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COMMUNITY MATTERS: April is Child Abuse Awareness & Prevention Month

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Our community is fortunate to have two exceptional non-profit organizations that serve victims of child abuse — the Child Advocacy Center and The Family Center. They also offer important programs that focus on prevention and education.

The Child Advocacy Center of Rutherford and Cannon Counties serves victims of child abuse, child sexual abuse and drug-endangered children, along with their non-offending family members. In the last 14 years, the Child Protective Investigative Team has investigated and prosecuted 9,665 child abuse cases and assisted over 13,500 individuals. The Department of Children’s Services protects children, law enforcement arrests perpetrators, the District Attorney’s Office prosecutes offenders, while the Child Advocacy Center helps children and families heal from the trauma.
What Can You Do? The Child Advocacy Center trains adults how to protect children from child sexual abuse utilizing the “Darkness to Light” curriculum. In the last two years more than 2,300 parents, grandparents and professionals have been trained. Contact the CAC at (615) 867-9000 (in Murfreesboro) or (615) 563-9915 (in Woodbury) to bring this free training to your organization.

To report suspected child abuse: Call the Department of Children’s Services at 1-877-237-0004.

Upcoming Events Supporting the Child Advocacy Center:
• Derby Party on Saturday, May 3 at 2 p.m. at Five Senses Restaurant. It will be a derby-style party complete with entertainment, dancing, drinks, and hors d’oeuvres. At 5:24 p.m., guests will have an opportunity to watch the Kentucky Derby.  www.boroderbyparty.eventbrite.com

• Duck Derby on Saturday, May 17 at SportsCom. The Rutherford Parent Spring Kids Fest will be held from 11:00 a.m.–4 p.m., ducks will be raced beginning at 1 p.m., with the winner’s race at 4:04 p.m. The first 10 ducks to cross the finish line will win prizes, with a grand prize of $5,000! To adopt ducks, volunteer, or for more information visit www.boroduckderby.com. To volunteer, go to www.SignUpGenius.com/go/8050D4C A5AD2EAB9-duck.

The Family Center is a private, nonprofit child abuse prevention agency that provides services for families and children who are living in abusive or potentially abusive situations. The Family Center is a licensed Tennessee Child Abuse Prevention Agency, a member of the National Parent Aide Network, and a Certified Divorcing Parenting Agency. The center has earned the highest level of accreditation, AAA, from the National Exchange Club Foundation.
Child abuse can be prevented, and that is the focus of The Family Center programming.  The greatest impact can be made by investing in proven programming that stops children from being hurt in the first place. The Family Center provides research-based parent education to vulnerable parents who struggle with substance abuse and incarceration, and also provides classes to the general community. Both monetary donations and donations of interactive toys, books, and games can help support these programs.

What Can You Do?  
The Family Center is currently in need of the following donations to support their programs:
• Wal-Mart, Kroger, Staples, Michaels, Target, and Papa John’s gift cards
• Household supplies like paper towels, toilet paper, Kleenex, Clorox Wipes, and 13-gallon trash bags
• Class supplies such as pens, dry erase markers, dry erasers or dry erase board wipes, large sticky 3M pads, multi-purpose white paper, and candy
• Carmike and Regal Cinemas, Adventure Science Center, and other entertainment type passes to use as prizes for clients, staff appreciation or in fundraisers
For more information, visit their website at www.familycentertn.org. The Family Center is located in Murfreesboro at 115 Heritage Park Dr.. You can contact them at (615) 890-4673.

In Other Community News:
Project Help now the Ann Campbell Early (ACE) Learning Center
To celebrate the renaming of Project Help, the community is invited to a dedication ceremony and reception on Friday, April 25 from 4-6 p.m. Guests will be able to tour the facility and see the unveiling of the new sign.

What Can You Do?
The ACE Learning Center is currently in need of the following donations to support their programs:
• Crib sheets and blankets (15 of each)
• Velcro rolls
• Gluesticks
• Playdough
The ACE Learning Center is located at 206 N. Baird Lane in Murfreesboro. For more information, please visit their website at www.mtsu.edu/projecthelp or call Kerry Boylan at (615) 898-2458.

Long Term Care Ombudsman Program
Volunteer Ombudsman Representatives (VORs) are needed to visit an assigned nursing home, assisted living or home for the aged once a week to meet residents, listen to their concerns, tour the facility and help the Ombudsman identify and address complaints about violations of resident rights, substandard care and conditions in the facility that negatively impact the quality of life for residents. Volunteers will be trained and certified as volunteer ombudsman representatives and will be assigned a facility near the volunteer’s home. The next VOR Training is May 14-15. For more information on volunteering contact Volunteer Coordinator, Pati Bedwell, at  (615) 452-1687 or PBedwell@mchra.com.  You can read more about the Ombudsman Program on our website at www.mchra.com/Ombudsman.

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abuse, child, community matters, duck derby, kristina brown, prevention
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