The Children’s Center Blue Ribbon Dinner is set for April 19 at the World Outreach Center. The annual event is the primary fundraiser for the agency whose mission is to protect children from sexual and other forms of abuse, and to provide comprehensive, compassionate treatment for victims and their families when abuse occurs.
It is also a premier social event, providing an excellent dinner and first-class entertainment each year during Child Abuse Prevention month in April. This year’s edition features dinner by Lee Alexander of Charlie B’s, and guitarist/vocalist/recording artist Shane Adkins for the audience’s pleasure, courtesy of repeat sponsor Hometown Bank.
Tickets are $32 a plate or $250 for a table of 8. For tickets, see a Children’s Center board member or call the Children’s Center office at 274-7226. Door prizes will be offered, including a two-night stay for two at Birmingham’s Ross Bridge Resort. Another blockbuster: a round of golf for four, including lunch, at Greystone Golf and Country Club.Children’s Center director Jim Ed Clayton said the philosophy of the evening is to emphasize food and fun and first-class entertainment to provide a light, enjoyable evening, and to touch lightly on the organization’s mission and message.
The Blount Countian asked Clayton to answer two questions about the agency’s work. (1) What message would he most like to get across to people about child abuse? and (2) What is the main focus of expanding or enhancing the agency’s reach or effectiveness in the future?
To the first question, he answered:“The thing we struggle with most is making people understand that by far the greatest danger of child abuse comes from within – from within the child’s family, immediate and extended – and from within the child’s circle of trusted adults and friends: a youth leader, a scout leader, a coach, members of a step-family, and increasingly from a parent’s live-in companion or second family member or relative.”
To the second question on plans for the near future, he answered:“We want to extend our services further into the Hispanic community. If you don’t speak English, you may not understand that there are people trained and available at the Children’s Center to help victims of child abuse and their families.” He said that the center has added a bilingual staff member to support the home visit program for this purpose.
The center’s case load doubled in the four years from 2011 to 2014, Clayton said, from 89 to 180 and 2015 cases totaled 159. Clayton said the Blue Ribbon Dinner is the agency’s primary fundraiser, its estimated $30,000 proceeds contributing about 25 percent of the annual budget. Federal, state, and private grants and contributions make up the remainder, he said.