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Many faces behind the CAC

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of overcoming it.”

— Helen Keller

A couple of weeks ago, my friend John treated me to a fundraising lunch where he and his friend Donna had hosted a table. The aim was to raise awareness and money for the Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County. It was called, Cherish a Child.

The location was Inn at the Commons in Medford. I wasn’t sure about going. John would likely be the only person I knew there, and while not exactly shy, I thought I might be outside my usual elements of a sofa, laptop and one snoring cat.

OK, that’s when I’m working. Other times I can be the internal life of the party, making quips and taking notes. I mean, I’m just not big on formal luncheons, sitting in a circle of strangers while trying to eat without plastering a spinach leaf to my tooth. This has happened to me once too often in public, but this event was not about me or my comfort level. The money generated would come to the rescue of abused children in Jackson County.

Child abuse is a growing problem. The abuse often comes from those closest to the child, those who should love and care for them best. These little ones are entirely vulnerable and duped by false motives, which may taint their lives forever. Fortunately, we have an army of individuals in all walks of life who give of their time and resources to help abuse victims work through trauma and return to childhood.

CAC comes alongside, reducing stress inside a confused child by offering child-friendly services within one comfortable and homey location. No more police stations, doctor offices, courtrooms, etc. All services may be conducted in a comfortable atmosphere, fully stocked with toys, games and people whose concern is true. They currently have a need to employ a nurse practitioner.

In 1995, CAC expanded to its present location in the historic Reames building. Since then, there have been two major expansions. The CAC plan is to identify the issues (adult education classes are available through the agency), stop the abuse, prosecute abusers and heal families. With the concerted efforts of hundreds of businesses and individuals, youngsters are able to heal instead of laboring under lifelong questions and burdens of guilt and shame. 

So, of course, I went. The large conference room was packed with community leaders and everyday Joes like me.

They served a delicious plate of chicken and veggies. Meanwhile, John eyed the platter of sweets. We dug in as the CAC folks began their presentation. As they went along, citing statistics, I noticed the gusto with which we fed our faces waning. It proved difficult to enjoy a meal while hearing about the trials these innocent children endured.

Then there was the testimony from a formerly abused woman — a grown victim who hadn’t had access to the types of services available through the Children’s Advocacy Center. She received a lengthy and well-deserved standing ovation for having the guts to share her story with us.

And I worried about spinach?

Most of us already had our checks made out and stuffed inside the donor envelope. It was painless giving. But what impressed me most was what I discovered when preparing this article. I visited the CAC website and clicked on the donor tab. There was a long, long list. Many of the names stood out as historically generous people and businesses. The thing is, many are people with higher-than-average incomes, sharing their wealth and powering great causes, while others just want to be part of the solution in whatever way they are able.

We are fortunate to live in a place with many such individuals.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer living in Eagle Point. Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com.