On Tuesday, December 17, more than 128 children and family members arrived at Children's Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County in Hoffman Estates to visit with Santa and enjoy gifts, activities and music. The party was made possible through donations of food, gifts and gift cards.
"Usually the children visit the Center because of the trauma they've experienced such as physical or sexual abuse. Our goal with the children's party is to give the kids and their families a chance to come back and enjoy the holiday with us," says Bonnie Fries, Assistant Director of CAC. "The party is a fun relaxing event where the kids can decorate cookies, dance to holiday music, get their faces painted, eat a hot meal and enjoy quality time with their loved ones."
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CAC relies on donations from individual donors and community business partners to make the party a success. Fries, who has been heading up the party committee for over ten years says, "From the delicious food to the gifts to the volunteers who helped wrap each present, we couldn't do it without these partners. We are so grateful to them for helping us create a warm and fun-filled environment for our families."
This year Panda Express at 110 E. Golf Road in Schaumburg donated appetizers and entrees for nearly 150 guests, volunteers and staff.
"We are honored that Panda Express wanted to do this for us. They are such a great example of how a business can partner with nonprofits like CAC," said Mark Parr, CAC's Executive Director. "In addition, UOP in Des Plaines collected hundreds of gifts for more than 90 children who are currently receiving services through the Center."
As well as Panda Express and UOP, donors and volunteers for the 2013 holiday party included Andresen's Bakery, Arlington Heights Juvenile Detective Officers, Audi of Hoffman Estates, Cup&Vine, D&J DJz, Links Technology Solutions, Mariano's, PetSmart (Geneva Store #429), St. Hubert's Catholic School students and staff, St. Hubert's Women's Ministries, Officer Bob Coniglio (Santa), Brenda Ceuvas, Mary Ann Flynn, Caryn Amster, Bob Tucker, Tania Morales, Erin Merryn, Serena Lerma, Laura Kaczmarek, Elizabeth Ryan, Sam Hallstrom, Caila, Danae Honcoop and Omo Abu.
Working closely with DCFS and local law enforcement, CAC coordinates the investigations of child abuse allegations in 38 communities throughout North and Northwest Cook County. Founded in 1989, the agency serves more than 650 children and families each year. In addition to forensic interview services, CAC's clinical team provides professional counseling, court, medical and legal advocacy, community referrals and other support services to help families heal from the trauma of sexual abuse and severe physical abuse. All services are FREE of charge and provided in both English and Spanish. For more information, visit www.cachelps.org.