Dragonfly House breaks ground on new home
Published 8:54 am Thursday, April 27, 2017
Tell Brandi Reagan it can’t be done, then sit back and watch her quietly go to work.
That’s what Rob Taylor, Assistant District Attorney for the 22nd District, did some eight years ago. She had come to him with the idea of bringing all agencies together to establish a children’s advocacy center. Law enforcement, social services, schools, the district attorney’s office and more would be involved.
Taylor laughed. He thought it couldn’t be done, and he warned her what could happen. At the first meeting, one of the players walked out of the room.
“She was not to be deterred,” Taylor said. “It did not even slow her down. She said she would do the groundwork if I would be the voice.”
The Dragonfly House Children’s Advocacy Center was born, and earlier this month held a groundbreaking for it’s new 6,000-square-foot home off Valley Road in Mocksville.
It serves children who are victims of crimes and abuse, giving them one safe and child friendly place to be interviewed in a non-leading way by trained professionals. No more multiple interviews with agencies that don’t always share information.
The numbers are staggering, Taylor told the crowd gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony. More than 700,000 children are the victims of abuse every year, and that’s just the ones that are reported. One in four girls will be a victim of sexual abuse. One in six boys will be victim.
The children were treated the same nationwide until 1985, when an innovative program started to bring those agencies together. It was the story of that program that caught Reagan’s eye. She was working for Davie Domestic Violence Services/Rape Crisis Center at the time.
She convinced those agencies it was the right thing to do, and secured grants to get it rolling. The first child was served in October, 2010. Three months in, and they had served more children than they had anticipated in the first year. More than 2,400 children have been served.
“It’s not a place we wanted, it’s an absolute necessity,” Taylor said. “They have highly professional, difficult work to do. We have simply outgrown our facility.”
Taylor heads the Dragonfly House multi-disciplinary team.
Davidson County Sheriff’s Lt. Cory Mann is vice chair of the Dragonfly House board, said he is often how he can work on child sex crimes. “How can I not?” is his reply. “How can I not be there for these kids and these families?”
“I’m impressed and in awe of what the Dragonfly House does. We can be the support to get these kids back up to the mountain peak.”
Marlene Shamel, honorary chair of the capital campaign to help pay for the new center, said she and husband Joe decided it would be the perfect way to honor the memory of her late mother, Belle Boger.
“The work is truly a blessed asset,” Shamel said. “Join hands, as it takes a community to end child abuse. Walk hand in hand with others as we fill a need helping child abuse victims.”
The ceremony included prayers by Dana Fruits and the Rev. Joseph Gary, the National Anthem by the Davie High Women’s Vocal Ensemble, and remarks from Mike Fenley on behalf of Sen. Richard Burr, Mocksville Mayor Will Marklin and Brad Chapman of Davie Construction.
“You are serving the most innocent of all crime victims,” Fenley said, reading from a letter from Sen. Burr. “You make a very real difference in their lives.”
“This community is blessed to have this service,” Fenley said.