While the Baton Rouge Childhood Advocacy Center has not seen a significant increase in reported cases of child abuse during the coronavirus pandemic, the cases coming in seem worse.
“These are rapes,” said Sharon Pol, BRCAC's interim chief operations officer. “These are terrible things that are happening to these kids. I think because it has had a contributing factor that they are together so much and everybody is on pins and needles.”
BRCAC provides immediate interventions for children exposed to traumatic events in the capital area, connecting them to professionals in law enforcement, child protective services, physical and mental health, education, prosecution and criminal justice.
The center has two interviewers to help traumatized children tell what happened and three family advocates who help families get services they may need in the wake of these situations, as well as therapists, Pol said.
BRCAC's work typically becomes busier when school starts because students tell their friends, teachers or counselors about abuse they’ve suffered, bringing it to light.
“Sometimes, they can’t report them inside the house because the person that is abusing them … is a family member or somebody that they’re afraid to tell their family about because of all kinds of different things — retaliation, they’re not going to believe them, that kind of stuff,” Pol said. “It’s about telling people that you trust that will do something.”
Each year, BRCAC holds a Celebrity Waiters event, in which local well-known figures — LSU and Southern University coaches and former players, local television personalities and politicians are regulars — raise money for the nonprofit by collecting tips from the 600 to 800 people who attend. That, along with sponsorships, usually raises about $100,000 for the center.
This year, because of the pandemic, the 14th annual Celebrity Waiter event will be held online at 7 p.m. Aug. 12. To order tickets or sponsorships, visit batonrougecac.org or call (225) 343-1984.
So far, sponsorships have only raised about half the usual amount, Pol said.
The online event will recreate as much as the popular fundraiser as possible, she said.
Those buying tickets will be entered in a raffle and there will be live and silent auctions.
The celebrities, instead of hobnobbing at the event and serving as waiters, will deliver video messages for tips that go to the BRCAC. Prizes go to the celebrities who bring in the biggest haul.
Participants also can pay to have their names engraved on bricks that will be placed in the new therapy center garden.
The celebrities list is still being formed but so far includes LSU coaches D-D Breaux (gymnastics), Paul Mainieri (baseball), Nikki Fargas (women’s basketball) and Fran Flory (volleyball); former Southern University baseball coach Roger Cador; Baton Rouge Community College basketball coach Paula Lee; Fox 44 news anchor Chad Sabadie as emcee; Mayor Sharon Weston Broome; District Attorney Hillar Moore; East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Beau Clark; LSU assistant athletic director Sharon Lewis; former LSU football players Ryan Clark and Christian LaCouture; WBRZ reporter Chris Nakamoto; the LSU Golden Girls; Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition model Brooks Nader; Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame CEO Ronnie Rantz; and representatives of the Cajun Navy.
A fundraiser for the Baton Rouge Childhood Advocacy Center
WHEN: 7 p.m. Aug. 12
TICKETS: batonrougecac.org or (225) 343-1984