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Center needs items for teens

Teddy bears abound at the Children's Advocacy Center in Medford, but organizers say not all sex abuse victims are tiny.

In fact, nearly 40 percent of the children served by the center this year are ages 13 to 18, a population underserved by area social service programs and often unappealing to donors.

You can see it's little kids' stuff, says director Jane Hamilton, pausing at a table of donated toys and games. The teens really aren't there.

But many of the teens are like the 17-year-old Medford girl who endured a dozen years of sexual abuse by her father.

As in many cases, her recent disclosure of abuse broke up the family, creating economic hardship.

It sends the breadwinner away, explains Hamilton.

This girl, and many others, now find that basic hygiene supplies are in short supply. There's no money for shampoo, soap, razors.

Little luxuries ' bath gels, lotions, journals, gel pens ' are unheard of.

Therapist Toni Richmond, who works with the teen victims, says tangible tokens of caring are welcome for victims who struggle for years to rebuild their self-esteem.

Local donors can also offer gift certificates or cash contributions. For information, contact the Children's Advocacy Center, 816 W. 10th St., Medford. Call 734-5437.

Light One Candle is an annual Mail Tribune feature that focuses on the need of a single person, organization or agency during the holidays. For more information, call reporter JoNel Aleccia at 776-4465 or e-mail her at