The other day, Eric and I had the pleasure of visiting with some of the leadership team at Sunflower House. I had heard of this organization through some of our clients who were donors and volunteers. Sunflower House is a child advocacy center, and they work with kids and families who have experienced abuse. It’s tough for me to put into words how my feelings on the issue of child abuse have been amplified since the birth of my daughter almost two years ago. On one hand, the fact that there are so many people who have dedicated their lives to the prevention and treatment of this abuse, willfully there to hold the hands of families in what is very likely the most traumatic experience in their lives, inspires hope and provides real examples of the best in humanity. On the other hand, the fact that an organization such as Sunflower House has the need to operate at all is heartbreaking. Walking through the welcoming front door and seeing some of the same toys and books that my daughter, Remi, plays with and reads gave me a sinking feeling in my stomach.
Judi Rodman is the President and CEO at Sunflower House. She met Eric and I in the lobby, along with Director of Resource Development Allison McLain. Judi was gracious enough to give me a tour of the facilities. There were rooms for the families to meet and talk with therapists and forensic interviewers. There were toys, books, and snacks throughout the building. Once my tour was complete, we sat down at a table and asked how we can be involved in helping Sunflower House with their stated mission of protecting children in our community from physical and sexual abuse through education, advocacy, forensic, medical, and mental health services. Judi shared with us that statistics show 1-in-10 children will be subject to abuse before the age of 18, and that the therapies and education Sunflower House provides is done at no cost to the families. Judi explained her vision for the future of Sunflower House, and Allison had made a comment that spoke about their objectives 50 years from now. There is the obvious financial need, not only to continue to provide services to the victims and families, but in other areas such as building repairs and maintenance. There are also ways to be involved by donating time as a volunteer at one of several events put on throughout the year in an effort as a form of advocacy to raise awareness. To learn more about Sunflower House, visit their website here.
I walked into the building with that sinking feeling inside, but as I walked out, I couldn’t help but feel inspired not only by Judi and Allison, but by the entire team of board members, staff, volunteers, and donors who dedicate their time, talents, and treasures to building a better future for the children and families in our community.
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