CAC glad to be part of United Way

Published 10:12 pm Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Temeka Teague was unaware three years ago what her involvement with the Pike Regional Child Advocacy Center would bring. Now, nearing her fifth year with this United Way agency, her eyes have been opened.

“There is so much abuse that takes place around us that as a community we are oblivious to,” said Teague, the intervention director for the center, “I have a 16-month-old, and working here has brought much awareness to me as a parent.”

When Teague first arrived, the center was working on case number 200. Since then the center is roughly estimated to be on case number 1039. “We provide a child-friendly environment and services that these children would not have access to otherwise,” said Teague.

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The center serves the counties of Pike, Coffee, Barber, Bullock, and occasionally Crenshaw. Strictly a non-profit organization, the center relies on fundraisers, grants and donations such as those the United Way supplies.

“We as a staff really appreciate everything the United Way has done. We wouldn’t be able to run successfully without their continued support and dedication to our cause,” Teague said.

United Way gives approximately $1,800 to the center quarterly in a year. That amount does not go unnoticed among employees, as it helps support all the various services provided. Among these are counseling for abused children and parents courtesy of the Department of Human Resouces, assisting local law enforcement, prevention programs in the schools, and the Touch Back Touch program. These services provide trained professional counseling that may save children who are in a crisis situation.

“If it weren’t for the United Way we wouldn’t have the financial support to fund staff and the programs we provide. They touch a lot more lives than we can begin to imagine,” said Alice Arnold, director of the prevention programs.

The prevention programs offered in the school systems are for teacher and parent recommended children who they feel need the extra guidance or support to succeed.

The program covers a vast array of issues in a child’s life such as abuse, anger management and self-esteem. The children have weekly hour and half sessions in groups of the same age, customized to each situation at hand.

“Kids that feel like nobody cares suddenly have someone who cares,” Arnold said.

Along with the prevention program in the school systems, the Touch Back Touch program teaches a child what is appropriate and not appropriate behavior towards him.

“Most kids don’t realize to say no or don’t realize threats,” said Arnold. With this program, counselors teach children what exactly is right from wrong and to tell an adult about abuse.

If a counselor feels that a child should be referred for further assistance, they can do so and the Child Advocacy Center will provide further help.

Without these program these children’s resources are very limited and without the tremendous support of the United Way and others many children’s lives would go unnoticed, explained Arnold.

“The United Way provides a good source of donations to our cause and their help is vital to keeping this organization in service to our community and surrounding areas,” Teague said.