Tour the Childhelp River Bridge Center

Nonprofit SpotlightKay VasilakisGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Check out the new Childhelp River Bridge Center at its open house from noon to 5 p.m. Jan. 22, at 520 21st St. in Glenwood Springs. Tours and question-and-answer sessions will be available, as well as training for professionals who will be utilizing the center.The River Bridge Center provides a child-friendly environment while using an effective, one-stop approach to the investigation and treatment of child abuse. Professionals in the areas of law enforcement, human services, medicine and prosecution work together as a comprehensive team.”Our goal is to reduce the trauma to the child,” said Krista Richards, director of the Childhelp River Bridge Center. “We want to improve the investigative process and help the child victims by bringing a multidisciplinary team together under one roof.”

River Bridge provides the care and treatment child abuse victims need to find their road to recovery, including specialized medical care, investigative services and therapeutic care, within the privacy of the child-friendly facility. The center houses a reception area, children’s play area, exam room, therapy room, two interview rooms and a shower for victims to use when needed. Rooms are painted in soft colors and equipped with books and toys. Advocacy centers provide a safe and comforting place for children who have suffered abuse, address the whole needs of the child and specialize in treating child victims and their families. This model of care is proven to reduce trauma to children, and is endorsed by the National Children’s Alliance. Partnerships established with the Childhelp River Bridge Center include the Garfield County Department of Human Services and Sheriff’s Office, Valleywide Forensic Nurses, the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the towns of Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Parachute, Rifle and Silt.The Garfield County commissioners committed to constructing a building in early 2007, and the center opened in December. The Carbondale-Aspen Glen Rotary Club raised funds and in-kind donations from the community to help fund the start-up of the center.Stop by the Childhelp River Bridge Center on Jan. 22, and see for yourself how the facility is designed to help children who have suffered abuse.

The nominations are in for the 2007 Garfield County Humanitarian Service Awards. Youth category: Katie MacGregor, Kerry Rippy, Hector Parra and Logan Piccolo, and Arrick Peck. Staff: Siobhan “PeeWee” McMillan, Susan McKeon, Barb Donily, Neyma Rodriguez, Mickey Neal, Bobbie Dungan, Lynn Alsdorf, Mildred Alsdorf and Jerilyn Nieslanik. Seniors: Alice Jones, Ruth Pickard, Zona Hayes, Stella Bianco and Gertrude “Rusty” Burtard. Volunteers: Lesa Russo, Alice Bell, JoAnn Duffy, Donna Fell, Theresa Zelenka, Sharon Andersen and Alex De La Garza, Teo and Carolyn Prinster, Shirley Lawson, Virginia Knittle, Rhonda Coller, Barbara Jean “BJ” Barker and Michael J. Harman.Hearty congratulations to all the nominees. Their accomplishments are truly honorable, positive contributions to the community.If you would like to honor any of these nominees with your support at the 19th annual Garfield County Humanitarian Service Awards Monday, Jan. 28, at the Hotel Colorado, call Ronda at 384-2357 for reservations. You will be so glad you live in Garfield County.Kay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” column runs every other Wednesday. She is the media coordinator for the Garfield County Human Services Commission. To contact her, e-mail or call 384-9118.

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