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Mingo Woman’s Club welcomes director of A Caring Place

Contributed GUEST SPEAKER — Stephanie Rouse, left, first vice president of the GFWC Woman’s Club of Mingo, and club President Sharon Cole-Isner, right, welcomed guest speaker Marisa Bortz, advocate and director of A Caring Place Child Advocacy Center, to the club’s April meeting. The trio are holding pinwheels in observance of April being Child Abuse Prevention Month.

MINGO JUNCTION — The GFWC Woman’s Club of Mingo held its April meeting at Bay Six’s conference room on Commercial Street in Mingo Junction.

President Sharon Cole-Isner gave the welcome. The opening prayer was given by Roetta Lewis, Kathy Maguschak led the Club Collect and Shelly Bateman led the members in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.

Rouse introduced guest speaker, Marisa Bortz, advocate and director of A Caring Place Child Advocacy Center located at 705 Canton Road, Wintersville.

Bortz, who has been with the agency for about three years, explained that the mission of A Caring Place is to be a leading advocate in the healing and prevention of child abuse.

She cited various statistics, including that one in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday; 25 to 30 percent will be abused by someone the caretaker brings into the home; and almost 90 percent of children are abused by someone they know.

At A Caring Place the children are recorded for the comfort of the child so they won’t have the traumatic experience of repeating the story over and over to the many agencies that would be involved in a case, she noted. The center also provides counseling to the children.

A Caring Place is a nonprofit organization and receives grant funding and donations from the community. It is an agency of the United Way of Jefferson County.

It facilitates the Jefferson County Multidisciplinary Team, according to Bortz, which allows for community collaboration to ensure that each child victim and their family receives the comprehensive care they need.

The center also sponsors a fundraiser, and all donations are welcomed.

Bortz noted the center aids about 100 children per year with that number down slightly the past year.

Child abuse is preventable, she continued, and must be reported. Anyone can report suspected child abuse or neglect by contacting the Jefferson County Department of Job and Family Children Services Divisions, local law enforcement agencies or call 911. Proof of abuse and neglect is not required to make a report, Bortz explained, and a report can be made anonymously.

Bortz added that it should never hurt to be a child. Brochures were distributed to members.

Cole-Isner and Rouse planted pinwheels at the south entrance to Mingo Junction, at the municipal building and at the corner of Commercial Street and McLister Avenue. The speaker donated additional pinwheels and they will be distributed around town and some given to members to plant at their home. Pinwheels are meant to represent healthy, happy childhoods and constitute the official symbol of child abuse prevention..

The club voted to make a donation to A Caring Place.

During the meeting Kathy Maguschak gave the treasurer’s report. Correspondence was read by Rouse, which involved requests for donations.

Cole-Isner read a thank-you note from Marybeth Allan, president of the Southeast District GFWC/Ohio, thanking the club for its participation in Legislation Day on March 27.

It was announced that the club received two state awards — one for reporting and one for special recognition for the Buckeye Magazine. Janet Petrella and Rouse met for the virtual meeting.

Rouse reported that the Rada Cutlery sale is ongoing and anyone with orders can contact her. Maguschak will give a report on the sales at the May meeting.

Cole-Isner distributed literature in regard to the Pioneer Workers virtual meeting and the ESO meetings. Both be Zoom meetings.

Members planned to meet April 24 at Bay 6 for the Zoom meeting of the OFWC convention.

Masks were worn, and social distancing was observed.

The club will not have a May banquet this year. A regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on May 13 at Bay 6 with dinner furnished by the board. The speaker will be Willie McKenzie, Mingo Junction’s new police chief.

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