United Way Agency Brings Hope to Families Fractured by Abuse

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Children’s Advocacy Center of Cleveland County

The little boy fidgeted nervously.  As he walked into the room, he wasn’t sure what to expect. He looked around, and a kind woman approached him.

“Would you be willing to draw me a picture for my art wall?” she asked, gesturing to a wall filled with hundreds of children’s drawings.

He was enraptured. He couldn’t believe someone wanted to display something he made–let alone in a place where everyone could see it. “Sure!” he responded excitedly.

He sat down at a little table, and his small hands smoothed out the paper in front of him. Very carefully, he pulled several crayons out of the box. Placing one slender finger on his chin, he glanced upwards, thinking about what he wanted to create.  “I know just the thing,” he thought to himself.  As he began the outline of a horse, the lines on his furrowed brow began to disappear. He worked quietly, imagining himself as a six-year-old artistic prodigy, certain that his drawing would rival even the most colorful piece on the wall.

The kind lady spoke to his mother as he colored. “He will be okay,” she assured his mom. “Children like him are very resilient. We will make sure he gets the counseling he needs. He will not live his life as a victim. The man who hurt him will be in jail for a long time. You were right to bring him here.”

His mother forced back her tears and softly whispered, “Thank you.”

“That’s what we are here for,” she responded, handing his mom a tissue. “Now, let’s go see if my new, beautiful artwork is ready.”  ####

Terre Bullock is the executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center in Shelby, N.C., a United Way agency in Cleveland County that provides services to physically and sexually abused children, and the above reenactment is a scene all too familiar to her. Last week, Terre visited the Gardner-Webb campus for the United Way campaign kickoff, and she mentioned her wall of artwork at her office. Sadly, she said, there are far too many pictures, created by far too many children who have endured some pretty traumatic circumstances. “There are hundreds of drawings on my wall,” she shared. “Each one represents a heartbreaking story. I love what I do, but I hate that I have to do it.”

The Center is just one of approximately 25 agencies in Cleveland County who receive United Way funds to provide a broad range of services to a variety of publics. “My agency is no more important than any other,” Bullock shared. “When you support the United Way, you support many worthwhile causes that make a tremendous difference for the people of our county.”

In 2013-2014, almost 64,000 people were helped by United Way agencies in Cleveland County through donations of over $1.6 million. Since GWU contributed almost $49,000, that means our contributions helped 1,960 individuals in our community.  In fact, with a total employment of almost 530 people, statistically speaking, each GWU employee helped nearly four individuals in our community.  That speaks volumes about our concern for our fellow man.

But perhaps we could each help just one more . . . .

The GWU campaign is in full swing, and will conclude at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31. Dr. Bonner will host the annual Celebration Breakfast on Tuesday, Nov. 4 from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. in The Cafeteria, open to anyone who offers a donation.  Please fill out your contribution form and return it to Frances Sizemore in the Human Resources office as soon as possible. Your team leaders will be encouraging you to get your form submitted by the Oct. 31 deadline.

Help us help others.  Give United.