Have y’all ever heard of The Collins Center in Harrisonburg, VA? This nonprofit is somewhat of a safe haven to the community of Harrisonburg and Rockingham county. Before I get into the upcoming events of the organization let me give you some background…
The organization began in 1987 after a community member, Shirley Collins was sexually assaulted. The community banned together to form the Collins Center, to fight sexual assault and it’s impact on the community. The Collins Center has grown over the years and now includes a nationally accredited Cild Advocacy Center. The CAC allows for advocates to be trained in interviewing children of assault, in the onsite interview room (pics below). The interview room allows for forensic interviews to be done by professionals who are specifically trained in child advocacy. The room in the second picture below is the viewing room, where police officers, social workers, and other advocates can watch and tape the interview.
Images from: the Collins Center website
The other operations of the Collins Center includes:
- Prevention and Education. With five different prevention and education outreach programs currently on going.
- Onsite counselors and advocates offering crisis sessions as well as longterm therapy.
- 24/7 Crisis Hotline
Why is the Collins Center unique?
The Collins Center is special in the amount of services they provide to the community as well the models used in providing these services. The organization follows the national Child Advocacy Center model, which allows for the child of assault to only tell their story once. This model works to prevent any potential trauma for the child, that is common when the case goes to trial. This model also encourages a partnership of police officers, social workers, advocates, and members from the states attorney’s office. This organization of the Child Advocacy Center comes from the National Children Alliance, which provides the Collins Center with references, training, and support.
Another unique characteristic of the Collins Center is the staff. The staff of the Collins Center consists of three therapists, four advocates, a grants coordinator, executive and assistant director, and two interns. Everyone of the staff is dedicated and passionate about the mission of the Collins Center.
Want to know how you can help?
The Collins Center is having their fall fundraiser coming up on November 9th. This year’s fall fundraiser is a switch up from years in the past having a disco theme, the new face on the fundraiser is the Autumn Soiree. When clicking on the link you can buy tickets or donate to the fundraiser. There will also be opportunities to donate at the event as well through live and silent auctions. I encourage you to buy tickets and come join the staff for a fun fall evening!
All images come from the Collins Center Website