Although the work of The H.O.P.E. Center is very confidential in nature, each year the office makes some needs a little more known in order to help some of the families of children served put presents under the tree. The acronym stands for Health, Opportunity, Protection and Encouragement.
The center works with local courts and law enforcement to provide evidence in cases when an investigation into whether a child has been sexually abused is required. The center also provides counseling services to children who are recommended from these sources.
Each year the center designates of few families of clients who may struggle with having the resources to buy presents at Christmas time. Family advocate Kristen Lawson said the Bradley County office would be helping 25 children this year. Lawson stressed that even though only one child may have been to the CAC, the organization provides a gift for all the children in the family.
“We have added an event this year, too,” Lawson said.
A benefit concert hosted at Walker Valley High School will serve as a fundraiser for the organization’s Christmas project. The concert will feature local band Grace Asylum.
“It’s free admission, but they are taking donations, and all the proceeds with go to our center,” Lawson said.
Additional donations of money or new gifts can be made by calling the office.
Lawson said the office holds a Christmas party for the children featuring food, games and a craft.
Children are given one gift to open during the party. What they don’t know is while they are enjoying the festivities their parents are loading presents donated to the Children’s Advocacy Center for them to open on Christmas.
Lawson said donated items should not be wrapped before being donated, so staff can ensure they are age appropriate. Gifts are also left unwrapped to give the parents a chance to see what they are.
Lawson determines families of children served could use assistance through an assessment of the families’ situation or based or an expressed need.
For more information, contact Lawson at the Cleveland office at 790-5740.
The deadline for Christmas donations is Dec. 12.
Donations can be brought to the Bradley County office at 2600 Executive Park Drive N.W., Cleveland TN 37312. Lawson asked that donors call ahead. Monetary donations may also be mailed to the same address.
The Athens office of The center is holding a similar event for some of the children it serves. The Athens office can be reached at 744-0599.