When did you first get involved with CCFI?
Not soon enough! In 2012, I was asked to serve on the Board of Directors and then had the privilege of serving as the co-chairman for the Capital Campaign for the purchase and renovation of the existing CCFI and Boys & Girls Club facility.
Why were you moved to join CCFI as a Board Member?
I did some research about the statistics that pertained to the number of children that were abused and neglected in Cleveland County and after internalizing the results of this search, I had many sleepless nights because my heart was hurting for these children. These were children that lived within 30 miles of my home. I felt helpless and actually felt a little bit guilty and shameful that I had not done anything to help them in the past. For a brief moment, I allowed myself to imagine the lives of these helpless children and was quickly reminded of the horrific experiences in their lives. I, personally, was blessed to be born into a family with five children and each of us were loved and nurtured.
As a former teacher with a school counseling certification, I am aware of the emotional, physical and sexual abuse that our children suffer from. We have children in our community who are homeless and who witness family violence and abuse. They have a lack of emotional and social support and rarely receive hugs or encouraging words. Their physical and emotional health is fragile. Many of them are exposed to social pollution and drug and alcohol abuse. They often lack adequate supervision and food. They have a low self-esteem and are depressed or aggressive. They have sleep disturbances and feelings of abandonment. All of the above mentioned factors create a foundation of insecurity and lead to educational challenges and delays. This in turn causes our children to not be productive citizens in our community and many become unemployed, turn to crime or become the abuser of their own children. I believe that if we financially invest in care of our young children, we can actually differ costs of future unemployment, court expenses and incarceration so we can put more money into health and education.
What do you feel is the biggest impact CCFI has made on the community?
CCFI provides public awareness about the subject of child abuse and neglect. They raise money to make a positive and personal impact in the lives of hundreds of children and families. They are an advocate for children of divorced parents, teenage parents, parents who suffer from addiction and poverty, the homeless, single parents etc. CCFI makes our world better!
What would you like to say to encourage others to get involved with CCFI, whether by donating or volunteering?
Investing in CCFI allows me to have peace of mind that traumatized children will receive love, time, support, food, and a positive direction so they can change their lives. CCFI helps our children realize their full potential and provides an environment that is both safe and encouraging. Our children are the next chapter of our community!