Friday Focus: The Center for Children

Center for ChildrenThis week’s Friday Focus is an organization that makes a difference in the lives of over 4,000 individuals each year from Charles, Calvert, St. Mary’s and Prince George’s counties. Currently the largest provider of children’s mental health services in Southern Maryland, the Center for Children offers a wide variety of resources for children of all ages and their parents. We spoke with several members of the Center’s team for this week’s interview.

Q: Tell us about your organization. Who do you serve?

A: Established in 1989, the Center for Children is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of positive mental health for children, youth and families, and the prevention and treatment of child abuse in Southern Maryland. Through therapy, education and advocacy, we provide hope and healing. Since inception, we have helped over 50,000 children and families.

Q: What has been a favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

A: We gave Thanksgiving baskets (turkey and all the fixings) to our clients who are less fortunate and at Christmas we had a wonderful Children Christmas Party with Santa with gifts and food for the clients. It was wonderful. It is such a rewarding gift to see the excitement on someone’s face that otherwise may not have enjoyed the holidays.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

A: Our biggest challenge is providing help for all the children and their families in need of therapy.

Q: What advice can you give someone looking to work at a non-profit?

A: All nonprofit organizations are dependent on volunteers. Without them, the organizations wouldn’t exist. When looking to volunteer, make sure you are really passionate and dedicated to the work of the non-profit. It will be rewarding for you and the organization.

Q: How can people get involved?

A: We accept donations on our website at www.center-for-children.org or via mail to P.O. Box 2925, La Plata, MD, 20646. We can also always use volunteers for the Center, our events or for CASAs (Court Appointed Special Advocates appointed by a judge to speak up for abused and neglected children in court). Interested volunteers can contact Diana Colomo at colomo@center-for-children.org.

Q: Are there any upcoming events?

A: Each April, we sponsor Touch A Truck, a unique, family-oriented event featuring cars, trucks and other vehicles that children are allowed to touch, climb on, take pictures alongside and explore. The proceeds from the event help raise money and awareness for the Center.

We are also in the process of planning for our annual BIIKR (Bikers Involved in Kids Recovery) event. This event will be held on May 3, 2014. It is a Poker Run event and starts at the Center for Children in Waldorf and ends at the Mechanicsville Moose Lodge. All bikes and vehicles are welcome.

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