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Letter: Consider supporting advocacy center

It is amazing how funding is at the heart of most things and the higher up you go in an agency the more it colors everything. As the director of the Family Advocacy Center of Northern Minnesota (FACNM), I know I have a cause worth supporting so today I'm going to try and explain, straight from the heart.

When I talk to people about what I do the response I typically hear is, "I could never do a job like that. How do you do it?"

I sat down to interview a 3-year-old that was covered in bruises. There wasn't one inch of his little body that didn't have a fresh injury or an old scar. I could see the white scars on his scalp through his dark hair. A chunk of his upper ear was gashed. The injury pattern on his tummy appeared to be multiple cigarette burns. He was cognitively delayed, most likely because he and his sister were kept in a room and never talked to. When I asked him about his "owies" all he could say was, "Mommy be mean." I do this work because of this child. If my center wasn't here where would he go?

I interviewed a 6-year-old girl whose stepfather was sexually abusing her. During her interview she wet her pants as she described how scared she was of him. I do this work because of this child. Who would she talk to if my Center wasn't here?

I do this work because of the nearly 200 physically and sexually abused children that walk through my center's door every year. I do this work because I believe these children need a child-friendly environment where they feel safe and welcomed. I do this work because I wouldn't want my children or anyone else's children to be shuttled all over town, first to a social service office or police station to talk about their victimization then to a doctor's office for a medical exam. I do this work because I know that my center is the only Center of its kind in Northern Minnesota.

Perhaps you would never want my job - the thought of sitting down with children and listening to them explain their most frightening and devastating victimization is tough to wrap your head around. But perhaps you want to support my work.

Every abused child deserves a new beginning. Our services and programs are not possible without your support. If you have any discretion in your year-end giving, I hope you will consider the Family Advocacy Center of Northern Minnesota.

If you're reading this sentence it means that you made it through the end of my letter. I appreciate your and your willingness to take the time to read this.

Aria Trudeau, MS

Executive Director, Family Advocacy Center of Northern Minnesota