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A local nonprofit dedicated to helping children is now asking for your help. Children’s Place is based in Aiken and they offer therapy to help families cope with trauma.
NewsChannel 6’s Ashley Osborne talked to the Executive Director at Children’s Place about why they are raising $1.5 million and their plan for the money.
Recently, Children’s Place bought a 30,000 square foot facility that sits on 9 acres off Beaufort St. in Aiken. The building is 10 times more space than they currently have on Barnwell Avenue. They plan to renovate the empty building. The space will allow them to help more children and families.
“We take kids from high risk and move them to high hope,” says executive director of Children’s Place, Peggy Ford.
Children’s place provides counseling services to children and families at no cost to the family.
“We work to resolve the behaviors that happen as a result of having lived through tough things,” Ford explains.
Ford says things like school shootings show why organizations like Children's Place are vital. She says, research shows instead of asking—“what's wrong with you?”—experts now ask—“what happened to you? Ford points out, this is a method they have used since the 1980s.
“The research is coming this way,” says Ford. “It's saying that if we can get to these children and families early enough, that if we can actually help them, we can change the trajectory of many children's lives.”
Ford explains, often, kids play out concerns and at Children’s Place, they have therapists trained to respond to their actions.
“We go into a preschool classroom and we create the things that they need to work on,” Ford gives an example of a little girl who they helped take a leadership role. She says the simple acts the little girl completed, made a difference.
"Just running little errands and using that voice and then being recognized for having a voice and feeling good about herself that she could do that," Ford describes. "That would be a treatment plan."
Children’s Place will be able to give more children a voice when they raise $1.5 million to renovate the first 8,000 square feet of the empty building on Beaufort St. In the new space, they will be able to have an infant room to serve babies 0-2. The program is something Children's Place had to eliminate once they got too crowded at their current facility. Ford says they will also be able to have a dedicated space for an after school program, which is something they have never had in the past.
The Children’s Place staff and families they serve are pretty crammed in the two buildings they have on Barnwell Avenue. Counseling sessions happen where ever there is room, like picnic tables and on the front porch. Those things will change once they move into their new building.
“We will not only increase our capacity for children, but we will increase our ability to serve our families,” says Ford.
As of June, Children's Place is about $250,000 short of their $1.5 million goal; however, Ford says if they are able to raise more money, they will also be able to renovate more space.
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