Diane Chevalier introduced Linda Keller, Gilmer Chapter Volunteer Coordinator for the Northeast Texas Child Advocacy Center who presented a program on the work of the Center. Ms. Keller discussed the various services provided by the Center such as a safe child friendly environment to children between the ages of 2-17 who allegedly have been sexually or severely physically abused or have been a witness to a violent crime and have been referred by a school or a law enforcement agency. She noted, “The children who come to the Center are allowed to tell their stories in a non-leading way to a trained forensic interviewer rather than having to repeat it multiple times to multiples agencies involved in the investigation and prosecution, therefore reducing the trauma to the child.”
She stated that Upshur County has the highest number of abuse cases of all the counties they cover – Camp, Delta, Franklin, Hopkins, Rains, Titus, Upshur, and Wood. Keller noted, “When it comes to sex offenders, there are no stereotypes. A sex offender could be someone you know, someone who lives in your neighborhood, someone you would least expect. In 95% of all cases, the abuser is someone the child knows, possibly a relative, a friend, a neighbor.”
The Center provides parenting classes and counseling in all of their locations. The satellite office In Gilmer is located at 302 E. Butler, Hwy 271. Hours are on Monday, Wednesday and Friday by appointment only. To schedule appointments, the Winnsboro location can be called 902-629-7588; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. At the conclusion of her presentation, sorority members gave a collection of items for use by the organization, i.e. socks, toothbrushes, clothing, toys, boxed juice, snacks, etc.
The program was preceded by a baked potato and salad meal provided by hostess Becky Starnes Attendees were Racheal Roberts, Becky Skinner, Donna Varnado, Becky Starnes, Barbara Vogl, Shelia Bledsoe, Dianne Wren, Shirley Wilson, and Diane Chevalier with guests Linda Keller and Yvonne Youngblood. The next regular meeting will be on Monday, February 24.