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Program supporting abused and neglected children at risk of closing

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 8:16 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Project Safe and Growing is a local, non-profit that provides a free therapeutic day treatment program to children 3-7 years old. The children enrolled are victims of crime, such as neglect and abuse.

Program Director Courtney Goodballet says due to lack of funding and government cuts, the program is now in jeopardy of closing.

“Right now we are 55 percent less than what we are usually funded and that is causing a big dent in our program,” said Goodballet.

According to the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Task Force, the next closest program similar to Project Safe and Growing is over 700 miles away. The task force is asking the community for help to prevent the reduction of necessary services to this specialized population of children. It has been around for 22 years.

“We can see the physical abuse; we know there’s neglect but when all is said and done...there is trauma that remains trapped inside the body. So, we do our best to heal the children while they’re here,” Goodballet states. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Child Abuse & Neglect Prevention Task Force.

“Every day brings a new journey, every day brings new experiences and its exciting, that’s why I do it. Just the kids, it is so fun getting to see their different personalities and their interests. You learn a lot with them, and they teach you which is another reason I love being here, because I’m constantly learning from them as much as they’re learning from us,” Taylor Dewees & Jamie Leimer tell us. They are lead therapeutic teachers with this non-profit.

Goodballet says if 200,000 dollars isn’t raised before July 1, the start of the fiscal year, services will have to end, as she details, “There’s honestly no telling where these children will go, where these families would turn to because, not only do we offer day treatment here, but a lot of families rely on our speech therapists, occupational therapists as well as our early childhood trauma-informed therapists, right here on these same grounds.”

This agency works year-round, serving up to 36 kids a day. They’re enrolled four days a week through referral partners.

Maybe you’re an abuse survivor with the ability to give, or your corporation is willing to host a fundraiser. No amount is too little to support the life-saving work of helping children overcome trauma.

“If we could get 2,000 citizens here in Washoe County, or if you know a friend anywhere, to donate $100 or any monetary amount. We are open to donations. We need gas cards, Costco gift cards, and anything that supports our children being able to come here and heal for free,” added Goodballet.

For more information about Project Safe and Growing or how to donate, visit the organization’s website.

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