Children’s Advocacy Center to Host Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
The Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass will host a ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening of its new facility at 162 North Ashland Ave on April 30th at 2:00 p.m. An open house will immediately follow the celebration until 7:00 p.m.
The Children’s Advocacy Center coordinates the investigation and treatment of the most serious cases of child abuse in 17 Central Kentucky counties. Each year more than 600 children come to the Center to receive forensic interviews, medical exams, and restorative care – all at no cost to a child’s family.
Extensive renovations to the building began six months ago and the Center officially opened in its new location on March 12th.
“We are thrilled to open our doors to the community,” said Executive Director Andrew Oliver. “This is an incredible space, one all residents of Central Kentucky can be proud of. We believe this Center will serve as a national model for excellence in children’s advocacy services.”
The new facility is located exactly one block east of their former home on Walton Ave in Lexington. With more than 8,000 square feet, the new building provides room to grow and expand services. Painted in calming colors and designed with children in mind, the building has four client waiting rooms, two forensic interview rooms, a 30-seat state-of-the-art training center, and individual and group therapy rooms.
Most importantly, the new building will allow the Center’s staff to work with an increasing number of children.
The Children’s Advocacy Center is eight months into a three year, $750,000 Capital Campaign. To date, more than $150,000 has been raised and another $100,000 is pledged through next year.
“We’re extremely thankful for every gift we’ve received from individuals, businesses and community foundations. We still need help to reach our goal of paying for the building outright,” said Oliver. “We’re still looking for that lead donation to push us closer to our goal.”
The ribbon cutting ceremony will include remarks from Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Larson and Board President T. Bruce Simpson. Center staff members will provide tours of the new facility until 7:00 pm.
Lexington, KY – The Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass announced today the receipt of a $15,000 capital gift from Columbia Gas of Kentucky to support the Center’s move to an 8,000 square foot facility on North Ashland Avenue in Lexington.
Columbia Gas of Kentucky President Herb Miller presented the check on August 24 at the Center’s signature fundraiser, An Evening for the Children’s Advocacy Center. This joint contribution from the NiSource Charitable Foundation and Columbia Gas of Kentucky is the first corporate gift to the Center’s capital campaign.
Miller awarded this gift as a challenge grant to spur additional support for the organization’s efforts to become a national model of excellence in children’s advocacy services.
“The Center’s move to a larger facility will provide a number of opportunities to grow their programs and advance their very important cause,” said Miller. “While it is sad that communities need organizations like the Children’s Advocacy Center, helping an organization of this kind provide real, hands-on help to children is something we must do.”
“We are grateful to Columbia Gas and the NiSource Charitable Foundation for their generous support,” stated Andrew Oliver, Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass. “This is a significant investment in the lives of vulnerable children throughout Central Kentucky and their gift gets us that much closer to moving into our beautiful new building in early 2013.”
Columbia Gas of Kentucky safely delivers clean and efficient natural gas to approximately 140,000 customers in 30 Kentucky counties. Headquartered in Lexington, the company is one of the seven energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI). NiSource companies deliver energy to approximately 3.8 million customers located within the high-demand energy corridor stretching from the Gulf Coast through the Midwest to New England. More information about Columbia Gas of Kentucky is available at www.columbiagasky.com.
The Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass is hosting its largest, annual fundraiser, An Evening for the Children’s Advocacy Center, Friday, August 24, 2012 at the Signature Club in Lexington. This elegant lu’au will include entertainment, island cocktails, dinner from Dupree, and unique silent and live auction items.
Let the Aloha Spirit fill your heart as our featured performer, Leilani, pairs traditional music and storytelling with graceful hula dancing. You’ll imagine the scent of na pua on gentle trade winds; the waves whispering on a white sandy beach. Share a magical evening with friends on what promises to be a beautiful night.
Tickets to the event are $100 per person and tables of eight are offered for $800. Event sponsorship opportunities are still available. Casual island attire is encouraged. Dave Baker and DeAnn Stephens will emcee the gala and Coach Matthew and Jenna Mitchell will serve as Honorary Chairpersons.
This year’s featured live auction item is a Captain’s Club pass to the sold out John Calipari Basketball Fantasy Experience, September 13-16. Valued at $12,500, this 4 day camp provides an all-access pass to UK coaches, pickup games with former Wildcat greats, private tour of the new Wildcat Lodge led by Coach Calipari, as well as hotel accommodations, meals and ground transportation. The winning bidder and a guest will enjoy dinner at Coach Cal’s house and the winner will also compete in an actual game played in Rupp Arena!
Other live auction items include a Sonoma VIP Wine Tour and Ultimate NASCAR Driving Experience (both packages include airfare and lodging), Dinner with the Mitchells and Phillips, a UK Women’s Basketball Road Trip package and Marco Island Getaway.
For more information about the event or to RSVP, please call Andrew Oliver or Allison Benjamin at 859-514-1566.
The Center would like to extend heartfelt thanks and appreciation to our sponsors:
Gold Sponsors -
Nerney Family Foundation
Silver Sponsors -
Comfort & Process Solutions
Lexington Furniture/Hugh and Laura James
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky
Turf Town Properties/Rick Queen
LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Burning Stick Foundation has awarded the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass a $5,000 grant to provide services to child victims of sexual abuse throughout Central Kentucky.
“This financial support helps us to provide counseling for child victims and support groups for caregivers who are also healing in the aftermath of abuse,” said Andrew Oliver, Executive Director.
A smaller portion of the funding will be allocated to support the Center’s expansion into a larger facility on North Ashland Avenue later this year. Foundation funding will be used to furnish a second client waiting room which is comfortable and child-friendly, ensuring the children feel safe and secure during their visit to the Center.
This is the second straight year that the Burning Stick Foundation has supported the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass. The Foundation, which places an emphasis on giving to charities in Central Kentucky, hosted their annual cigar event Stoke on April 13.
Exciting things are happening at the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass! After more than a year of planning, we have reached an agreement to purchase a new building at 158-162 North Ashland Avenue.
As you may know, we outgrew our home on Walton years ago. Last year we provided a record number of services to children and our current facility is no longer adequate to meet the needs of the communities we serve.
Our future home is located in the same quiet, safe and easily accessible neighborhood we’ve loved for 18 years. It is our hope that this facility will serve as a national model for excellence in the development of children’s advocacy services. With more than 8,000 sq. feet, this building provides the physical space to better serve children and families as we grow and expand services.
You can help us write the next chapter in our Moving Story. We are now engaged in a Capital Campaign to raise the funds needed to purchase and renovate our new home. I invite you to review our Campaign Booklet and consider making a personal gift.
Your financial contribution to the Capital Campaign is the most direct way to make an investment in the lives of the children we serve and secure the future of the Children’s Advocacy Center. If you choose to give, please make your contribution online or complete our simple Capital Campaign Donation Form. Just indicate that you would like to designate your gift to our Capital Campaign. Your tax-deductible donation will help children throughout Central Kentucky start on a safe path to recovery and healing.
Thank you for your consideration and support of our Capital Campaign.
CACBG Receives the GuideStar Exchange Seal as a Demonstration of Its Commitment to Transparency
LEXINGTON, Ky – The Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass announced today that is has received the GuideStar Exchange Seal, a leading symbol of transparency and accountability provided by GuideStar USA, Inc., the premier source of nonprofit information. The Seal demonstrates the organization’s deep commitment to nonprofit transparency and accountability.
“We have worked hard to showcase our progress toward our mission, and our long-held belief in being transparent about our work to our constituents,” said Andrew Oliver, Executive Director.
“As a GuideStar Exchange member, we will use their website to share up-to-date information about our work to our supporters and GuideStar’s immense online audience of grant-makers, individual donors, and the media. We are thrilled to have another platform to communicate our commitment to serving children while being good financial stewards.”
The GuideStar Exchange is an initiative designed to connect nonprofits with current and potential supporters. With millions of people coming to GuideStar to learn more about nonprofit organizations, the GuideStar Exchange allows nonprofits to share a wealth of information with GuideStar’s many audiences.
Thousands of Pinwheels Fill the Capitol
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — More than 5,000 silver pinwheels glittering on the front lawn of the state Capitol Thursday represented child victims of sexual abuse served by the children’s advocacy centers across Kentucky in 2011.
The pinwheels were part of a celebration of hope and healing that was part of the National Children’s Alliance’s ONE With Courage campaign and coincided with April’s designation as Child Abuse Awareness Month.
Meghan Wright, state coordinator of the Kentucky Association of Children’s Advocacy Centers; Laura Kretzer, the association’s board president; and Chief Deputy Attorney General Patrick Hughes spoke at a rally on the front steps of the state Capitol on Thursday afternoon to call attention to the problem of child abuse and efforts being made to deal with it.
Wright said that the 5,035 pinwheels signified the children who had been helped by the state’s 15 advocacy centers in fiscal year 2011, but were “only a sampling” of the thousands of children whose lives have been forever changed by abuse.
“Today we mourn for innocence lost, and it’s important that we begin there,” Wright said, adding the pinwheels signify the children had the courage to tell someone. “And because they told, we are able to celebrate the triumph of healing we have seen in their hearts.”
Kretzer described the work the children’s advocacy centers do in providing services for the investigation, treatment and prosecution of child sexual abuse cases. In 2001, they provided 3,183 forensic interviews and 1,021 medical examinations.
Hughes thanked the children’s advocates for their contributions and discussed his office’s efforts to fight child pornography and cyber-crimes against children.
Wright thanked the advocates’ supporters and partners, including legislators for their work on several child abuse bills during this year’s session of the General Assembly.
Two bills in particular stood out, she said: HB 519, which would broaden the definition of incest and raise the age of consent from 16 to 18 in some cases, and HB 350, a bill regarding human trafficking.
Both bills are “still on the table,” and she and other advocates hope they will pass on the last day of the session, April 12, she said.
Rep. Mike Nemes, R-Louisville, the sponsor of HB 519, was among those attending the rally.
In July, the Center hosted the first annual Summer Swing Golf Classic at Marriott’s Griffin Gate Golf Club in Lexington. The weather held out and 80 golfers took to the links to raise funds in support of the Center’s mission. We owe a special debt of gratitude to Urban Active who sponsored this inaugural event. We couldn’t have done it without their generous support!
On August 27, the Children’s Advocacy Center hosted its signature fundraising event at the R.J. Corman Hanger in Nicholasville. More than 200 guests enjoyed a beautiful night filled with great food and drink, music by the Swells, and an exciting live auction. The Center would like to extend special thanks to our hosts, Dave Baker and DeAnn Stephens, Event Chairperson, Barb Saunier, and Honorary Chairpersons Coach Matthew and Jenna Mitchell.
This editorial appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader on November 13, 2011.
By Andrew Oliver
The details contained in the 23-page grand jury report are so graphic and stomach-turning that many media outlets have chosen not to report the alleged acts.
Jerry Sandusky, a prominent coach and trusted mentor, now stands accused of raping eight children over the course of a decade. Since his indictment last week, at least two more individuals have come forward to accuse Sandusky of sexual abuse. The number of victims will surely rise in the coming days.
What happened at Penn State University is a tragedy of epic proportions and the emerging details suggest a widespread cover-up. A coaching legend, his athletic director, and university administrators all failed to intervene and report eyewitness accounts of abuse, and made no attempt to identify a child victim allegedly sodomized in their locker room.
Their inaction undoubtedly ensured that countless other children would suffer a similar, terrifying fate.
It’s easy, but not productive, to vilify Penn State and the culture of secrecy which allowed this to happen. It’s also shortsighted because this issue is bigger than the university. Child sexual abuse — the kind that’s every bit as horrifying as what is alleged at Penn State — happens every day in every community across the country.
The statistics are shocking. Nationally, one out of four girls and one out of six boys will be sexually abused before they reach their 18th birthday. What’s worse? Only one in 10 will ever tell.
Despite our outrage over the inaction in Pennsylvania, most of us never do anything when confronted with child abuse. A recent national survey found that only 26 percent of Americans reported child abuse when they witnessed it. The reasons for failing to report varied greatly. Some people didn’t know who to call and others felt it was none of their business.
Kentucky law explicitly states that anyone who suspects abuse or neglect of a child has a duty to report it.
If the Penn State tragedy can teach us anything, it’s that all adults have a moral and ethical responsibility to report suspected cases of child abuse, and to intervene if abuse is witnessed. The fulfillment of any legal obligation, which varies by state, is not a replacement for exercising a moral responsibility to ensure children are safe.
A child’s safety is an adult’s responsibility. Children cannot and should not be expected to protect themselves.
All adults should learn the signs of abuse and to be vigilant in protecting children. The biggest indicator that a child is being abused is if he or she discloses that abuse has occurred. Other signs include changes in behaviors (eating, sleeping, school performance, etc.) and unexplained injuries.
Some children display risk-taking behaviors and others may display inappropriate sexual behaviors. For more information, check out D2L.org and onewithcourage.org.
Sex offenders are clever about finding opportunities to gain access to children. They’re skilled at manipulating adults to lower their boundaries about contact with their children in the same way that they groom children for sexual contact. We spend a lot of time talking about “stranger-danger” but the reality is that sexual abuse is overwhelmingly committed by someone the family knows and trusts.
Parents should sense a red flag if any adult — a friend, coach, minister, teacher, or family member — seeks to spend significant amounts of time alone with their child.
Kentucky is fortunate to have 15 regional Children’s Advocacy Centers which provide comprehensive services to children and families affected by sexual abuse. Additionally, these centers are available to help community members learn more about protecting children and responding effectively to sexual abuse.
It’s evident in Pennsylvania that someone — anyone — should have done something. Children everywhere are counting on adults to speak up for them, so that this never happens again.