Child Advocacy Program raises over $19,000 at annual event

JAMESTOWN – The Child Advocacy Program of Chautauqua County reported another successful fundraiser. Through charitable donations and both silent and live auctions, CAP was able to collect more than $19,000 to support services for children that have been victims of abuse in Chautauqua County.

The third annual Diamond Dinner Auction was held on April 20 at the Chautauqua Golf Course in Chautauqua. The event had more than 200 people in attendance.

The Diamond Dinner Auction was created to help CAP offset the operating costs at their Jamestown and Dunkirk locations. Statistics indicate that the number of children who are abused before their 18 birthday in Chautauqua County would fill 41 school buses. Last year CAP responded to 378 cases of child abuse or 4 school buses full of children

“The support we had that evening literally brought tears to my eyes,” said Jana McDermott, executive director for CAP. “Our supporters are there for us all year, but the 2013 Diamond Dinner Auction was one for the record books,” McDermott said. A new feature added as a surprise to the 2013 event was the opportunity for event patrons to sponsor a counseling session for children that have to visit the CAP office in Jamestown or Dunkirk.

“The average cost is a little over $50 per session. We borrowed this counseling sponsorship concept from the National Child Advo-cacy Center in Huntsville, Alabama,” McDermott said. “We were able to collect over $2,000 from this counseling sponsorship drive,” she said. When asked as a group who would be willing to donate $50 and sponsor a counseling session for a child, a sea of hands arose from the crowd at the event. Some patrons even sponsored more than one session.

The counseling sponsorship drive was coupled with a silent and live auction with proceeds also going towards the nonprofit organization’s operating costs. Some featured items included original works of art, experience passes for attractions throughout the county, auto maintenance packages and more. There was also live music throughout the evening and a dazzling, three-stone diamond dinner ring donated by Brown Surveying was raffled off.

The highlight of the evening was the Champion of Children Awards that were given to two individuals that have gone above and beyond the call of duty to protect children in this community. Patrick Cunningham of Jamestown and Barbara Binkiwitz of Dunkirk received the award for 2013. Their dedication to children of all ages was commended by District Attorney David Foley during the evening. Both awardees were nominated by other members of our community.

“We cannot give enough thanks to our donors, sponsors, board and staff,” McDermott said. “Without them, we would not be here serving the children of this area.”

Sponsors of the event included Liberty Vineyards and Winery, Brown Surveying, Cummins JEP, Media One Group, Jamestown Pediatrics, Zonta Club of Jamestown, FSC Systems, Afloral.com, Lakeview Paving, DFT Communications and Moore & Myott, LLP-CPA.

For more information on the Child Advocacy Program of Chautauqua County, to hold a Stewards of Children Workshop at your organization or to sponsor a counseling session for $50, visit www.capjustice.org, www.facebook.com/capjustice or call 388-9844.