CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - There are 68 childadvocacy centers in the state of Texas. Crockett's Kalin's center has beenhelping children for 12 years without its own space, but today is different.
"It's a big accomplishment,"said Kalin's Center Director Debbie McCall. It took a lot of weight off my shoulders."
Over the past 12 years,the center has been operating first out of Lovelady and then out of a CPAoffice in Crockett. It was McCall's vision to get the new building.
"It's not about me,it's not about our board, it's not about our employees," McCall said. "It'sabout the children and our community stood up and said we are going to takecare of them."
A $106,000 grant from theTemple Foundation, $20,000 in renovations and countless donations made itpossible.
Getting to this point wasn'teasy. In July countless donations were destroyed when vandals broke into astorage room and covered them in ink toner.
"It did set us backsome, but the community stepped up and then it didn't," said McCall. "Thecommunity stepped up and now we have all this. Everything in here was donated,everything."
Their new place gives them a private interviewroom and family room.
The local community ishappy to see this development.
"It's usually atragic situation and to make the child feel comfortable enough when they comein and tell their story and you need a story like this and not a smallconfined," said Dr. John McCall.
"It's been incredibleto have Kalin's center," said Houston County District Attorney Donna Kaspar. "It'simportant to have one locally so if anything happens to a child, you can set upan interview as quickly as possible."
"It's morecomfortable and of course we want them to feel more comfortable if their havingto talk about one of the most uncomfortable things in their life," saidCrockett Police Chief Buddy Cross.
Comfort that Kalin'scenter is more than happy to provide.
With a new home, McCallsays the group recently received a grant for a mobile interview kit that theywill allow counselors to travel to victim's homes and other places.
Even with the grants and donations,Kalin's center is always looking for more funds to continue their mission.
Saturday Sept.28 is theirannual fashion show fundraiser. There will be a catered lunch and fashion showwith all the funds from the event going to the center to help in the fightagainst child abuse.
A young lady who has experienced what many ofthe victims at the Kalin's Center have gone through will be the guest speaker.
"She's 17 and she hasgone through all of the child abuse and the trauma all her life," McCall said. "Shewanted to tell her story, and no one believed her when she first came out withthe allegations."