Still time to ‘Chip for Children’

The Sampson County Child Advocacy Center is holding a golf tournament at the end of this week in an effort to raise funds for the newly-formed facility — and there is still time to sign up for the center’s first-ever fundraising event.

The “Chipping for Children” 4-Man Super Ball Golf Tournament will be held this Friday, May 1, with a 9 a.m. tee time at Timberlake Golf Course.

“We have room for additional teams to sign up,” CAC director Shannon Blanchard said Tuesday. “We have Go Toyota giving away a car for every person that gets a Hole in One on a Par 3. Hopefully this may entice others to join us.”

All proceeds will benefit the county’s new safe haven for abused children.

A neutral place for those children, the Sampson County Child Advocacy Center has as its mission being to minimize trauma to victims of sexual and physical abuse and their non-offending family members by providing a centralized, safe and child-friendly facility. It is still in the process of establishing itself, and local officials are calling for the community’s help.

“This is our first fundraiser,” Blanchard said. “Child Advocacy Centers can be grant-funded but grants don’t last forever so you really want your Child Advocacy Center to be community-supported and funded. That’s why we will have several fundraisers every year to raise money to sustain a Child Advocacy Center here in the event that grants don’t go through. They don’t go through every year.”

The county previously received a Governors Crime Commission grant in the amount of $44,612, but the center only receives those funds once they are expended.

“The CAC needs funds in place,” Blanchard explained. “The grant we received was a reimbursement grant so we can’t receive that money until we spend that money, and we can’t spend money that we don’t have. All the proceeds will benefit the Child Advocacy Center. There are several things that we have to get to provide services, but there’s nothing specific that we’re looking to raise money for other than seed money to help get this center up and running even more.”

The importance of such a center cannot be understated, Blanchard and other local child advocates said.

The trauma a young victim of abuse suffers is only compounded when that child has to relive those experiences to multiple strangers and does not have a place to go where people care, listen and provide the reassurance needed to get them through difficult times, Blanchard said.

“All of those people that would typically interview that child for their records, that is what we’re trying to cut down,” said Blanchard. “We want one child, one place, one time. That’s it. All the professionals there have witnessed the exact same interview and the information they have is the same, so when they go to court there is consistency throughout the case.”

That helps in prosecuting cases and bringing those responsible to justice, and updated equipment would only improve and expedite the method by which those interviews are conducted.

The Sampson CAC has opened its offices within the Social Services building and Blanchard said efforts to outfit the space have been ongoing. Raising money to outfit the center to best accommodate young victims is the goal.

“This will be our first of many fundraisers,” Blanchard said.

The cost per team is $240, with prizes including $500 for first, $250 for second and $150 for third.

For more information, contact Blanchard at 910-592-4200 ext. 3318 or email her at [email protected] Checks can be made payable to Sampson County Child Advocacy Center. To learn about the CAC, visit the “Sampson County Child Advocacy Center” page on Facebook.