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Prevent Child Abuse Rowan wraps up capital campaign

By Susan Shinn Turner
Prevent Child Abuse Rowan

Beth McKeithan, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Rowan, is in the process of wrapping up a $400,000 capital campaign that began nearly two years ago. To be honest, it’s a hard sell.

“People don’t want to talk about child abuse,” McKeithan admits. “We’re talking about things no one wants to talk about. People do not like the thought of an expansion of services. But we’re not expanding in hopes of getting more business. We are bursting at the seams.”

Gwin Barr saw that first-hand. At the request of a dear friend, Barr — who was unfamiliar with PCAR — recently took a tour of the facility.

“I was in the PCAR building 5 minutes when I realized these people are doing God’s work of healing, restoration, and justice,” she says.

Barr was so impressed that she and her husband, Matt, decided to be the capital campaign’s lead supporters.

“I would encourage everyone in this community to get behind this organization and this campaign,” she says. “The staff is packed tightly together while trying to honor privacy and discretion. They need a safe haven and more space.”

Construction began on the 1,600-square-foot addition on July 1. The expansion includes a therapy suite with separate entrance, three offices, and a community education room that will double as a boardroom. The project also includes new furnishings and a refurbishment of the existing space. Chris Bradshaw has served as general contractor, with Pete Bogle as architect.

McKeithan gave a presentation at Salisbury Rotary just before Thanksgiving, which was well received. About $126,000 remains to complete the project. F&M Bank is providing financing.

“F&M Bank has partnered with Prevent Child Abuse Rowan for many years,” says Steve Fisher, the bank’s president and CEO. “They are the lone beacon shining a light on this problem — protecting the children, breaking the cycle of abuse and helping families thrive. Investing in this agency is an important part of F&M’s mission to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve.

“A better future always starts with our children, our most important asset, and, unfortunately, our most vulnerable asset, too. Partnering with Prevent Child Abuse Rowan to expand its facility, expand its impact, and solidify its future is vital to the children of Rowan County.”

As one local fundraiser who’s working behind the scenes says, “We just have to save the children. We have to.”

Dr. Tommy Carlton agrees. Carlton retired after 39 years as a pediatrician at Salisbury Pediatric Associates, and has completed the first year of a three-year term on the agency’s board of directors. Before the Terrie Hess House existed, Carlton explains, children were treated for abuse in the emergency room. And there were no programs to help them cope with what happened to them.

“Anyone who reads the newspaper knows that we have a good way to go as far as prevention of child abuse in Rowan County,” Carlton says. “Prevent Child Abuse Rowan exists as much to prevent child abuse as it does to treat cases.”

Because PCAR is now in the schools with an education program, more students are reporting abuse, Carlton notes. “They are made aware of what is normal behavior and what is not. As a child, it is hard to know what is abnormal. When you’re raised in an environment of violence, that’s the standard. You don’t know any different.

“So many children may be abused and not recognize it, and that repeats generation after generation. Beth and her staff are not only treating cases of abuse, they’re looking toward the future to prevent cases. And they’re too crowded to carry out that mission.”

Lissa Pence is board chair. She’s also executive director of the Guardian Ad Litem program.

“Our children go to the center, and they need those services so much,” she says. “We have services that need to happen simultaneously, but we also need to honor the privacy of our families. We partner with so many community agencies. Those representatives come in to work with our staff, who is already crammed in. We simply need more room so that we can all do our jobs better.”

Other board members who serve with Pence and Carlton include: Shawn Edman, vice president; Carol Ann Houpe, treasurer; Beverly Fowler, secretary; Sheriff Kevin Auten, Amy Becker, John Carlton, Dr. Julie Chamberlain, Rebecca Clement, Brandy Cook, the Rev. Carol Hallman, Tom Hess Sr., Nina Oliver, Valerie Rakes, and Tom Staats.

McKeithan notes, “We have 100 percent board supporter participation.”

She adds, “We are eager to wrap up our campaign so that we can again put our total focus on helping children and families in Rowan County.”

For more information about the Prevent Child Abuse Rowan Capital Campaign, contact Beth McKeithan at 704-639-1700 or beth@preventchildabuserowan.org. You may also visit the website at www.preventchildabuserowan.org.

Donations may be sent to Prevent Child Abuse Rowan — The Terrie Hess House, 130 Woodson St., Salisbury NC 28144. For further details about the capital campaign, please call 704-639-1700 or visit www.preventchildabuserowan.org.

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