Open house slated for 4-7 p.m. Dec. 12

The Ellis County Children’s Advocacy Center (Gingerbread House) will host its annual open house from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12. The open house will include tours of the facility as well as information about the center.

Executive Director John Wyckoff says this is a great opportunity for members of the community to see what the center does and how the community benefits from those services. He said the facility was created to provide a child-friendly environment for child victims and their non-offending family members.

“We coordinate the intervention process reducing further trauma to the child,” Wyckoff says. “The center’s goal is to optimize the investigative and prosecution process, provide quality legal, psychological, social and medical services to abused children and to heighten community awareness.”

He adds that the center wants any child walking through its doors to feel comfortable sharing what he or she has been through.

“We understand it’s a very difficult time for them and their families and we are there to assist them,” he says. “Our goal is to get them to share what happened to them. If they are in an environment that is less intimidating, they will be more comfortable talking about their experience.”

The facility is equipped with an interview room as well as a play therapy room, which plays a vital role in the evaluation of a child victim. This is where the child is able to work out his or her emotions and feelings.

During the open house, the board of directors will be available to field questions about the facility and provide statistics concerning how many children they’ve assisted throughout the year.

Board member Peggy Atwell has served on the board for the past six years and is very clear on what she wants people of Ellis County to understand about the Gingerbread House.

“We (the board) want people to know that we’re here,” Atwell says. “It’s unfortunate that we have to provide a service like this, but it is a blessing to the children and their families. That is what we want to stress to the people in this community.”

The CAC is located at 425 E. Ross St. For more information about the Gingerbread House/Ellis County Children’s Advocacy Center or open house, call 972-937-1870.

Article by Melissa Cade/Waxahachie Daily Light. Used with permission.

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