The Childhelp Children’s Center of Arizona dedicated to Linda Pope offers an array of services to abused and neglected children. With the Phoenix Police Department, the Office of Child Welfare Investigations, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office all under one roof, children are able to get the help they need quickly.
Danielle Gilmore, our Volunteer and Donor Care Coordinator, was kind enough to give us an inside look at her role, how the Advocacy Center impacts children and families, and how you can get involved to help those in need.
- Tell us about the Advocacy Center/your job and the effect it can have on America’s youth.
- The Advocacy Center is an entire Center dedicated to children. We’re an intervention and treatment center partnered with Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Department of Child Safety, Office of Child Welfare Investigations, Phoenix Police Department Crimes Against Children Unit, and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. We see kids when abuse has been reported, disclosed, or discovered to receive any initial medical exams, interviews, and receive the immediate resources they need. We also see families and children for therapy and healing after they’ve been victims of abuse. We provide a safe, inviting environment that begins once they walk through the door and continue to provide for every need that arises while they’re in our care.
- My job is basically to make sure the Center has the donations and man power it needs to excel. I coordinate all gift in kind drop offs or contributions for either our playroom, clothing closet, toy closet, seasonal needs, or therapy needs and ensure that the amazing people who donate understand the healing that takes place as a result of their gift. I also recruit and vet any volunteers or members of the community interested in getting involved or providing services to our clients. I also handle securing any special needs our Therapists, Victim Advocates, or Partners need for their clients. This can include things like passes or gift certificates to local attractions or events as well as sports equipment, car seats, or any seasonal demands (back to school kits, Halloween costumes, sweatshirts, swim trunks, etc.) or even specific classes or off-site resources. I also help make sure that our staff are taken care of. Secondary Trauma is a real thing and we do everything possible to make sure that we provide a healing environment for our clients, partners, and Childhelp staff. This can include planning semi-annual, off-site retreats, birthday/holiday celebrations, as well as simple thank you’s we can distribute in the form of gift cards, catering, or anything else that can help reduce the negative effects of their jobs.
- How has it been going so far? Have people been open to you volunteering/getting involved?
- So far, it’s been fantastic! I love almost every facet of my job; the team, the building, the children, the community partners, pretty much everything. One of the best parts of my job is the mission and it’s one that makes a real difference in the world and it’s very easy for people to grasp. I don’t think I’ve ever had someone come into the Center or learn more about us and not ask, “What can I do?” People recognize the amazing work that Childhelp does and they flock to it. It’s very different than places I’ve worked in the past where it felt like we had to pull teeth to get people involved. Here, it’s so easy to communicate the healing that’s possible and the hope that comes out of a terrible, horrendous situation. People want to help and I love being somewhere that gives them easy ways to make a real difference.
- What drew you to become involved with Childhelp?
- I became involved with Childhelp as a volunteer for around 6 months before I applied for the job. I was actually finishing my degree at ASU and had solidified my plans for my final internship, which was fantastic but was with an organization that just didn’t have a mission that I was very passionate about. I was excited but still wanted to be somewhere where I could work with foster children or at-risk youth (my real passion). I came across Childhelp in a journal I was using for a final thesis and when I looked them up realized they had the Advocacy Center here in Phoenix and I reached out just to get more information. Within two weeks I was starting my volunteer training. I was driven to become further involved with Childhelp as a staff member, really, because I learned that most people had been with the Center for years and were still passionate. That’s extremely rare in direct service and even more so in the traumatic situations Childhelp handles. The fact that they had been in operation for over 50 years and had little burn out was astounding to me. Now that I’m staff, I see why. We work collectively, nothing is siloed. You’re surrounded constantly by individuals for 5+ departments across countless jurisdictions all united to help a single child at a time. The focus always has been, and remains, on the child and their needs. It’s hard to get caught up in workplace drama when everyone is here for the same reason and is empowered and supported every step of the way.
- What makes your program unique in the child abuse prevention landscape?
- The Center’s partnerships are really what sets it apart. Nowhere else have I ever seen different departments and agencies work so well together. The level of care our clients receive truly is top of the field because our partners are. Everyone is encouraged to be better, to do better, and to help each other be better. Their unity is astounding and I’m so blessed to be a part of it.
- If a group is interested in getting more information, how can they contact you?
- If anyone is interested in getting more involved, we’d love to have you! We have a variety of opportunities and I can provide you with all of that if you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Center at 602-271-4500. Looking forward to hearing from you!