Last week on the blog I revealed the organization that we would be donating this month’s Cameo funds to, the Child Advocacy Center of Kelowna. After Team Jilly and I paid a visit to the CAC I knew right away that this is where the donation would be most impactful this month!
Today, I wanted to share a recap of our time spent at the Child Advocacy Centre of Kelowna and why this organization holds such a special place in my heart!
What is the Child Advocacy Center of Kelowna?
The CAC Kelowna is a child care and protection facility all under one roof, designed to accommodate a team of highly-skilled professionals who are empowered to collaborate on cases, take actions that prevent re-victimization, and support the child’s long-term well-being, as well as non-offending caregivers.
Since, this facility was founded on a very heartbreaking need, to help support children that have been abused. We were so happy to see a warm and welcoming design as we entered the CAC facility and all of the friendly staff members. After we chatted in the entrance for a while, Ginny, the Executive Director provided us with an extensive tour of the facility!
Our first stop on the tour of the facility was a rather sad one, the medical rooms. This area was particularly overwhelming for our team to experience. While this was one of the sad stops on our tour, the CAC’s goal is to examine all child abuse cases under one roof. Currently, some children in the interior health region are required to drive to Kamloops for a medical examination. These exams are very traumatic for children, which is why the CAC has created a mural in this space to help the ease of difficulty.
As soon as Ginny opened the doors to the playroom all of our eyes lit up with joy! The playroom was filled with beanbag chairs, toys of every kind a big beautiful custom puzzle by Jody Bruce Art AND a rock climbing wall.
Ginny then went on to explain to us what the backpack cupboard is which broke all of our hearts but inspired us to help at the same time! The backpack cupboard is filled with brand new backpacks. In each backpack, there is a pair of new pyjamas, a book, a toy, some essentials and a few other goodies. Some of the children that arrive at the CAC do not return home afterwards. The backpack cupboard was created so that these children do not have to leave the facility without essentials items and a few extra goodies to make them feel comfortable.
The work done under this one roof is emotionally taxing for everyone involved, the children, and all support staff. I was so happy to see that not only was the space thoughtfully designed for children but that there was also a quiet room for staff members to decompress along with a fully equipped gym.
Did you know?
People who have been abused are:
- 30% less likely to graduate high school
- 3-4 times more likely to have mental health and addiction issues
- 26 times more likely to experience homelessness
- 45 times more likely to perpetrate dating violence as adolescence
For the past few weeks, I have been trying to wrap my head around why a) this facility exists? and b) if it is happening in our community how do we bring child abuse to an end? After learning and speaking to experts in this field I understand that it all starts with awareness and exposure. Providing our community with the recourses and creating awareness that the Child Advocacy Center of Kelowna exists.
The Child Advocacy Center runs completely off of donations and a few grants from the government. If you are looking to help support the CAC here are some of the things that you can do!
How you can help the CAC
Well, there you have it! A recap of our time spent at the Child Advocacy Center of Kelowna! I am so thankful to Ginny and her team for taking the time to provide us with a tour and the information we need to help make a difference in our community!
Thank you for highlighting such an amazing and integral agency that is available to assist children and families during a very difficult and scary time in their lives. Agencies like these are crucial to prevent further trauma for children experiencing abuse and neglect. There are many other CAC/CYACs all across BC and I encourage everyone to see what is available in their city. Please consider donating as most CACs are not fully funded.