(Seguin) – Supporters of the Guadalupe County Children’s Advocacy Center are getting closer and closer to officially kicking off a more aggressive campaign for the construction of a new building.
Executive Director Christy Williams says that the need for a new center was realized a long time ago. She says the center's board of directors, employees, and supporters have steadily been moving towards that goal, and they starting to put some of their plans into action.
"When we realized that we needed a new center is when we hired a therapist, because that put our interview clients and our therapy clients on site at the same time and there's just not enough space for that. We weren't actively pursuing a new center though for a while, because we were literally about a year old when we realized that our facility wasn't meeting our needs. We've been actively pursuing the plans and funding for a new center for the last couple of years. We have a little over $290,000 in the bank right now for that, specifically earmarked just for that -- different bank, different bank account, everything over there is staying for the building and that's really important to us and to our board to make sure that that money is just for the building and not for operating," said Williams.
Williams says they hope to announce the location of the future building during this year’s fundraising event scheduled for 6 pm. Saturday, April 11. The center will be hosting its annual "A Community with Courage United for Our Children" Dinner and Auction at the K.C. Hall.
"If we were to pay for everything with cash, we're looking at somewhere around $1 million, but we're not going to be doing that, because we have lots and lots of donations either received or being offered. We were able to receive a land donation, which we're going to be highlighting at the auction and sharing information about that and kind of have a big reveal that night of where the land is and who gave it. So we're getting two acres in the city of Seguin that saved us some money for the long term project. We're also receiving architectural services that are being donated and engineering services that are being donated and then, lots of other companies and professionals have offered up their services that will be starting up in the future. Those are the people who have actually actively done something and completed their donation or are in the midst of their donation right now," said Williams.
Williams says the children’s advocacy center is vital to the kids of Guadalupe County. She says only a handful of communities in the state operate with a similar type of program. She says since opening its doors, the center has assisted in over 3,300 investigations involving children.
Williams hopes that the community will begin to also realize the center’s importance and will consider making a donation for the building campaign. She says an additional $700,000 is still needed before they can really move forward and begin to turn dirt.
"We serve all of Guadalupe County and we serve all the children that have allegations of sexual abuse or physical abuse or anything that child protective services or law enforcement would like to bring to us to assist with their investigation. We help to make those investigations easier on the child, easier on their caregiver and definitely easier also on our team members and law enforcement, child protective services, ultimately prosecution, because they're able to do a coordinated investigation. Under our roof is where it begins and then they work together hand in hand from that point on to make sure they're communicating and collaborating and they are not doing extra work. It's smooth when they do that approach and so our center is able to help facilitate that. We have partners in law enforcement, child protective services and prosecution like I said and each one of those agencies serves on our board. So Heather McMinn District Attorney is on our board, Sheriff Arnold Zwicke is on our board and Stacey Jackson from Child Protective Services is on our board. They are huge supporters of ours and they are also people out there in the community telling people -- this is what our center does for our agencies and this is what our center does for these kids and these cases and I think it's just a really impactful statement that they're able to make for us in addition to our statement," said Williams.
Tickets are now on sale for the advocacy center fundraiser. Tickets are $50 each and include admission plus a steak dinner and drinks. Tickets can be purchased at Seguin Radio KWED, Keepers Interior, Gift & Gourmet or at the Guadalupe County Sheriff’s office.