Sharing the love: Helping abused, neglected children
Published 10:38 am Thursday, March 12, 2015
The Dragonfly House Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) hosted its 5th Annual Share the Love fundraiser on Feb. 13 at WinMock in Kinderton.
The fundraiser took in around $27,000, benefiting the center, which will serve around 400 local children this year with services to help them through the process after child abuse is reported or disclosed.
Upon arrival, guests browsed and bid on the nearly 100 auction items, enjoyed the band Southern Thunder, and watched local artist Chip Holton paint a landscape, which was later sold at auction. Afterwards, they enjoyed a dinner by Benita Finney, awards, the keynote speaker and live auction. Emcee was Mocksville Police Det. Lt. Patrick Reagan.
“This was a night to remember,” said Brandi Reagan, executive director of The Dragonfly House. “Our agency is so thankful for all of the support from the community. We are not able to help all the children who need our services without your support. Thank you.”
After dinner, Reagan presented two awards.
The first was for Multi-Disciplinary Team Member of the Year. This is the first time this award has been given, and was awarded to Kathy Hitchcock, child protective services program administrator for Davidson County Department of Social Services and a member of the board of directors at The Dragonfly House.
“Kathy has been involved since our beginning,” said Reagan. “She rarely misses any meetings and has always provided us with the most input and feedback on cases. She is truly a team player and much appreciated.”
The Multi-Disciplinary Team is the foundation of the CAC model. It is the group of professionals who represent disciplines working together from the point of the first report until the case is closed to ensure the most effective, coordinated response possible for every child. The CAC couldn’t function without the team members doing their part and working together for the sake of the child, she said.
The other award was for Volunteer of the Year. This was given to Daughn Eagan who volunteers each week as a nurse, assisting in the medical exams and doing any other duties needed.
“She is a workhorse,” said Reagan. “We are so fortunate to have such a talented, hard worker who truly cares about these kids.”
Melissa Rollins with Daniel Furniture announced the winners of the Chairs of Hope, a collaboration with the Davie County Arts Council. First place went to the “Tree of Hope” painted by Melissa Avent. Second place went to Susan Bostian for “Safari” and Carl Bishop’s “We Deliver” placed third.
“The Chairs of Hope was a beautiful addition to the event,” said Reagan. “We are so thankful for the artists, Daniel Furniture and the Davie County Arts Council for thinking of The Dragonfly House for this project. It definitely brought new attendees to the event, and was a great collaboration. We hope to do it again next year.”
The highlight of the evening was guest speaker, Erin Merryn, author of “Stolen Innocence,” “Living for Today” and “An Unimaginable Act,” her memoirs.
Merryn was named Glamour Magazine’s 2012 Woman of the Year and People Magazine honored her as Heroes Among Us in April 2013 as well as one of 15 women changing the world in the June 2014 issue. She has made numerous media appearances from Oprah, to Good Morning America, and more.
She is devoting her life to helping children break their silence. In 2010 she became the force behind Erin’s Law, a law requiring public schools to teach children on age appropriate sexual abuse prevention curriculum. She has traveled the country pushing for this law to be passed in all 50 states. Currently, it is law in 20 states, and is up for consideration in North Carolina.
Merryn gave a powerful testimony, reminding attendees of the purpose, raising much needed funds for The Dragonfly House to help children like she once was. She spoke about how a CAC saved her life, and why it is so important to the children to have such a safe haven for talking about the things that are hardest to talk about. After her speech and the live auction, she autographed books.
Jon Manring was the live auctioneer. Some items included trips to Emerald Isle, Myrtle Beach, a quail hunt, photography session, a chair, a suite at the Winston-Salem Dash, the Chip Holton painting, and the winning chair, “Tree of Hope”.
Photographs will be made available for purchase on The Dragonfly House’s website, with proceeds benefiting the agency. J
The Share the Love event is the largest fundraiser for The Dragonfly House, which has served more than 1,500 children since opening in October of 2010. The nationally accredited non-profit organization has experienced a reduction in funding over the past few years while having an increase in the number of children needing to be served. The organization has a 45 percent increase in the number of children from this time last year.At this rate, the CAC will see well more than 400 local kids this year.
“Fundraisers like this one are essential to cover the expenses of programs provided and other operational costs of the CAC, which is primarily grant funded,” Reagan said.
Services provided include: forensic interviews, child abuse medical examinations, child and court advocacy, mental health treatment, coordinated case review and community education. The Dragonfly House serves children from birth to 17 in Davie, Davidson, Yadkin and surrounding counties for neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse or witness to violence. All services are free and confidential.
“The staff and committee would like to thank all of the businesses and individuals who support us by sponsoring the event, donating items or just coming out,” said Reagan. “We could not do all the things we do for these children without fundraisers like this, and without the support of our community.”
For a list of sponsors or more information, visit www.thedragonflyhouse.com or contact Sheila Smith at 753-6155 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Contributions are appreciated anytime, and can be made online through the website or by mail. The Dragonfly House is a Davie County United Way Partner Agency.