Clarissa Burt
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Childhelp 55 Years of Helping Abused Children

Childhelp Celebrates 55 Years of Helping Abused Children
By Eman Fendi for Clarissa International Media Group

 

Clarissa BurtAbused children feel unloved, unappreciated and unattractive, and are left with a damaged self esteem. Being a child is hard enough, but being abused makes them lose a large part of themselves. For the last fifty-five years Childhelp, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending child abuse, helps these children feel whole again.   Their mission is to meet the physical, emotional, educational and spiritual needs of abused, neglected and at-risk children.

For more than four decades, founders Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson have dedicated their lives to helping children all across the globe. To date, they have helped over four million children and have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize multiple times.  Both O’Meara and Fedderson came from very successful careers in film, television and theater. At a government-sponsored trip to Japan in 1959, they were faced with an unexpected turn of events while they were visiting the troops. After a typhoon hit Tokyo, they came across a group of children without parents and immediately took these children in to their hotel room and made it their obligation to place them into an orphanage the next day. What these actresses didn’t realize was that this random act of kindness would turn into a beacon of hope for so many children around the globe. It was from then on that O’Meara and Fedderson decided to dedicate their lives toward helping children and decided to launch Childhelp.

Enter Childhelp Wings, a program that focuses on inspiring youth to join Childhelp and prevent child abuse. As unfortunate as it is, child abuse is still very prominent including physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Childhelp Wings ambassadors contribute time and effort into raising awareness about neglected children as well as play a crucial role in supporting others who share the unfortunate pain of suffering as kids.

“We believe unconditional love is the foundation upon which all healing begins,” say Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson. “At Childhelp, we provide each and every child with unconditional love and kindness and remind them how truly precious they are. Childhelp believes that every child has a unique contribution to make to the world. We do everything within our power to help each child heal and develop self-esteem to reach their God-given potential.”

Most recently, Childhelp Wings held its “Fashion Through The Ages” luncheon and fashion show at the JW Marriot Camelback Inn in Scottsdale. The show chronicled the development of Childhelp along with the fashions in each decade, beginning in the ‘50s and ending in the ‘90s. Fashion by Robert Black, Peek for Kids, and Annie Boomer Vintage were just a few of the designers featured on the runway. A decadent lunch, fashion show and positive message were all included in the agenda in addition to an appearance by celebrity guest Raven Symoné, who hosted the show. “No matter what religion, culture or color, everyone was once a kid and should do something about it [child abuse],” said Symoné. “I grew up in a very interesting industry and understand wanting to do something but feeling restricted.”

Throughout the fashion show, former Disney star Symoné kept the crowd engaged and entertained as she shared a few laughs with the audience as well as fun facts about every model walking down the runway. A successful silent and live auction was also included in the event.

Nothing is more heart warming than watching a child grow strong and beautiful, and according Carol Hebets, the Vice President of Childhelp National Board and founding mother of Childhelp Wings, that is why Childhelp began. “We have set the standards for all the response protocol when child abuse is reported,” said Hebets in an email. “Finally, through the delivery of high-touch, loving and personalized care and treatment through CHILDHELP group homes, foster care, and residential villages, we at CHILDHELP are the only organization of its kind who truly delivers the full spectrum of services to our nation’s most vulnerable children.”

And as simple as that sounds, it’s unfortunate that many children do not feel loved. Statistics show that a report of child abuse is made every ten seconds and more than four children die every day from it. The good news is that Childhelp has helped over four million children around the world and more importantly, abuse prevention and treatment programs are consistently growing and expanding every day.

 

To see what you can do and help a child today, visit childhelp.org.

By Eman Fendi for Clarissa International Media Group

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