By Terri Spilman
The Cherish Center, a service of Advocates for Children and Families, recently received a grant of $86,000 from The Regional Council of Community Partners for Child Safety to support its Socially Safe Kids Project.
Advocates for Children and Families is a nonprofit organization that works to bring together a network of quality child services, supporting organizations and programs for the benefit of decreasing violent harm to children and increasing the presence of thriving children and families.
“The Cherish Center sees abuse cases every day that could have been prevented with education and intervention at earlier stages,” said Wendy Raeburn, the center’s executive director. “Our prevention programs and the funding through this grant are key to decreasing the cases of abuse we might see down the road.”
“We hope to get our sex abuse/safety program in Hamilton County schools through these funds,” Raeburn said. “These dollars will provide schools and youth-serving agencies with prevention they couldn’t otherwise be able to pay for.”
The Cherish Center also provides child forensic interviews when there is an allegation of abuse, working directly with the Dept. of Child Services and law enforcement to coordinate investigations.
Even though the center is based in Hamilton County, it also supplies services to underserved counties such as Hancock, Tipton and Madison and for organizations that don’t have after-hours staff, Raeburn said.
Bullying prevention is another program being funded by the grant. The Cherish Center will have reached more than 3,500 students and 300 staff with the bullying prevention program in September and October as part of education requirements mandated by the new bullying prevention law, with a goal of reaching 15,000.
For more information on The Cherish Center’s programs and services, visit www.cherishcenter.org or call 773-3275.