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KIDS Center’s Healing Hearts event inspired hundreds to help end child abuse

More than 600 people made a difference at the KIDS Center’s Healing Hearts event, held Tuesday, April 2, at Riverhouse on the Deschutes. This annual event is a key fundraiser for the KIDS Center and helps fund critical services for children and families affected by abuse.

Thanks to the generosity of the Central Oregon community, including 33 local sponsors and 602 participants, the KIDS Center raised just over $180,000. These funds will help the KIDS Center provide free child abuse assessments, family advocacy services and therapy to families.

NewsChannel 21 Chief Meteorologist John Carroll gave a warm introduction to the event. Guests were treated to musical performances by the Dove String Quartet and singers Charlene Chi, Shaylee Laemmle and Lucinda Mone.

This year’s Healing Hearts program focused on the KIDS Center’s forensic interview team. The nonprofit organization’s three highly trained forensic investigators explained how the interview is conducted to reduce the child’s trauma and promote healing. Guests learned how the KIDS Center’s dog, O’Malley, facilitates the forensic interview process by helping children feel calm and less anxious.

Guest speaker Stacy Neil, Assistant Deschutes County Prosecutor, explained how a child’s recorded forensic interview is crucial evidence if a child abuse case goes to court. Neil said: “We wouldn’t have the same success in holding offenders to account without the work they do at the KIDS Centre. »

Healing Hearts intentionally takes place in April each year, to align with National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This year’s Healing Hearts program ended with a call to everyone in the room to help end child abuse by completing child safety training. Rachel Visser, head of prevention education at the KIDS Center, highlighted three popular training courses: SafetyNet, Let’s Talk About It and Darkness to Light. These trainings are offered year-round, throughout Central Oregon as well as virtually. KIDS Center trainings are offered in English and Spanish and are free to the public. Visser said: “Educate yourself and you can help make the world safer for children.”

The 15th annual Healing Hearts was presented by Brooks Resourcews, Steele Associates Architects and Tennant Developments. The event was also supported by media sponsor NewsChannel 21 and venue sponsor Riverhouse on the Deschutes.

About the KIDS Center: Built by the community in 1994, KIDS Center is a local nonprofit organization leading our region’s response to child abuse. The KIDS Center is where hope and healing begins for children and families who have been victims of abuse. The KIDS Center provides independent child abuse assessments, therapy, and family advocacy services at no cost to families. Information about the KIDS Center can be found at: childcentre.org or by calling (541) 383-5958. Anyone concerned about the safety of a child can call the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline at: 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).