child Protection Division (DHS), law enforcement, CASA, Family Nurturing Center, Community Works, the District Attorney’s Office and many more to help in the identification, intervention, prevention, and prosecution of child abuse cases in Jackson County.

Be inspired. Attend the 11th Annual Cherish A Child Luncheon Thursday, October 12 from 12pm – 1pm at the Inn At the Commons.

Register for the luncheon and make a gift to the Children’s Advocacy Center. While we do not charge for the luncheon, you will be asked to give a donation of either a one time or sustaining gift to help abused children. Registration is required.

You may register online at: http://cacjc.org/cherish-a-child-luncheon/or by calling 541-734-5437 at extension 1011.

Thank you for all you do to plant seeds of healing in the life of children. We are grateful for your ongoing support of abused children in our community. We hope that you will join us at the Cherish a Child Luncheon on October 12th.

Planting a Seed