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MailTribune.com
  • Applications pile up to replace Children's Advocacy Center boss

  • The Children's Advocacy Center of Jackson County is continuing a nationwide search for a new director following the recent resignation of Executive Directorn Marlene Mish.
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  • The Children's Advocacy Center of Jackson County is continuing a nationwide search for a new director following the recent resignation of Executive Directorn Marlene Mish.
    Mish stepped down from her position on June 19. Board President Charlie Baggett said his desk is covered with resumes from applicants who reside in Jackson County, across the state and around the nation.
    Baggett praised Mish's legacy during her seven years at the helm of the center, which has provided services to more than 5,000 children who were seen for concerns of sexual and physical abuse.
    It will be difficult to fill Mish's shoes at the center, Baggett said.
    "Marlene has been nothing short of a rock star," Baggett said. "She has set the bar very, very high."
    Mish expanded the mentoring program provided by CAC for clients who have come through the center. She became the first person in Southern Oregon qualified to train Darkness to Light instructors for the Stewards of Children program, Baggett said.
    Mish did not return calls from the Mail Tribune. But in her exit letter to the board and its advisory council, Mish said the job was "the toughest assignment of her life."
    "I set out to do certain things that spoke to my heart, and I believe that those things are my legacy in the history of the center," she wrote.
    Baggett said Mish would continue her role at the center in a program called Darkness to Light by training instructors who will, in turn, educate adults to recognize signs of child abuse and to know how to respond when abuse is suspected.
    "I maintain my philosophy that our children have not done anything wrong, and we should not fear letting them shine in the light of day," Mish said.
    "Too much happened to them in darkness, and I will always believe that the most important path to healing is empowerment and competence."
    Mish praised donors large and small, who have "invested unwaveringly in the promise of a different life for our children."
    "This job humbles you when you realize the enormous responsibility that comes with the awareness of what happens to our children."
    CAC also welcomed a new chief medical officer, Dr. Natalya Miller, a Medford pediatrician who was formerly with Community Health Center.
    Miller will take over for Dr. Kerri Hecox, who joined the center in 2008. Hecox resigned in February and continued working through June, helping Miller with local child-abuse victims. The specially trained physicians use noninvasive techniques in CAC's homelike setting, she said.
    Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or sspecht@mailtribune.com.
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