Hope House Works to Protect Local Children
“The world is full of beautiful things, butterfly wings, fairy tale kings. And each new day undoubtedly brings still more beautiful things.” Leslie Bricusse wrote these lyrics for the 1967 film “Doctor Dolittle.”
This is what we want for our children, a world full of beautiful things. However, far too many children find their worlds full of unspeakable things—physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
Thankfully, there are organizations helping. One such agency is Children’s Advocacy Center — Hope House on the North Shore. It provides hope, healing and justice for victims of child abuse.
“According to national statistics, one in 10 children will be sexually abused by their 18th birthday,” says Thomas Mitchell, executive director of Hope House. “Hope House is part of the critical first response team for all cases of child abuse that arise in St. Tammany and Washington Parish.”
Since the beginning of 2020, Hope House has conducted more forensic interviews with child abuse victims than in any preceding period in the organization’s 26-year history. Throughout the years, these evaluations resulted in a 96% conviction rate against their perpetrators and helped keep abusers off the streets.
“Our department is just one of the various local agencies that utilizes the services of CAC-Hope House, and I’ve seen its impact firsthand,” says Mandeville Police Chief Gerald Sticker.
The agency also provides ongoing therapy and advocacy for these children and their families.
“The intervention we provide can quite literally change the course of a child’s future following a traumatic experience,” Mitchell says.
In addition to providing critical response services, Hope House also takes a preventative approach when it comes to child abuse. Its program, Partners in Prevention, is designed to train people in a group setting on specific, concrete actions they can take to protect children in the community from sexual abuse.
“For every one adult that takes this free training, it is estimated that 10 children are safer and are less likely to become victims of sexual abuse,” says Mitchell.
Hope House is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the cycle of child abuse in our communities. It provides a path to justice and a bridge to healing for child victims of abuse.
Address: P.O. Box 1852 Covington, LA 70434
This year, Men Who Cook, sponsored by the Brooke It Forward Foundation and Cintas, will partner local “Celebrity Cooks” – leaders in St. Tammany or Washington Parishes – with local restaurants. Each team will host a “Hope House Week” between October 5 and November 8.
“I’m proud to partner with The Lakehouse restaurant this year to help raise critical funds for Hope House, and I implore our community to support this cause as well,” says Chief Sticker.
“The future of these children depends on it.”
A panel of judges will also sample a specific dish from each restaurant’s regular menu to determine the winner in the Judges’ Choice award category.
“When patrons dine in and donate on site during that restaurant’s Hope House week, they’ll also have access to exclusive promotions and special offers,” says Sarah Federer, one of the event’s organizers.
Individuals can also donate toward their favorite Men Who Cook team online through November 8.
How readers can help Hope House: Children’s Advocacy Center:
It is critical that local adults sign up for one of Hope House’s free Stewards of Children trainings, which are offered online monthly. Parents can also sign up their children, ages Pre-K through 12th grade, to take the organization’s age-appropriate child abuse prevention training called Play It Safe. Sign up atwww.cachopehouse.org.
How Businesses Can Help
Local businesses can schedule their free, two-hour training session by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 985-892-3885 Ext 1. The trainings are open to all businesses in all industries, not just those that work directly with children.