BECKLEY, W.V. (LOOTPRESS) – Beckley’s Just For Kids Advocacy Center- which operates within Raleigh and Fayette Counties with the continual mission to create a safe environment for children and families by preventing and responding to child abuse- has big plans for 2022.
For many years, the center has been using office space in downtown Beckley but Scott Miller, Director of Just For Kids Advocacy Center, says it can be hard for children who have experienced trauma to be in such a stark environment.
“We see everyday children who are in trauma and our job is to help reduce that trauma,” Miller stated. “For many kids, coming to an office building is not big deal but for some kids, getting in an elevator can be a traumatic experience.”
With this in mind, Miller says the center’s former assistant director, Trudy Laurenson, who recently passed away, dreamed of finding a place that felt more like a home than an office.
“She died and the board felt that there needed to be some way that we could recognize her contribution to the field. We started to look at moving forward with finding a new location.”
When the historic Ambrosia Inn on North Kanawha Street went up for sale toward the end of 2021, Miller says the center knew it was meant for them.
“The Ambrosia Inn came on the market, and it just seemed ideal,” he explained. “We decided to move ahead.”
Final renovations are underway at the Ambrosia property and Just For Kids hopes to be operating from the location by mid-February. Six of the center’s nine employees will work out of the new office.
“We are ready to move,” Miller exclaimed. “We are pretty excited about everything coming into place. It’s going to elevate our work. By being in a known historic site, not only does it elevate the feeling for our staff being in a nice location, but the community can see us as a valuable essential service. It allows us to expand a little bit of our services that we bring to the community, as well as more events.”
Miller shared that in addition to a new location, the center is working to launch a new capital campaign, with $200,000 of their $500,000 goal raised. They also want to provide more services catered toward adults, host sessions on the inn’s lawn in the summertime and grow current events while creating new ones.
Just For Kids Child Advocacy Center specializes in forensic interviews, family and victim’s advocacy, counseling, awareness and coordinates with law enforcement, child protective services, county prosecutors, mental health and medical personnel to support children and their families who are experiencing the trauma of child sexual abuse.