LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - An auction full of paintings, workout packages and other treats donated by local businesses will help raise money and awareness for a program that helps children who are the victims of child abuse.
"It's a pretty heavy topic so we wanted to make it a little more fun of an evening," The Heartford Gala Co-Chair Todd Leuck said. "[We have] fashion, a full dinner, dancing, a band and some surprise entertainment."
Leuck and his salon, Samson and Delilah's, will host the Heartford House Gala Saturday at Purdue Memorial Union. The proceeds will go to Heartford House in Lafayette. It's the only child advocacy program in the area.
Workers call it a safe haven for children who have been abused or witnessed a crime.
"Coming to a child advocacy center, specifically Heartford House, helps kids," Heartford House Executive Director Jen Bushore-Barry said. "We have a multi-disciplinary team of law enforcement, [people from the] prosecutor's office and child services. They're together at one time when the child is being interviewed, so the child doesn't have to go through multiple interviews."
Heartford House has been in the community since April 2000. Bushore-Barry said they don't advertise where it is, or put any signs out front.
Many may not have heard of it. Bushore-Barry likes it that way.
"We've tried hard to make our space comfortable and private," Bushore-Barry said. "When families come in and things are going on that are very difficult they don't feel like everyone knows why they're there."
Multicolored handprints on the walls of Heartford House represent some of the 4,000 kids who have visited the home. In 2012, 513 children came to Heartford House. That's above average.
"On average we see about 400 kids a year," Bushore-Barry said. "In 2012 we saw an increase of kids who came here because they witnessed something. That means our team is really using us to make sure kids are interviewed well."
Tickets for the Heartford House Gala are still available. Contact Paula Reeves at 765-426-3030 to reserve them.
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