by Faith Boehmer, Prevention/Volunteer Coordinator
Therapy Dogs and their handler’s often visit us at the Child Advocacy Center. The dogs bring a sense of calmness to our children and their families while they are waiting for the Forensic Interview to take place. A young girl around seven years old was excited to meet Tigger, one of the volunteer therapy dogs that come to the CAC. After the Forensic Interview process was completed she was given the opportunity to pick out a comfort blanket, made by community volunteers, to take home with her. She immediately chose one with a dog pattern and stated “this will remind me of the dog who helped me today.”
Such simple acts of kindness—that take little time to make—can make a child go from feeling very overwhelmed and anxious to feeling a sense of “comfort.” And indeed that is what we try to do for our children and their families that come to the Child Advocacy Center. The circumstances that lead them to having to visit us at the CAC are tragic enough so we make every effort to provide a safe and pleasant environment for them, hopefully reducing some of the anxiety and pain they may be suffering. Our hope is to bring some hope to them while they are here. The comfort blankets that are made by people in our community are given to each child as they leave following their interview, and also to any siblings that attended with them. The staff wants the blankets to bring a sense of hope and comfort to them as they continue to find healing.
As Fall begins to find its way to us in the next weeks, many of you may look for a way to do something for those in our community who are hurting and need to be comforted. Book Clubs, Social Clubs, School Clubs, as well as Church organizations begin to meet again on a regular basis. Your group may be looking for a way to give back to the community in a tangible way. We would love to talk to you about your interest and see if there is a way that we can partner with you.
When individuals or groups make the blankets, they do not have the opportunity to meet the child that will eventually receive it however the impact of that gift is seen time and time again by our Victim Family Advocate who assists the child in selecting a blanket to take with them. One young man after receiving his blanket at the CAC stated “I did not get to pack my things up when I moved to my new house. Please thank your friends for MY blanket.”
For more information about how you or a group may become involved with the CAC to provide comfort blankets or other necessities for the children who pass through our doors please contact Faith Boehmer, Prevention/Volunteer Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (910) 486-9700.