CARWM campaign raises over $30,000 for children’s advocacy group

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Children’s Advocacy Center of Kent County was the 2020 beneficiary of the Commercial Alliance of Realtors West Michigan Cares Campaign, the alliance recently announced.

“We are so impressed with the great work the Children’s Advocacy Center of Kent County is doing to help children and families facing serious challenges, and we are glad to be able to help them by funding some of their projects,” Commercial Alliance of Realtors West Michigan (CARWM) President Chris Prins.

Each year, members of the CARWM host the CARWM Cares Campaign to raise funding for local nonprofit organizations. The campaign, which concluded at the end of December, raised over $30,000 for programs to support child sexual abuse survivors and their families.

The Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) of Kent County has led the local effort to recognize, report and reduce child sexual abuse since 1993. Along the way, it has helped thousands of children and families achieve healing and justice.

Melissa Werkman Courtesy Children’s Advocacy Center

“The CARWM Cares Campaign has provided crucial funding that has afforded us the capacity to expand our services in response to increased need,” CAC of Kent County Executive Director Melissa Werkman said. “The myriad constraints that COVID-19 has brought has meant considerable barriers for our families at the CAC. We have seen our case management needs multiply exponentially and have had to piece together funding to add an additional part-time case management and victim advocacy position.”

Additionally, CAC’s Kids Have Rights school-based prevention program worked tirelessly to figure out ways to reach kids who are not able to be in school, Werkman said.

“These needs were not budgeted for last year when a global pandemic was not on our radar,” Werkman said. “During a time of much uncertainty, it warmed our hearts and encouraged our spirits to have such overwhelming support from the members of CARWM.”

The CAC of Kent County is a child-centered organization that coordinates the community response to child sexual abuse. It pools resources like child protective services, law enforcement and medical professionals, all free of charge. It also educates and empowers children and adults to prevent abuse.

The Commercial Alliance of Realtors is a membership organization based in West Michigan composed of over 550 commercial real estate practitioners and affiliate members.

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