Safe Harbor awarded $2,000 by Rotarians

Published 4:49 pm Monday, January 19, 2009

Safe Harbor, The Children’s Advocacy Center, Inc., received a welcome gift from the Greenville Rotary Club on Thursday. Rotary president Lisa Nimmer presented Safe Harbor director Kathy Smyth with a check for $2,000 to help benefit the children of the community.

Smyth gave the Rotarians an overview of the work done by her agency.

“In a nutshell, we provide forensic interviews and counseling for children who have been abused or who have witnessed a crime . . . we use a multi-disciplinary approach with counselors and interviewers contracted from the Montgomery and Dothan areas,” Smyth said.

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“This money will be very welcome. Our children don’t understand budget cuts or proration – they just know they may not get to go to as many meetings.”

Safe Harbor, which is based in Greenville, serves approximately 200 children in crisis in Butler, Lowndes and Crenshaw counties. A “non-state” state agency, Safe Harbor relies heavily on monies from grants, foundations and community donations.

Smyth lauded the local support the agency had received.

“Within our community we received $50,000 in donations last year – and that was from $10 bows, $6 lunch boxes, $25 luncheon tickets – now that is community support,” she said.

“You may not be actively involved in what we do from day to day, but there may be a child in your church, school or neighborhood who needs our help.”

In addition to the interviews, counseling and play therapy that take place at Safe Harbor’s 107 Caldwell St. address, Smyth described activities children served can participate in once they meet certain goals.

“Last summer, we had Camp Rod and Reel in Pike County . . . lots of fishing, a hay ride, and the kids had a blast. To see them flourish in that environment was so wonderful,” Smyth said.

For smaller achievements, counselors may take youth to the movies or a visit to Pizza Hut.

“Things like this are a treat. Some of the kids have never been to Pizza Hut, or any sit-down restaurant before. And a movie is not just fun – it’s also a chance to discuss the issues presented in the film afterwards,” Smyth explained.

“Everyone deserves a second chance; some of these kids haven’t had their first chance yet. We offer a place where they can start to trust, talk, share, heal, laugh and enjoy having someone be kind to them.”

She said volunteers from the community are always welcome to help with projects such as packing the boxed lunches or reading to youngsters at Safe Harbor.

To learn more about Safe Harbor, call 382-8584.