Champions of the Children's Safety Center of Washington County gathered for breakfast or a luncheon Feb. 21 at the Fayetteville Public Library for the seventh annual Handprints for Hope event. Guests at the two events helped raise more than $47,000 to help support the center's programs.
The center is a child-friendly environment 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," organizers say.
The walls of the center in Springdale are covered with handprints put there by each child who comes to the center -- along with footprints made by infants. "Our handprints are central to the mission of the CSC to empower children to overcome abuse and begin to trust, hope and heal," Elizabeth Shackelford, executive director, told those at the luncheon. Handprints and footprints on the walls of the existing location will be transferred to a canvas of the child's choosing when the nonprofit organization moves to a new location in the coming months.
"We like to think of our community, multiple disciplinary partners and all our donors as the hearts behind the handprints. All of you make it possible to serve the children of Washington County.
"That is how we developed the Helping Hand Awards to recognize outstanding community members, partners and volunteers."
The 2023 Helping Hand Award honorees were:
Riffraff & City Supply -- Outstanding Business;
Fayetteville Junior Civic League -- Outstanding Organization;
Sgt. Bobby Hammontree, Springdale Police Department -- Outstanding MDT partner; and
Kirby Jett -- Chris Thornton Sidekick Award.
Bentonville Garden Club
That evening, Bentonville Garden Club welcomed revelers for their Mardi Gras celebration at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers.
Proceeds from the evening will go toward the University of Arkansas horticulture scholarships the club awards annually.
The group also supports the Arkansas State Flower Show, Habitat for Humanity, Heifer Project, Nature Conservatory, Arbor Day Program, National Garden Club Week and garden book donations to the Bentonville Public Library.
Those making merry for Mardi Gras included Cynthia Coughlin, Sharon Abide, Deborah and Jim Reynolds, Linda Stiles, Judy Phillips, Debbie Evans, Laurice Hachem-Roberts and Keith Roberts, Ellis Ellis, Carol and Ed Clifford, Melody Martens, Lisa Lockwood, Jessica Gray, Kathy Muldoon, Tami and Darin Gray, Katie and Rodney Redman, Teri and Gary Head, Scarlett and Neff Basore, Ashley and Chad Goss, Annie and Joe Blake, Celia Swanson, Robbie and Troy Musson and Pamm and Paul Prebil.
For more event photos -- nwadg.com/photos/society.
Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected].