Children's Safety Center of Washington County backers gathered for the 11th annual Founders Crawfish Boil on June 5 in the parking lot of First National Bank of Northwest Arkansas in Fayetteville. The outdoor event helped the nonprofit organization exceed its fundraising goal by bringing in more than $16,000 to help support clients and their families. The group who launched the event 11 years ago, the "Founders," are Reggie Sanders, Courtney Silkwood, Jeremy Treat, Kendrick Williams, Shane Hevelone, Brent Courtney, Dan Arrington, Jeff DeVore, Gregg McMullen and Jeff Pederson.
"The Children's Safety Center of Washington County (CSC) empowers children to overcome abuse and begin to trust, hope and heal," according to center leaders. "We do this in a child-friendly environment by providing child advocacy, forensic interviewing, forensic medical exams, mental health therapy and child abuse prevention and education training. The CSC also brings together teams of professionals, which include the vital resources of law enforcement, child protective services, victim service providers, prosecutors, medical personnel, and community volunteers using a multidisciplinary team approach. All our programs are free to child victims and non-offending family members."
Center leaders announced in April plans to move from the current location in downtown Springdale to a facility to be built on Gene George Boulevard in Springdale off Don Tyson Parkway.
"A larger, dedicated working space will enable us to expand our programs to ensure that no matter how fast Washington County grows, our new home will provide every child access to the critical services they need to heal."
Next up for the group is the Virtual Dream Big Charity Gala on July 16 via Facebook Live and YouTube.
Organizers say: "Let the show go on! We hope you can join us live for our annual signature fundraising event, the 14th annual Dream Big Charity Gala, presented by Johnson & Johnson. ...We're going virtual again this year with production by Deepwood Media. Live from Prairie Street Live." The live feed will begin with a pre-program reel at 6:45 p.m. with the main event beginning at 7 p.m.
The event will feature live music from Boom! Kinetic presented by Arvest Bank, an online silent auction, a short program, and "if the donations are high enough, you will see some familiar faces get a pie in the face." Online bidding opens July 1 and will close at 10 p.m. July 16. Scott McCall, chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S., will serve as this year's honorary chairman. A link for registration and silent auction bidding can be found at: childrenssafetycenter.org/dream-big
Those catching crawfish and conversation with Children's Safety Center included Courtney Silkwood, Tanya Mims, Heath Ecklund, Gregory McMullen, Jason Hughes, Reggie Sanders, Jeremy Treat, Kendrick Williams, Debbie Hunter, Cheryl Mendham, Brantley Wright, Will Sonneman, Alice Rappe, Sandy Fisher, Jasmin Beauchamp, Troy Griffin, Brittany Chase, Shane Hevelone, Emily and Chad Fisher, Darrel Lindabury, John Mullins, David Erstine, Peyton Stewman and Elizabeth Shackelford, executive director.
If you suspect abuse or a child discloses to you, call the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline 844.SAVE.A.CHILD (844-728-3224). For more information or other ways to help the Children's Safety Center, visit www.childrenssafetycenter.org
For more event photos -- nwadg.com/photos/society.
Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected]
At a Glance
Founders Crawfish Boil
Who: Children’s Safety Center of Washington County
What: The 11th annual benefit and backers helped the group net more than $16,000.
When: June 5
Where: First National Bank of NWA in Fayetteville
Next: Virtual Dream Big Charity Gala on July 16
Information: (479) 872-6183 or childrenssafetycenter.org