Watch now: An evening with Dove House that’s all about kids | local news

Karen Kistler

An evening with Dove House was an emotional night as an estimated 350 people filled rooms at the Charles Mac Citizens Center in downtown Morrisville to support and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Children’s Advocacy Center.

Excitement about being able to return to a live event can be felt and was expressed as Kevin Milk, Vice Chairman of Dove House, shared his thanks to everyone for coming out and underlined how much they appreciate the sponsors’ support.

There was a sense of gratitude and anticipation when a surprise was presented to Dove House’s first CEO, Brenda Dale. It was Reverend John Dawson, founding member and board member, who invited Dell to come to the theater where he told the audience that “for 20 years there has been a family in crisis that didn’t know what to do.” He noted that a form for an advocacy center was shared with them and a group prayed for What to do, and “The first answer to the prayer was Brenda Dale, who looked and said four words, ‘We can do it. Head the steering committee and help them get their first 501c3.

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Then it was announced that one of the things they wanted to do was provide curative care at the Dove House and hire someone on the staff to do it for the children. Hence, they want to rearrange some of the rooms for this to happen.

“We’d like to honor Brenda by calling her Brenda’s Corner of Healing,” said Dawson, who was met with cheers, applause from the audience, and emotional tears when she heard the announcement and saw the banner with that name.

There was a time of celebration and welcome as Dawson introduced his new CEO, Beth McKethan, to the group.

McKethan, who is originally from the Lake Norman area, became Dove House’s fourth CEO when she started in February of this year. She graduated from East Carolina University, and worked for several years for a non-profit organization in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2010, she joined the US Peace Corps and was sent to Namibia, Africa to work as a health volunteer. She worked with child victims of abuse while in Africa and knew this was the career path she wanted to take when she returned to the states in 2012.

Prior to coming to Dove House, McKitthan worked as Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse Rowan in Salisbury until January 2021. She was noted as a forensic investigator and was the lead developer on the body safety program used by Iredell/Statesville and the Alexander and Mooresville City School systems. “

And Dawson added, “And she has a wonderful heart for children.”

When McKethan took the stage, she emphasized the words, “What a pleasure to be here tonight and to work with such a wonderful organization.” She also expressed her happiness to be able to get back together to attend this event.

I then took this opportunity to share a few bits of information about the center as well as some statistics since it opened in 2002.

She noted the partner agencies within Iredale and Alexander counties that make up the Multidisciplinary Community Team, including six law enforcement agencies, two departments of social services, the Attorney’s Office, Guardian ad Litem programs, multiple mental health and medical providers and Dove House. staff.

“Every day, we all work together to respond coherently to every report of child sexual abuse with a common goal of reducing further trauma to children and their families in crisis,” she said.

Since 2002 when the doors first opened, Dove House has been able to serve 11,390 children and non-offending family members.

Additional statistics she cited, to much applause, included that the overall successful prosecution rate had grown from less than 20 percent to 88 percent.

Since implementing the Safety First program in 2016 in Iredale and Alexander counties, they have taught 20,727 students about body safety and empowered them to create a plan.

“It’s possible because of the incredible support we’ve had over the last 20 years,” McKitthan told them. “Many of you have been in this room on this journey with Dove House since the beginning. Some of you may have been for several years and some of you are completely new to our organization. Either way, we hope you’ll stay with us for the next 20 years. Of course, we wish Dove was never needed. House at all, but as long as it will be there, with your continued support, we will continue our advocacy and intervention work, working to expand our preventative outreach program, provide medical and mental health programs and be a safe haven for child victims and non-offending family members.”

An emotional testimony ensued, which led to a silence over the room as the story of a child victim of sexual abuse and the journey of healing that came with the help of Dove House was shared. The speaker told how the love and support provided by those at the Dove House had changed and saved the victim’s life.

“Your support is not just around Dove House. You support the thousands of lives Dove House saves. You support the miracles that happen there every day,” the spokesperson said.

The room erupted in loud applause and applause after the testimony and this reaction was carried over to the ensuing live auction where the audience was reminded throughout the event that the money raised would support this organization.

Jack Grossman, a member of the Center’s Heritage Board, who was noted to have “created the concept for this event and is an exceptional fundraiser,” introduced Larry Sprinkle, who once again served as the auctioneer for the live auction portion. “Grossman is the heart and soul of this auction,” Sprinkle said. Grossman and Sprinkle were both honored at the end of the evening for their dedication and service to help the Dove House and to deliver many items of appreciation.

Sprinkle reminded the crowd, “We’re here tonight because of an organization called Dove House. Every day of the week, innocent kids are brought into that house. You’ve been there. If you’ve never been there, you walk in and see the sanctuary it is. It’s a situation Horrific happening in the USA. We’re here tonight because it’s the only chance we have to fund the operation and we desperately need your money.”

When every new item in the live auction was revealed, Sprinkle’s enthusiasm and excitement prompted the audience to start bidding. In many items there were bidding wars as prices continued to rise and the cheers increased at the same level.

Items offered at live auction included handmade furniture, hot air balloon rides, trips to Mexico, Lake Tahoe, and the North Carolina mountains, a golf cart, and a custom Harley-Davidson.

In several adjoining rooms of the Citizen Center, silent auction items were displayed as attendees wandered through the rooms to see them and make their bids. Items ranged from gift baskets, furniture, and paintings to tools, sports memorabilia, and more.

Attendees were also encouraged to check out and buy raffle items now: travel packages that were also available during the event.

Event-goers enjoyed live music, before the auction and at the end of the evening. Buffu’gees provided music in the banquet room before the event began and as attendees ate. After the auction, council presidents gave a live concert in the silent auction room to close out the evening.

Before the event started, attendees were invited to enjoy food from the number of participating restaurants at Restaurant Row. These restaurants included Brick House Tavern, Epic Chophouse, Havana 33, Hickory Tavern, Food Junkee, Lake Norman Catering, Monsoon Asian Grill and Sushi Bar, On the Nines, Pomodoro’s Italian American Café, Tim’s Table, Wobbly Butt and El Cerro Reyes Mexican Restaurant.

During the event, awards were honored and presented to various levels of sponsors. Randy Marion was this year’s main sponsor.

The platinum sponsors were J. Campbell Construction; Major Beverage Contract Manufacturers. and the family of John Donoghue & ACC, Inc.

They were the gold sponsors of G&W Equipment; connect highland canine; rack and husky wires; Spivey Construction and Pippin Home Designs; Kiewuni Scientific Corporation; Novant Health strains the Zalman family and United Beverages of North Carolina.

The Silver Shepherds are Child of the Woods, Jack Grossman; Forged Timber Long Insurance & Co.; Langtry Group; emptiness. and Rewired Academy.

Bronze sponsors’ names and awards were on each table.

Mielke shared that each year, the Dove House Council highlights special supporters and presents them with an Above and Beyond Award. This year, three families of the Center were honored. These include Phil and Deborah Rotella; John Donoghue family; and the Goff family, continuing their father’s legacy.

There was no final amount on the amount raised at this year’s event ready as McKitthan indicated that there were still things to be finalised. I noticed that the event “goed really well, and we raised a lot of money for Dove House, which was really badly needed!”

She continued by expressing her thanks, saying, “We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the support we received from this event! The way this community stands behind the work we do, is invaluable to us. We work hard to help the children who come through Dove House, And we couldn’t have done it without the money we’re receiving from this event.”

Volunteers Bill and Sally Wayne, who have volunteered for the event since year one, added that they are also helping because of the kids. Bell said, “It’s just a good cause for the kids. It’s really what it’s all about. I think everyone here is here for the kids.”

Sally added: “If you can’t do what the people at Dove House do, support them and that helps bring the right people together to help the kids because that’s the most important thing. The kids are the most important.”

McKitthan noted that next year’s event will be April 15th and encouraged people to mark it on their calendars. She said they are also planning a fun family event at the Dove House on September 17, and everyone in the community is invited to come and help them celebrate 20 years of serving the children of Iredell and Alexander County.

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