Sub-head: The Center’s president says hundreds of abuse victims in Rockwall County have been treated in the last year, but there’s still more we can all do.

Members and supporters of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Rockwall County gathered at the Rockwall Lakefront Hilton Friday evening for the “Go Blue For Kids” gala, raising funds for the center’s operations over the next year and updating supporters on the center’s accomplishments in 2018.

In addition to a charity auction with a number of impressive items, the gala’s guests enjoyed a performance by 2018 Miss USA contestant and former Miss Louisiana winner (and Rockwall native)  Laryssa Bonacquisti, who has apparently kept up with her ventriloquism and yodeling since the competition last year.

Patricia Mejia, president and CEO of the Rockwall CAC, gave a brief presentation on the centers progress in 2018, and said the center’s primary focus, other than direct aid to victims of abuse and the various agencies supporting them, is too offer a clear path of hope and healing – something she says they’ve already done for hundreds of children and their families.

“We have 370 individuals whose experiences have now been shared,” Mejia said. “They have been seen. They have been heard. They can now look to the future with hope, and an expectation and desire for something different.”

The CAC of Rockwall is a non-profit organization that works closely with law enforcement and the court system in Rockwall County to investigate, treat and prosecute child sexual, physical and mental abuse.

The center primarily aids local law enforcement and Child Protective Services by conducting formal evidence gathering interviews with victims of childhood abuse, with the help of trained professionals in child psychology and advocacy.

The center also helps provide therapy and family assistance programs to victims of abuse and their families.

Mejia said that another of the center’s major goals is to promote and facilitate healing following an incident of abuse.

“With access to the CAC, 370 children and hundreds of family members are now receiving the trauma-informed care needed to begin the journey of the healing process,” Mejia said. “This is done by memorizing revictimization, dealing with symptoms of trauma, learning tools for prevention, practicing coping mechanisms for triggers that elicit erratic behavior and strengthening child and parent relationships.”

Mejia went on to say that every member of a community has both a moral and legal responsibility to remain vigilant and watchful for the signs of abuse.

“While the CAC offers a great model for treating victims of abuse, there are ways that everyone here can help,” she said. “The law in the state of Texas indicates that every adult has a responsibility to report any suspicions of abuse. Would you see them? Would you hear them? Would you know what to do?”

To learn more about the Children’s Advocacy Center of Rockwall County’s activities and how you can contribute to its efforts, visit www.RockwallCAC.com or call 469-745-8200.