Montgomery County, TX – November 15, 2023 – Children’s Safe Harbor celebrated the milestone of its 25th anniversary of serving abused and traumatized children in the community and the celebration of a permanent home with a luncheon fundraiser on September 22, 2023, at the April Sound Country Club in Montgomery, TX. Themed “Justice. Healing. Hope”, the sold-out gathering filled the ballroom with nearly 200 elected officials, community leaders, board members, staff, and friends of the nonprofit.
Children’s Safe Harbor is a children’s advocacy center that cares for children between the ages of 2 and 17 who have suffered sexual assault, severe physical abuse, trafficking, and trauma in Montgomery, San Jacinto, and Walker counties. Since opening its doors on August 31, 1998, it has provided a safe place for over 26,500 children to be heard, helped, and healed. The complexity of cases being referred to CSH are multi-faceted: children are experiencing multiple forms of victimization, including but not limited to, domestic violence, sexual assault and physical abuse simultaneously. The steady increase in population growth has made Montgomery County one of the fastest growing counties in Texas, and the nation, which has also increased crime rates. Given that 98% of alleged perpetrators are someone that a child knows such as a parent or family member, every child demonstrates tremendous courage to come forward and disclose their story of abuse and victimization.
In addition to the increased need for CSH services, the children’s advocacy center is amidst a capital campaign to raise $15 million for a new expanded building. The larger co-located facility will serve children and their families all in one building – and this facility is not just a building but the first step towards justice, healing and hope.
The featured keynote speaker was Margaret Hoelzer, a double Olympian and three-time Olympic Medalist in Swimming. She shared her personal and inspiring story about her journey as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Hoelzer is a spokesperson for the National Children’s Advocacy Center and is a featured survivor in the national award-winning Darkness to Light training video, “Stewards of Children.”
Serving as co-chairs for the event were Conroe community leaders Scott and Kim Perry, who also spoke to the crowd, sharing their personal experience with child sexual abuse within their own family and how Children’s Safe Harbor helped them move through the ordeal toward light and hope. Following the Perry’s heartfelt story, a special announcement by Texas State Representative Will Metcalf inspired the audience with news about additional funding for the CSH facility. Representative Metcalf shared his dedicated effort to secure $5 million in funding during this legislative session. These funds will make a significant and positive impact towards the $15 million goal. It is best practice that a nonprofit organization move into a new facility without construction debt costs.
Several Naming Opportunities remain available for the new 45,000 sq. ft. facility. The Capital Campaign Tab on the CSH website can direct interested parties to those opportunities.
Matthew Rodrigue, Chief of Spring ISD Police Department and President of the Board of Directors for Children’s Safe Harbor closed the event weaving the necessity of this new facilty with the unique mission of the children’s advocacy center. The new facility is not just a building but a gateway of justice, healing, and hope. Matt encouraged the guests to continue to “be the hope” as the Board of CSH continues to seek additional funding to make this gateway a reality in the near future.
In addition to Texas State Rep. Will Metcalf, other elected officials in attendance included: Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough, Judge Lisa Michalk, Judge Vince Santini, Judge Echo Hutson, Judge Kristin Bays, Judge John Hafley, Conroe Mayor Pro Tem Curt Maddux, Conroe City Councilman Todd Yancey, Conroe City Councilman Harry Hardman, and Montgomery County Commissioner Robert Walker.
Table sponsors of the event included: CHILDREN’S ADVOCATE – Estate of Barbara DeVaney, Tellepsen, Texas State Representative Will Metcalf District 16, Woodforest Charitable Foundation, Woodforest National Bank, and Waterway Wealth Management. CHILDREN’S WARRIOR – Hutson Realty Partners, Huffman and Lavantino Family, Pritchard Industries, San Jacinto Child Welfare Board, The Sloan Group, Texas Children’s Hospital, and Workman Family.
Please visit the “Captial Campaign” tab of www.ChildrensSafeHarbor.org.
Children’s Safe Harbor is a 501 © 3 nonprofit corporation