DOBSON — The Children’s Center of Surry County is gearing up for its fourth year of the “Heart of a Child Ball” fundraiser inspired by the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday.
“This is one of our big events to raise funds for the Children’s Center and what it does,” said Executive Director Robin Testerman. “We want to make childhood better for children who have suffered some trauma in their lives. For many children, just being taken into the foster care system is traumatic enough.” She said the name for the event reminds them staff, clients and supporters all possess the heart of a child.
The ball will be held Feb. 9 at Cross Creek County Club starting at 6 p.m. Testerman said the evening’s entertainment will include dining on a steak dinner and dancing as well as a silent auction and live auction with items donated by local businesses. WXII’s Austin Caviness will serve as the emcee for the event. The Hip Pocket Band will perform the music for the evening.
The band’s website indicates the group plays a large variety of party music including songs from Cee Lo Green, Toby Keith and George Michael, Wilson Pickett and Barry White as well as songs from groups including the Black Eyed Peas, Band of Oz, the Platters and the O’Jays.
According to Testerman, the center’s mission is to provide families and children support services to strengthen family relationships and prevent child abuse. She said the shelter was originally one facility but has been expanded to include a shelter each for Surry and Yadkin counties. The center also serves Stokes, Yadkin, Davie and Wilkes counties with services for youths from newborn to 18-years.
“Anything we can do to make families stronger for themselves and the community,” said Testerman. “Preventing is a lot cheaper than treatment.” She said the center can serve as a resource for overwhelmed parents who need a brief respite as well as helping children involved in the juvenile justice and Department of Social Services systems.
“Not all children we serve are with us long-term. Recently though, we had one client who had been with us for three-years. We helped him get a car and a job and he’s enrolled in Surry Community College to be a physical therapist,” said Testerman. “We take away any and all barriers so families can participate. We can provide transportation, day care, and food.”
She said their preventative services ultimately save the county money when the high costs of being involved in many of the formal programs are considered. She encouraged all parents to take advantage of the center’s resources.
“Parenting classes are a good thing,” said Testerman. “Getting support and help from these classes enriches the family. It’s not a negative thing.”
Testerman said the center hopes to raise $15,000 on the event which is an important piece in the overall funding for the shelters’ operation. She said food and transportation costs for the center are substantial.
“It’s like running a very large household,” said Testerman. “Usually the children only come to us with the clothes that are on their back and we feed and clothe them as well as get them back in school. Fundraisers like the Heart of a Child help us do that.” She said that the call for the center’s services has not decreased over the last several years.
Tickets for the Heart of a Child are $100 per couple and $75 for individuals. Testerman said each purchase of a ticket qualifies participants for $10 off their dry cleaning at Hutchens Laundry and Cleaners in Mount Airy. She said the center is also interested in donations of auction items and event sponsorships from businesses.
She said the group hopes its work can one day eliminate the need for support services but the reality is many children continue to be affected.
“Families are having a hard time recently. It has a ripple effect,” predicted Testerman. “All of our shelters currently are full. We are really depending on this fundraiser to be a big support for us and we’re a little concerned ticket sales have started slowly. Overall all the response has been good for the fundraiser. We sold out of tickets last year.”
Persons may obtain more information by calling Testerman at 336-386-9144 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. or Vickie Snow-Hutcherson at email@example.com.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.