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Shine A Light

Child Abuse Network to host annual CANdlelight Ball this April.

By: Chris Beach | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: April 2017

Cari Marshall (Event Co-Chair), Chef Justin Thompson (Event Emcee), Ashley Hudgeons (Event Co-Chair)

Cari Marshall (Event Co-Chair), Chef Justin Thompson (Event Emcee), Ashley Hudgeons (Event Co-Chair)

The thought of even one little boy or girl in Tulsa being traumatized by a horrific act of child abuse is painful enough.  But the fact that the numbers are rapidly increasing each year – 2500 children in our community this past year alone – is absolutely heart breaking. 

Statistics show that one in 15 children is involved in a child abuse investigation in Tulsa County each year.  That equals to about two children per average-sized Tulsa classroom.

But Tulsans “CAN” fight back.  Since 1988, a growing number of volunteers and significant community partners have joined forces through the 501c3 non-profit Child Abuse Network (CAN) that teams the Tulsa Police Department, the Department of Human Services, Oklahoma University Medical Services, the District Attorney’s Office and the intervention services of the network itself to reduce the trauma children face during a child abuse investigation.

Board member Ashley Hudgeons, who is also a vice president at Hillcrest, said, “Without CAN, a child would have to be driven to each of the agencies individually and retell his or her experience at each place for each forensic interview.  The Child Abuse Network’s collaborative solution allows children to come to one location and testify once to diminish the trauma.”

Hudgeons, now in her fifth year on the board, has stepped up to co-chair CAN’s 6th Annual CANdlelight Ball hosted at the historic Mayo Hotel Friday, April 21, with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m. with dinner at 7:30, followed by a night of dancing. 

Along with co-chair Cari Marshall and honorary chairs Max and Marian Vowel, Hudgeons invites everyone to the black tie ball to celebrate the hard work of those who provide the intervention services and reflect on this community health crisis of child abuse. The event also serves as a fundraiser to help improve the network’s facility as it continues to grow.

“When the Child Abuse Network facilities were built, the need back in 1992 was to serve 40 children a month” Hudgeons says. “Now, we serve more than 50 children a week from every zip code, income level, race, ethnicity and every part of Tulsa.  The average child is 8 years old.  CAN needs as much awareness and community support as it can get.” 

The CANdlelight Ball is CAN’s primary fund-raiser.  Tickets can be purchased for $500 by phone or email at eat0@eau0eav0eaw0.  Event sponsorships begin at $1000. This year’s “Star Light, Star Bright” theme focuses on the organization’s wish for a brighter future for each child they see.

Contribute to a child’s future and reserve your spot for the CANdlelight Ball.

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