By Ginny Sagal, Communication & Outreach Coordinator for the Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County
It’s 9am and the Children’s Advocacy Center is open. Clients are coming in for a therapy session, therapy assessment, medical service, or forensic interview.
They are greeted by a CAC employee and many times by a volunteer.
This is a volunteer who has given their time and heart to help out at the Center. The volunteers who help out at the Children’s Advocacy Center are given a variety of tasks to do that are catered to their interest, skillset, and our client’s needs.
Many come to the Center to be with the children.
They play games, read stories, or just hang with them. Having kind and caring volunteers help out with the children makes the waiting sometimes not so scary. They also comfort the parents, who are sometimes just as scared and confused as the kids.
We have volunteers that also help with filing and keeping our closet, where we store extra clothing for our clients, organized. Some volunteers love to get involved in our once a year Winter Gala fundraiser that requires many hours of their time.
Once a week in the evening, we have a special parent therapy group that is totally run by the volunteers and facilitated by one of our therapists. The volunteers make dinner for the kids and parents. While the parents are in the group session with the therapist, the volunteers play games and make crafts with the kids. When the session is done, these dedicated volunteers stay to help clean up.
Our volunteers come from all walks of life.
We have some that are students who are working on college credits that pertain to social service and criminal justice work. There are companies that come to the Center as a team to help us out on a project. Many are retirees that have chosen our Center to help out in the next phase of their lives.
The Children’s Advocacy Center has a child sexual abuse prevention training that is done by volunteers. This program is called the “Protect our Children, Darkness to Light, Stewards of Children” training.
Being a volunteer at the Children’s Advocacy Center is like being part of a big family. Like most families, some days are easier than others, but the devotion and love that our volunteers give to our Center and our clients makes every day a special one.
There is always room for more volunteers. Please let us know if you have a place in your heart to help children and their families. We can set up a time to for tour and talk about how they want to help the abused children and their families at the Center. Contact Ginny Sagal at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 541 282 5474.