On August 9th and August 10th at Skydive Skyranch in Siloam Springs, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County will host their 5th annual SkyDive for Kids fundraising event, launching a record-setting 40 community supporters into the skies of Northwest Arkansas. Each sky diver has committed to raising a minimum of $1,000 with all proceeds of the event benefiting the Children’s Advocacy Center in support of victims of child abuse. Community members are welcome to bring a lawn chair and enjoy a $5 lunch along with entertainment from the School of Rock Bentonville/Rogers as each of the 40 jumpers makes the climb to 10,000 feet. The first jumper will begin their ascent at 9:00 a.m. on each day with the final faith leaper landing on solid ground by 5 p.m. For additional information about the event, please visit www.cacbentonco.com or call 479-621-0385.
The purpose of the Children’s Advocacy Center is to provide a safe place for child abuse victims and their families to receive comprehensive services from dedicated professional interviewers, nurses, counselors and advocates in a child-friendly atmosphere through a coordinated team approach as well as provide education to the community. In 2013, the CAC opened 646 cases of suspected child abuse; conducted 625 forensic interviews; performed 149 forensic medical exams, provided 1,513 counseling sessions to children and their families (43% increase) and facilitated 38 training and education events to 1,300 people. Besides these initial services, over 75 children a week came to the CAC for counseling, totaling over 100 children a week who entered the doors for services, along with their families and siblings. All services are provided at no charge to the family.
Statistics show that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will experience some form of sexual abuse by the time they are 18. The CAC has seen over 6,000 children since opening in January 2000. Since that time prosecution of child abuse cases has increased over 2,000 percent.
Beverly Engle, CAC’s Executive Director, shares why she decided to face her fear of heights and participate in last year’s event: “Driving home after the first day of sky diving on Saturday, I was thinking about the faces of 3 children who had been at our CAC for a case on Thursday evening that week. They certainly were going to need counseling and we had already overextended our mental health budget by thousands due to the extensive need. I thought ‘if these kids face their fears everyday in the abuse they have experienced, I can face my fear and jump and raise money for their counseling.’ The decision was made, I came to my office and sent out some emails and raised $1,500. I so enjoyed the experience. It was incredible and I knew my jump would be empowering these children to find their voice. It did make a difference.”
Several CAC staff and Board members have participated in this event in previous years and will do so again this year. They, like so many in the community, have chosen to give children back their childhood by encouraging others to join the cause of eliminating child abuse.
For more information about the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County or to make a donation to this event, please contact Jolana Aibangbee, Development Director, at (479) 621-0385 or visit www.cacbentonco.com.