I was so happy to be able to return to the Children’s Safety Center as a Chamber Champion last week to continue a project I had helped them start last year. In 2016, I had helped them sort through thousands of files of the children they assist, and I pulled the older ones so they may be scanned. Today I got to scan some of those files, so that the staff at the Children’s Safety Center could focus on the difficult job they do every day.
When you walk into the Children’s Safety Center in Springdale, the first thing you see are thousands of colorful hand prints. Since 1997, the Children’s Safety Center has been a safe haven for abused children in Northwest Arkansas. They provide a more comfortable environment for interviews, medical exams, and counseling for children who are physically and sexually abused. Every child they help gets to put their hand print on the wall. There are still too many hand prints.
The average age of their client is 9 years old. On average, it costs more than $1,600 for each child the CSC serves. All of the services at the CSC are provided free of charge. The Center depends on donations to help them support these children. They also have several events throughout the year to help support their efforts, including the Founder’s Crawfish Boil, Dream Big, and the Christmas Train.
Just like last year, I was greeted with words of thanks from the staff. I thought, “I should be the one thanking them!” All I was doing that day was scanning files. They go to work everyday prepared to hear things that most people don’t ever have to think about, and they do it with grace and compassion for each of the children they help.
While I was scanning, I had the opportunity to observe the staff helping a child. I cannot express to you how wonderful the team treats each child who walks through the door. First, they make a point to make the children feel safe, often repeating that they are not in trouble, to create a sense of comfort. Then they take the time to get to know the child, asking about friends or pets or hobbies. By the end of the visit, the child was playing a game with one of the CSC team while waiting for the interview to be complete. The child left with more than snacks and a smile… that child knows that they are going to be taken care of, and now has a place to go to that is filled with trust, warmth, and love.
For more information about the Children’s Safety Center, or to donate or volunteer, please contact Emily at 479-872-6183.
Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce