Voices for Children growing to meet unfortunate increase in services
The 3,900 square foot expansion of the ‘big blue house’ is expected to be completed by the end of January 2021.
FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (12/16/2020) - “With kids being virtual, not only is their abuse egregious, but they’re self reporting and they’re willing to be that brave voice to say something is happening,” Nyse Holloman, of Voices for Children Advocacy Center said.
The Center is a vital and unique resource for child victims across Genesee County.
Sadly, the need for their services is only continuing to increase during the coronavirus pandemic.
And, they’re growing to meet that need.
Voices for Children Advocacy Center broke ground on their 3,900 square foot expansion this summer.
The Executive Director expects the new building will be ready for use by the end of next month.
“That’s what we hear a lot from our kids, once they start therapy, is that this is a safe place. This is their big blue house,” Holloman explained. “And so, we want it to just continue to be that. And so all of the designs, all of the things that you see around, are really because the kids shared this is what they want.”
Right now you can only see walls and doors, but Holloman said the space will soon be home to an additional forensic interviewing room, an art studio and a play therapy room.
“Not every kid is willing to just sit on a couch and have a conversation; but by playing with toys, they’re able to verbalize what happened and then they’re able to talk about their anger with that person,” Holloman explained.
She said the kids also asked for a healing garden out back, which will be enclosed for more privacy. And, they’re making space for a community room..
“One of the things that we recognize is that the more people we train, the more people that know about how to prevent child abuse and human trafficking and child infant deaths from happening, the better we are,” Holloman said.
By the end of this year, she expects the Advocacy Center will have served more than 2,000 kids who have dealt with the unthinkable.
It’s difficult to be considered such a vital resource, but Holloman said she’s grateful they’re able to be there, especially during the coronavirus shutdown these last 9 months
“What we’ve seen is probably some of the most egregious cases that I have seen in the five years that I’ve been here,” Holloman shared. “Typically we see it span, you know, once a week, once a month, but this is like abuse that’s happening every single day.”
As the holidays approach, she is encouraging the community to remind the young kids in your life that you are there for them. Holloman said make sure to literally see them over video chat.
And let them know, even if somebody has told them not to say anything, that they can trust you and you will make sure they’re safe.
Holloman added that no government funding helped them finance the expansion project. It is fully funded by local organizations and individual donors throughout the community.
As they put on the final touches, if you’d like to donate, click here.
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