More than one thousand children walk through the doors of the Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center every year.
They are either victims of physical or sexual abuse or have witnessed a violent crime.
Victims of abuse or children who may have witnessed a violent crime are often referred to the Bridge to undergo digitally recorded forensic interviews.
For these children, the Bridge is a safe place.
“It is a warm and inviting environment where a child can tell what has happened to them in a place where they feel safe, they feel comfortable and they feel believed,” said April Leming, the Executive Director for the Bridge.
Shelly Bohannon, the program director at the Bridge says they work with families through some of the toughest times.
“We can take that opportunity to give them resources and point them in the right direction to put their family back together and get them back to normal, as much as they can,” said Bohannon.
Along with working directly with children, the Bridge also provides free training to the public on how to recognize, report it, and respond to abuse.
“We go out and talk to all kinds of groups, rotary groups and school personnel, day care providers, about how do you recognize signs of abuse and neglect? What do you do when a child tells you that something has happened and then most important thing is who do I report to how do I get this information to someone who can help this child?” said Bohannon.
Leming says the public can help the bridge’s mission through monetary donations and items like clothing and toys…
“Each child that comes to the Bridge, before they leave gets to take something home. Things like teens, Axe body spray, Nerf football, basketballs, journals, pens, things like that, we have an overwhelming abundance of stuffed animals, but teens want to chose something more age appropriate,” added Leming.
Everything done at the Bridge is free of charge.
You can donate to the Bridge this holiday season in someone’s name to help their efforts.
Or by donating blankets for the kids to take home after their visit to the Bridge.
You can also look forward to their Heroes and Legends fundraiser in February.
That event will feature three Superbowl champions from the Dallas Cowboys, Daryl Johnson, Jay Novacek and Darren Woodson.
It will take place February 27th.
For more information on The Bridge, click here.