Crashing cars and mending hearts

by David Morgan, Lawrence County Executive

If you love the thrill of demolition derbies and jump ‘n’ run events, I have some good news for you. If you also want to help a very good cause, the news is even better.

This Saturday, July 13, Kid’s Place Child Advocacy Center is sponsoring a Demolition Derby and Jump ‘n’ Run event at Rotary Park. “Crashin’ for Kids” will deliver all the motorsports excitement you want and support an agency that helps kids and families in need.

Kid’s Place opened in Lawrence County in 1998 to serve victims of sexual and severe physical abuse and their non-offending family members. It now has locations in all four counties of the 22nd Judicial District (Lawrence, Wayne, Giles, and Maury) and assists an average of 500 children each year.

Child abuse happens in all kinds of homes, at all income levels, and among every race. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports that the total number of child abuse victims in Tennessee decreased between 2017 and 2021, but the percentage of those who were sexually abused increased every year. Nationwide, one out of ten children will be sexually abused before they reach 18.

I’ve had the honor of serving on the Kid’s Place board for 12 years, 10 of those as its Chair. I have a heart for victims of child sexual abuse because my mother is one. Her life, and personal ministry to suffering people, testifies that faith and love can lift a person far beyond their abuse.

Kid’s Place provides hope for all victims to overcome abuse and live happy, productive lives. Everything is designed with the victim’s welfare in mind, beginning with forensic interviews conducted by a therapist that are watched live by police and recorded, so the child endures the telling only once. Forensic physical exams are another difficult step, but Our Kids Clinic’s health professionals are trained in that process and conduct exams at the Kid’s Place Lawrenceburg location.

Kid’s Place Family Advocates provide support and resources to ensure each family has everything they need to be successful. Mental Health Counselors provide evidence-based, trauma-focused therapy as long as necessary, or until the child is 18. ALL services are provided completely free of charge, and that’s why Kid’s Place, and those they serve, need your support.

Kid’s Place also works to prevent child abuse. Its Community Awareness Specialist visits schools to talk to children about ways to protect themselves and to teachers about ways to recognize signs of abuse. In a two-hour session, she can train adults in any community group about signs and symptoms of abuse, which is valuable for anyone who works with children in any setting.

The children and families that receive services from Kid’s Place need and deserve your support. There are many ways to do that – become a monthly donor, give a one-time gift, or donate non-perishable foods, toiletries, and household products that families often do not have.

You can start by attending the Demolition Derby – Jump ‘n’ Run event this Saturday at Rotary Park. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. for the 5:30 event. Admission is $15 for age 10 and up, $10 for age 6-9, and free for age 5. Parking is $5. See you there!

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