Vulnerable Sandhills Children Benefit from Charity Luncheon
BY KATHY STREAM
Special to The Pilot
As a teenager, Kayla was left to fend for herself and care for her younger brother.
Her father had abandoned her and the entire family. As a result, Kayla's mother, who already struggled with depression, became addicted to prescription medication.
It is a story not unlike those of many children who come to Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina. A distant relative took in Kayla's brother, but didn't feel like he could manage two children.
When Kayla, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, first arrived at Boys and Girls Homes, she was scared, but more angry and resentful than frightened. She longed for the semblance of family to which she had grown accustomed. Kayla did not make friends quickly, and her grades plummeted.
Gradually, Kayla turned the corner. She began to let down her guard and accept the love and support shown to her by her teaching parents and other staff members at Boys and Girls Homes.
Boys and Girls Homes is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 agency founded in 1954 that serves children from all over the state of North Carolina. As often as daily, youth like Kayla, who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or other family dysfunction, come there.
Former Boys and Girls Home board member and Pinehurst resident Carolyn Register initiated an annual benefit luncheon for the children in 2005.
Each year the event brings in much-needed funds for the organization fraught with operation expenses in a fragile economy.
"This year, we want to increase public awareness of the child abuse and neglect that is going on right here in the Sandhills," says Register. "Boys and Girls Homes is instrumental in saving young lives, and I'm counting on this year's benefit luncheon to help them out in a big way."
Committee Chair Hartley Fitts and the other 11 women of the luncheon committee have been working dutifully for months, volunteering their time for the cause.
"It takes planning to organize an event of this scale. It includes a silent auction, lunch, a guest speaker and a fashion show," says Fitts. "It takes time, but we're happy to do it for the children."
Young ladies from Boys and Girls Homes attend the event, which enables them to dress up and participate in the fashion show.
Over the years, Boys and Girls Homes has served close to 5,000 children through residential and community-based programs. The organization also offers adoption, family and therapeutic foster care as well as residential care on the campus at Lake Waccamaw. The campus features a SACS-accredited middle and high school, vocational education, recreation facilities, farm, chapel and cottage life. As many as 180 vulnerable children are cared for through residential and community-based services at any given time.
To learn more about Boys and Girls Homes, visit the website www.boysandgirls homes.org.
The luncheon event will be held Monday, June 11, beginning at noon, at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst, and is open to the public. Tickets are $35 and include lunch plus a donation to the organization.
Seating is limited.
For more information or to reserve a seat, call Hartley Fitts at (910) 295-4790.
Kathy Stream is director of marketing and public relations at Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina Inc.
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