Baylor Staff, Students Help Advocacy Center

April 2, 1998

An abandoned doctor's office on Columbus Avenue is once again inhabited, this time with a new mission. The building is the new home of the Advocacy Center for crime victims and children, and its new purpose is to help those who have been hurt or abused by others.

A grant from the Junior League of Waco allowed the Advocacy Center to buy this building. This awarded the center an opportunity to move all of their services into one central location. The only drawback was the need for a complete renovation on the building. Through the generosity of the Waco and Baylor communities, however, the building has quickly seen improvements.

In light of such a beneficial cause, the Baylor Staff Council decided to make the Advocacy Center its 1998 Faculty and Staff Service Project. The project's goal is to raise $2,400 by April 3 to provide a child investigation room for the District Attorney's Office.

The project idea came from Staff Council representative Donna Kennedy, an analyst/programmer in the Information Technology Center. Kennedy knows the executive director of the Advocacy Center and has previously done volunteer computer work for the group. She was aware of the need for renovation money and suggested the project idea to the Staff Council.

"It gives us an opportunity to contribute to an organization and to provide a service that hopefully we won't need but is a necessity," Kennedy said. "It allows us a chance to reach out and help reduce further traumatizing of those who have already been hurt."

In the past, the Advocacy Center sent abused children to various different locations for their post¡trauma assistance. It was a grueling experience because children had to go to the hospital, the police station, and counselors, making several trips to different locations. As a result, children and their families were emotionally and physically drained by the end of the process, Kennedy said.

With the new building, everything is under one roof: the District Attorney, doctors and counselors. The building is also designed to make the children feel more comfortable than they might in a law enforcement setting. This makes the process much easier for the children, keeping them from constantly reliving their experiences, she said.

In addition to contributions by staff and faculty, various campus organizations have contributed to making the new building a reality. Baylor Women's League recently adopted the Advocacy Center as its philanthropy. The service organization has contributed by volunteering time for office work, counseling, and general clean¡up responsibilities.

"We wanted to do work with the Advocacy Center because we wanted to help women and children," said Janie Norman, vice¡president for Baylor Women's League and a Baylor senior. "It allows us an opportunity to put our efforts towards those who haven't been given the opportunities we have been given."

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