Hello, friends! Welcome to the last post here on The Gathered Home before Christmas, and, I feel, one of the most important posts of this entire year!
What a year it has been.
Maybe you guys have been feeling it lately, too. Despite all the bright lights, all the merry occupations and colorful ways to spend our time and money…
There it is, the dark undercurrent in the world around us. The unease. Fear. Hostility. Bitterness. Pain. Bubbling away under the surface, but slowly making its way upwards towards a geyser of all our worst selves.
We live in such a unique time, one where we are constantly inundated with breaking news, with tragedies at our fingertips, shattered hearts 140-characters at a time. We are privy to so much brokenness and injustice – the feeling of how incredibly not-right everything is can be overwhelming.
It isn’t politics. It isn’t any one recent world event. Things are just plain out of order, and I think perhaps we’re all feeling it a little more this season.
So what do we do in the middle of this theater of woe? Slump into discouragement? Or detachment?
Or throw ourselves into finding and making beauty, wherever we are?
The “Give Back” Blog Hop
So that’s what I decided to do, as we head into the holidays and get ready to kick off a brand new year!
Celebrate the good.
Shine a big, fat, spotlight on the beauty.
And invite you to join me in finding and making peace and good-will!
I asked nine other blogging friends to join me, and each one will be sharing a cause they are passionate about. I just love the hearts of these wonderful women and I’m so excited to hear each of their stories and rejoice in all the different ways there are to jump into action and use our various talents, interests, personalities and giftings to give back some of the blessings we have experienced!
I’m kicking off this blog hop today, so next up you’ll have the chance to visit Monica Wants It and hear about a cause that is near to her heart. After the post, you’ll also find a list of all the participants, so you can visit each blog and hopefully learn more about a wide variety of charities!
Which brings me to my chosen charity that I’d like to share with you today:
Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County
I’m talking about the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County with you today…
Because I learned about it through the Facebook posts of a friend! Isn’t it amazing the way the good can just radiate out?
Thanks to this passionate friend, I’ve learned a whole lot more about Children’s Advocacy Centers in general, and how to get involved in our local county’s organization, and I’m so glad I have the chance to share this with you today!
A Brief History: The concept of a Children’s Advocacy Center originated with Congressman Robert E. “Bud” Cramer Jr in the 1980’s. At the time, child abuse investigations and legal proceedings subjected the children involved to an intimidating mess of uncoordinated interviews, forcing them to relive and retell details of their abuse over and over again.
Cramer envisioned a streamlined, child-focused system – bringing together all the parties involved in investigating and prosecuting child abuse cases under one roof – that would provide the support needed to help children heal.
Since his inception of the idea in 1985, over 1,000 children’s advocacy centers have been created across the United States!
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County is my local Children’s Advocacy Center here in Plano, Texas. Their mission is to provide safety, healing, and justice to children victimized by abuse or neglect.
Inside the center, a team of collaborative professionals conduct child-friendly forensic interviews (blind interviews observed by law enforcement and CPS), and provide advocacy, support, resources, and therapy for the children and their family members – all within a beautiful space designed to make children feel comforted and at ease!
This video does a really wonderful job of showing how the various disciplines come together in their mission:
Give Back – Get Involved
So what can you do to partner with this mission of seeking justice, healing, and protection for the littlest members of our society?
Get Involved: First of all, you can find your local Children’s Advocacy Center. There are over 1,000 centers around the United States, and each one will have particular needs and opportunities for getting involved – from volunteering, to charity events, to holiday drives. You can go here and punch in your zip code to find the center(s) closest to you!
Give: Since I’m highlighting my local center today, I’d like to share one of their services that really touched my heart. The Rainbow Room is basically a large storage closet at the center, but for children in the midst of trauma, it’s a magical Room of Requirement (any Harry Potter fans in the house?)
The Rainbow Room is stocked full of brand-new clothing, shoes, baby supplies, toiletries, and toys – whatever these children need to meet their physical and emotional needs. Locals can drop off donations in person, but here’s something we can all do, from the comfort of our computer screens no less…
The Rainbow Room keeps a running Amazon wishlist with frequently needed items – simply visit the list, make a purchase, and it’s shipped directly to the center!
Whether it’s a pair of shoes, some comfy pajamas, or colorful socks – this is such an awesome way to bless a precious little one with something that tells them they are loved, they are valuable.
Finally, my friend who has worked with the center extensively shared that while tangible, physical donations are a wonderful way to jump in and feel personally invested in the cause, it’s easy to forget the other needs of a charity – from keeping the lights on, to funding each service they provide.
It might not feel as personally fulfilling (or perhaps that’s just me, sometimes), but monetary donations allow the charity to put your money to the best possible use, wherever it’s most needed at the moment.
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County is a 501 (c)(3) organization (which means your donation may be tax-deductible) and has a 4-star rating on Charity Navigator, so you can be confident that the vast majority of each dollar received goes straight into program services.
If you feel so inclined, you can click here to visit The Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County’s donation page.
Friends, thank you so much for letting me share with you today! I hope that you will keep scrolling down and take the time to visit the other bloggers, listen to their hearts, and perhaps learn about some new ways you can join in finding and making beauty in our world!
P.S. Feel free to print off any of the graphics in today’s post for your personal use! You can hang one on your fridge, tuck it into a mirror – anywhere you’ll be reminded to press onwards with love, peace, and good-will!
Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County – The Gathered Home // The Humane Society – Monica Wants It // Dog Rescues – Cassie Bustamante // Global Fund for Women – Jest Cafe // Peaceable Kingdom – Cuckoo4Design // Buyamba Uganda – House Homemade // Compassion International – The Home I Create // Canadian Premature Babies Foundation – The Learner Observer // The Heart Gallery – Pinterest Addict // Three Angels Children’s Relief – Bright Green Door