Childhelp chapters offer compassionate hearts the chance to build dreams for abused and neglected children throughout the country and right here in our community. These boys and girls who have survived some of the worst harm in the world deserve our collective love to recover from their injuries, reclaim their self-esteem and rejoin life as happy, healthy survivors on a productive path to brighter futures.
As an abuse survivor and president of the Childhelp Hudson Valley NY Chapter, I know that a few remarkable people can offer hope and healing to countless children. I began a North East Coast Childhelp chapter in New York State in 2011. Growing up in the Hudson Valley, I realize that even the most idyllic towns can keep secrets that require brave citizens of the community to step up and create lasting change. Our team of dedicated volunteers is steadily building momentum but we want to keep growing. We foster strong relationships between parents and children, so the whole family is welcome to join in this powerful movement.
Our team members are active and engaged! We raise awareness about child abuse at street/county fairs, parades, on the radio (with conscientious stations such as K104.7, Thunder 102.1, and Drive FX 94.1) and we partner with other organizations that positively influence the lives of children. To kick off National Child Abuse Prevention Month (April) we unite our community by raising awareness and contributions to this critical cause by selling dollar donations cards. We also host benefits that immediately impact our region by supporting the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-CHILD). This 24 hr. a day, 7 day a week service ensures that children in our community can speak directly with a professional crisis counselor who can save his or her life on the other end of the line.
Best of all, as we help kids, we have fun! Our annual Childhelp Hudson Valley NY Chapter "DIVA FEVA" Beauty Pageant is held every May. Contestants partake in formal/informal runway attire, talent, panel interview, Childhelp Public Service Announcement, and community service participation to earn the HVNY CHILDHELP DIVA crown. In conjunction with the pageant we also team up with Applebee's Bar and Grill for our annual "New York Royalty Serves up a Short Stack for a Tall Cause—Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect." During a year reign, title holders are required to serve as Childhelp Ambassadors demonstrating our motto to radiate "Inner Sparkle Outer Fabulous". This celebration of inner beauty is our chapter's most successful fundraising event.
In the winter of 2012 we had our first annual Childhelp "Love Your Li'l Sweetheart" Dance Gala, a spinoff of a Sadie Hawkins dance, where we encourage the positive bonding of parent/guardian and child. Family events that benefit the children we love create the perfect pairing of philanthropy and positive memories that last a lifetime.
Through all of our events and activism, the Childhelp Hudson Valley NY Chapter's greatest upcoming goal is to utilize funds locally by implementing Childhelp Speak Up, Be Safe prevention education curriculum in each school district across New York State. Imagine every child having the tools to understand what constitutes abuse and the empowerment to stop it. Together, we can break the silence of this epidemic and give children strong voices.
Our core mission is to ensure every child experiences L.O.V.E which stands for: Listen Observe Validate and Embrace your children. Help us stop child abuse and give broken children the wings to fly and the spirit to reach their God-given potential. We are a small group of people making a big difference. Our collective belief is that it should never hurt to be a child. We live each day inspired by the Childhelp motto: for the love of a child.
— Aimee Swift, Childhelp Hudson Valley, NY Chapter President.