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One hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in my bank account, nor what my clothes looked like. But the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.
- Forest E. Witcraft
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KeeYoung Boyd

KeeYoung Boyd

Website URL: E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center held its first ever major fundraising event, “Raisin’ the Roof”, on June 9th at the Music Road Hotel & Convention Center.  And, the crowd turned out in mass.  The banquet facility was seated at almost capacity with a crowd ranging from longtime Safe Harbor supporters to those that have only recently learned of the organization’s work serving child-victims of severe abuse in Jefferson and the other three counties of the Fourth Judicial District.

Coach Pat Summitt, head coach of the Tennessee Lady Volunteer’s basketball team, served as guest speaker of the evening’s event and was joined by Jay Adams of Mix 105.5FM as the master of ceremonies.  Between the silent auction, live auction, table sales and corporate/private sponsorships of the event, the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center raised over $60,000 to begin building the first state-of-the-art facility to provide forensic interviews, forensic medical exams, counseling and education services for child-victims of severe abuse in Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Sevier counties and their non-offending family members. 

“We had a great turnout and a great time”, states Barry Fain, a charter member and president of Safe Harbor’s board of directors.  “Coach Summitt gave a heartfelt presentation to our audience.  But, I think Collin Raye’s video was the real attention getter.”  The Eleventh Commandment is a specially produced music video by Collin Raye depicting the severe impact of abuse on children in our society, ranging from sexual abuse to severe physical abuse and neglect.

“Collin Raye’s video really speaks to its viewers”, interjects Arthur Bohanan, a charter member of Safe Harbor’s board of directors and nationally recognized forensics expert.  “I saw several eyes welling up with tears in the audience, as the video concluded and Coach Summitt prepared to address the crowd.”

“We are extremely grateful that Judge Strand and other representatives from Jefferson County were able to join us for the evening”, says Donna Koester, a charter member and executive director for Safe Harbor.  “Judge Strand and the other judges in our district have been extremely supportive of our efforts to help child-victims of abuse in our four county district.”

The “Raisin’ the Roof” gala to benefit Safe Harbor was jointly sponsored by: Apple Valley Comfort Inn; Black Bear Jamboree Chef’s Catering; Jim & Kati Blalock; Burchfiel-Overbay Associates; Citizens National Bank; Colonial Real Estate; Gary Woods Photography; Mix 105.5; The Mountain Press; Music Road Hotel & Convention Center; Natural Kneads Therapeutic Massage; Riverside Towers; Sevier County Bank; Sevier County Bar Association; Thompson-Carr; Tom & Diandra Trotter; and Williams Heating & Air.

     To learn more about the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center, contact their executive director, Donna Koester, by phone at (865) 453-2638 or e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  More information is also available on the organization’s website at www.SafeHarborCAC.com.  Safe Harbor is continually looking for volunteers with various talents and gifts to help meet the non-profit’s mission serving child-victims of severe abuse in Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Sevier counties.  Statistics indicate that jurisdictions with a functioning child advocacy center typically have higher rates of prosecution for perpetrators with longer sentences being served.

© The Newport Plain Talk

 

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THE MOUNTAIN PRESS

 

Kids Count report: Sevier has high child abuse numbers, offers solid prenatal care

September 25, 2006

by Joel Davis, Staff Writer

 

SEVIER COUNTY - With the publication of the Kids Count 2005 report, attention continues to be focused on the state of Sevier County's children.

 

Results were mixed with Sevier County doing better in some categories than its neighbors and the state and worse is others, but County Mayor Larry Waters said more work needed to be done.

"All the areas need to be improved," he said "We need to work on improving all the areas when it comes to the categories they are measuring."

For example, the county was rated better in the availability of adequate prenatal care than the state, but more needs to be done to insure the health of local mothers and their children.

Getting the word out about the importance of prenatal care is key, said Teresa Edens, a registered nurse who works in the Fort Sanders Sevier Medical Center birthing center.

"What I initially see is two groups not getting adequate prenatal care are the Hispanic population and the teenage mothers," she said. "The biggest concern is just trying to get people in to see a doctor when they become pregnant."

Cultural and language barriers play a role, Edens said.Health Department Director Mickey Roberts told The Mountain Press in early 2006, about a survey of women in 16 East Tennessee counties about services such as prenatal care indicated that a portion of women only believed in going to the doctor when they were sick.

Sevier County also had the highest average child abuse rate, 7.8, of the four counties for the 2001-2003 time period; however, Waters said that child abuse prevention and advocacy measures have gained momentum in recent years with plans to build the
Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center, a nonprofit organization that would serve children in the four counties that comprise Tennessee's 4th Judicial District.

One key to the success of
Safe Harbor is fulfilling the need for volunteers. Anyone interested can contact Koester at 453-2638 or e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Safe Harbor's Web site is www.SafeHarborCAC.com.

When it comes to education, Sevier County had the highest drop-out rate, 1.8 per thousand, for 2003 of its neighbors, but is well below the state rate of 3.0.

Debra Cline, the director of curriculum and instruction for Sevier County Schools, said the county system is working hard to keep students in school.

"We're doing a lot of things at the high school level to provide support programs for students who might be at risk," she said. "For example, we have implemented Freshman Academies at Seymour and Sevier County High Schools. It's designed to provide support for students as they make the transition to high school and also give them some real adult contact in a meaningful way."

Sevier County also did well when it came to the numbers of school suspensions in 2003 with the lowest rate of its neighbors.

Cline attributed the low rate to an assertive discipline program to communicate behavioral expectations to students and making consequences of behavior meaningful to them.

"Those things have positively impacted the behaviors in our buildings," she said.

Allen Newton, executive director of the Sevier County Economic Development Council, said the county has implemented long-term projects to help the children of the county.

One example is the Partners in Progress scholarship program the county funds, Newton said.

"Education is the key," he said.

The program, first offered in 2003, is funded by the governments of Sevier County, Gatlinburg, Sevierville and Pigeon Forge along with private donations. High school students from Sevier County with a 2.7 GPA can receive up to two years tuition at Walters State.

The Partners in Progress scholarship is a "last dollar" scholarship, meaning that it pays after all other financial aid sources - Pell grants, Walters State Foundation scholarships, Hope Lottery scholarships, etc. - have paid.

The Sevier First "smart card" project, designed to provide financial help for uninsured local residents, will also be beneficial to children in the community.

The card will operate like a debit card, accessing a $250-or-more balance provided by the recipient's employer to pay for health care at the Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic in Sevierville.

The clinic is a nonprofit, faith-based center that provides medical care to uninsured residents of Sevier County.

The program will allow companies that do not offer health insurance benefits to begin helping their employees.

"The family will be on the card, it would cover kids," Newton said. "What we tried to do was make it as inclusive as possible with what we can do."

In addition, the state of Tennessee is developing the planned CoverKids program to extend comprehensive health coverage to every uninsured child in Tennessee.

The KIDS COUNT National Data Book is available on the Internet at www.kidscount.org or through TCCY's Web site (www.state.tn.us/tccy). The KIDS COUNT program is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to disadvantaged children. For more information call (615) 741-2633.

* jwdavis @themountainpress.com

   Stopping child abuse is a community effort.  An event held August 26 was a prime example of that, when the Red Dragon Martial Arts Center’s staff and students conducted their Tournament of Champions.  $10.00 of each entry fee was donated to the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center of Tennessee’s Fourth Judicial District to help child-victims of severe abuse and neglect, including child sexual abuse.

    “We are very grateful to Mr. Whitworth, as well as his staff and students at Red Dragon Martial Arts for their support”, said Barry Fain, a charter member and president of Safe Harbor’s board of directors.  “Red Dragon’s students turned out in force, not only to compete in this tournament, but to support other youth that have been fallen victim to sexual abuse, severe physical abuse and neglect.  That makes for true champions in my book.”

    Students competed in a host of categories, with everyone taking home a medal.  But, the real winners of the day’s events are the substantial number of children throughout the Fourth Judicial District (Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson & Sevier counties).

    “We hope to see even more businesses throughout the district step up and help Safe Harbor raise awareness of the crisis of abuse facing our children.  The more we keep the issues of severe abuse and neglect in the public’s consciousness, the more responsive we will become and the better we will be able to serve these child-victims”, adds Donna Koester, Safe Harbor’s executive director.  Safe Harbor currently has other events in the planning stages with businesses and organizations in the judicial district.  Local residents are encouraged to watch for details of these events. 

    The Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to serve child-victims of severe abuse and neglect, ages birth through 17 years of age, in the four counties that comprise Tennessee’s Fourth Judicial District.  Safe Harbor is continually looking for volunteers to help fulfill their mission.  Everyone has a gift or talent that can help the children of the Fourth Judicial District.  To learn more, contact Donna Koester by phone at (865) 453-2638 or e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  You may also visit Safe Harbor’s website at www.SafeHarborCAC.com.

    Stopping child abuse is a community effort.  August 26, 2006 was a prime example of that, when the Red Dragon Martial Arts Center’s staff and students conducted their Tournament of Champions.  $10.00 of each entry fee was donated to the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center of Tennessee’s Fourth Judicial District to help child-victims of severe abuse and neglect, including child sexual abuse.

    “We are very grateful to Mr. Whitworth, as well as his staff and students at Red Dragon Martial Arts for their support on August 26th”, said Barry Fain, a charter member and president of Safe Harbor’s board of directors.  “Red Dragon’s students turned out in force, not only to compete in this tournament, but to support other youth that have been fallen victim to sexual abuse, severe physical abuse and neglect.  That makes for true champions in my book.”

    Students competed in a host of categories, with everyone taking home a medal.  But, the real winners of the day’s events are the substantial number of children throughout the Fourth Judicial District (Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson & Sevier counties) that have fallen and continue to fall victim to severe abuse and/or neglect.

    “We hope to see even more businesses throughout the district step up and help Safe Harbor raise awareness of the crisis of abuse facing our children.  The more we keep the issues of severe abuse and neglect in the public’s consciousness, the more responsive we will become and the better we will be able to serve these child-victims”, adds Donna Koester, Safe Harbor’s executive director.  Safe Harbor currently has other events in the planning stages with businesses and organizations in the judicial district.  Keep an eye out for future events that you may attend and support Safe Harbor and their volunteer efforts to help child-victims of severe abuse and neglect. 

    The Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to serve child-victims of severe abuse and neglect, ages birth through 17 years of age, in the four counties that comprise Tennessee’s Fourth Judicial District.  Safe Harbor is continually looking for volunteers to help fulfill their mission.  Everyone has a gift or talent that can help the children of the Fourth Judicial District.  To learn more, contact Donna Koester by phone at (865) 453-2638 or e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  You may also visit Safe Harbor’s website at www.SafeHarborCAC.com.

 

   How do you stamp out child abuse?  It’s a community effort.  And, that is precisely what the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center of Tennessee’s Fourth Judicial District and the Red Dragon Martial Arts Center of Jefferson City are emphasizing this month. 

   On August 26th, Red Dragon will be holding its Tournament of Champions, beginning at 10:00am in their studio located at 723 East Main Street in Jefferson City.  Ten dollars ($10.00) per student from the enrollment fee for each event in which they compete will be donated to the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center to help serve child-victims of sexual abuse, severe physical abuse and severe neglect in Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Sevier counties.  Students will be able to showcase the many talents they have acquired during their studies at Red Dragon, while indirectly helping the child-victims of our area to move past significant traumas in their lives.

   “We are very excited about this opportunity to collaborate with Bill Whitworth, his staff and students at Red Dragon Martial Arts to increase awareness in our district and raise money to combat child abuse”, says Barry Fain, charter member and president of Safe Harbor’s board of directors.  “This is a prime example of members of our community stepping forward to help some of the most defenseless members of our society that are truly in needs of help.” 

   “Red Dragon is one of many groups that are taking the initiative to help us stamp out child abuse in our area”, adds Donna Koester, a charter member and executive director of Safe Harbor.  “We are very grateful to the staff of Red Dragon, their students and the parents for joining us in this endeavor to raise awareness and funding for child-victims of severe abuse.”

   “We (Safe Harbor) welcome the possibility to discuss opportunities to collaborate with our friends and neighbors in the business and civic communities to help combat child abuse in our area”, concludes Fain.  “With SafeHarbor serving the four counties of Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Sevier and Red Dragon also serving students in the same counties, this partnership for the August 26th Tournament of Champions was an excellent opportunity for everyone.”

   The Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) non-profit youth organization established to serve child victims of abuse ranging from birth through 17 years of age.  Persons interested in learning more about Safe Harbor and/or discussing opportunities to partner with Safe Harbor to help child-victims of severe abuse may contact their executive director, Donna Koester, by phone at (865) 453-2638 or e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Interested parties may also visit Safe Harbor’s website at www.SafeHarborCAC.com.

A portion of the proceeds from entry fees for the August 26 Tournament of Champions at Red Dragon Martial Arts in Jefferson City will be donated to Safe Harbor, the child advocacy center, and its mission to serve child victims of sexual and severe physical abuse and neglect in the 4th Judicial District.

   This event, which begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. will raise awareness about Safe Harbor’s work, while it encourages other area businesses to join forces with Safe Harbor on behalf of abused children.

Three Cheers for 8/19/06

 

Day of Caring proves successful again

 

It's called Day of Caring, an appropriate name for an event that puts volunteers together with agencies that have a real need for help. The Sevier County United Way holds a Day of Caring each summer to help usher in its annual fund-raising effort. This year dozens of volunteers fanned out over several agencies that are United Way members to paint, clean up brush, fix what's broken and do some beautification where needed.

 

The member agencies of United Way provide a valuable service to this community. Thousands of residents are helped every year through such agencies as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Red Cross, SafeSpace and Safe Harbor. But those agencies operate with limited resources. They depend on, in fact they rely on, volunteer help year-round.

The Day of Caring allows volunteers to take a few hours out of their lives to assists these agencies in meaningful ways. A little sweat equity never hurt anybody. And the rewards are in public service and contributing to a better Sevier County. United Way's annual campaign is off and running, and the Day of Caring once again was a great way to get it all started

The Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center held its first ever major fundraising event, “Raisin’ the Roof”, on June 9th at the Music Road Hotel & Convention Center.  And, the crowd turned out in mass.  The banquet facility was seated at almost capacity with a crowd ranging from longtime Safe Harbor supporters to those that have only recently learned of the organization’s work serving child-victims of severe abuse in Jefferson and the other three counties of the Fourth Judicial District.

Coach Pat Summitt, head coach of the Tennessee Lady Volunteer’s basketball team, served as guest speaker of the evening’s event and was joined by Jay Adams of Mix 105.5FM as the master of ceremonies.  Between the silent auction, live auction, table sales and corporate/private sponsorships of the event, the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center raised over $60,000 to begin building the first state-of-the-art facility to provide forensic interviews, forensic medical exams, counseling and education services for child-victims of severe abuse in Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Sevier counties and their non-offending family members. 

“We had a great turnout and a great time”, states Barry Fain, a charter member and president of Safe Harbor’s board of directors.  “Coach Summitt gave a heartfelt presentation to our audience.  But, I think Collin Raye’s video was the real attention getter.”  The Eleventh Commandment is a specially produced music video by Collin Raye depicting the severe impact of abuse on children in our society, ranging from sexual abuse to severe physical abuse and neglect.

“Collin Raye’s video really speaks to its viewers”, interjects Arthur Bohanan, a charter member of Safe Harbor’s board of directors and nationally recognized forensics expert.  “I saw several eyes welling up with tears in the audience, as the video concluded and Coach Summitt prepared to address the crowd.”

“We are extremely grateful that Judge Strand and other representatives from Jefferson County were able to join us for the evening”, says Donna Koester, a charter member and executive director for Safe Harbor.  “Judge Strand and the other judges in our district have been extremely supportive of our efforts to help child-victims of abuse in our four county district.”

The “Raisin’ the Roof” gala to benefit Safe Harbor was jointly sponsored by: Apple Valley Comfort Inn; Black Bear Jamboree Chef’s Catering; Jim & Kati Blalock; Burchfiel-Overbay Associates; Citizens National Bank; Colonial Real Estate; Gary Woods Photography; Mix 105.5; The Mountain Press; Music Road Hotel & Convention Center; Natural Kneads Therapeutic Massage; Riverside Towers; Sevier County Bank; Sevier County Bar Association; Thompson-Carr; Tom & Diandra Trotter; and Williams Heating & Air.

To learn more about the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center, contact their executive director, Donna Koester, by phone at (865) 453-2638 or e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  More information is also available on the organization’s website at www.SafeHarborCAC.comSafe Harbor is continually looking for volunteers with various talents and gifts to help meet the non-profit’s mission serving child-victims of severe abuse in Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Sevier counties.  Statistics indicate that jurisdictions with a functioning child advocacy center typically have higher rates of prosecution for perpetrators with longer sentences being served.

Staff and volunteers with the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center are continuing to recruit volunteers in Tennessee’s Fourth Judicial District, including Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Sevier counties.  Recently, employees and volunteers of Safe Harbor staffed an information booth at the 2006 Rhythm in the Hills event in Pigeon Forge over the Memorial Day weekend.

Persons staffing the booth talked to attendees of the three day event and handed out flyers to passersby to inform them about the non-profit organization’s mission and services.  Information disseminated to event spectators outlined statistics of abuse in the district as a whole, as well as a breakdown by county, even specifying the estimated number of children 0-18 years old that have been impacted by cases of confirmed abuse.  In one recent twelve month period, Cocke County experienced 1,118 cases of confirmed abuse or neglect, roughly fourteen percent (14%) of the children estimated to be living in the county.

Safe Harbor’s board of directors is currently raising funds to build their first state-of-the-art facility to serve child-victims of sexual abuse, as well as severe physical abuse and neglect.  A long-term lease has been signed for property on which to locate their first facility.  The organization is presently raising capital to begin construction on the facility, which will house investigators, a specially-trained child forensic interviewer and medical facilities for forensic medical examinations by contracted professionals.

Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) non-profit.  To learn more about Safe Harbor, volunteer your time and talents to aid child-victims of abuse, or to make a tax-deductible contribution to support their work with child-victims of severe abuse, please contact their executive director, Donna Koester, at (865) 453-2638, email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit their website at www.SafeHarborCAC.com.   

Remember Safe Harbor’s motto, “It shouldn’t hurt to be a child!”  You can make the difference in the life of a child.

Staff and volunteers with the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center continue to recruit volunteers in Tennessee’s Fourth Judicial District, which includes Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Sevier counties. Recently, employees and volunteers with Safe Harbor staffed an information booth at the 2006 Rhythm in the Hills event in Pigeon Forge during the Memorial Day weekend.

    Persons staffing the booth talked to attendees of the three-day event and handed out flyers to passersby to inform them about the non-profit organization’s mission and services.  Information passed out to event spectators outlined statistics of abuse in the district as a whole, as well as a breakdown by county, even specifying the estimated number of children up to age 18 who have been impacted by cases of confirmed abuse. In one 12-month period, the 4th Judicial District recorded 5,334 total cases of confirmed abuse or neglect. That total broke down to 2,088 in Sevier County, 1,118 in Cocke County, 567 in Grainger County, and 1,561 in Jefferson. Sevier abuse cases represented roughly 11 percent of the children estimated to be living in the county.

    Safe Harbor’s board of directors is raising funds to build its first state-of-the-art facility to serve child victims of sexual abuse, as well as severe physical abuse and neglect. See “Pat Summitt helps to raise CAC’s roof” in today’s edition of The Herald for more information about Safe Harbor’s efforts toward establishing the district’s first Child Advocacy Center.

    Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center is an IRS approved 501 (c)(3) non-profit. To learn more about Safe Harbor, volunteer your time and talents to aid child-victims of abuse, or to make a tax-deductible contribution to support their work with child victims of severe abuse, contact executive director Donna Koester, at (865) 453-2638, email DonnaKoester  @  charter.net or visit their Web site at www.SafeHarborCAC.com.

    Staff and volunteers with the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center continue to recruit volunteers in Tennessee’s Fourth Judicial District, which includes Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Sevier counties. Recently, employees and volunteers with Safe Harbor staffed an information booth at the 2006 Rhythm in the Hills event in Pigeon Forge during the Memorial Day weekend.

    Persons staffing the booth talked to attendees of the three-day event and handed out flyers to passersby to inform them about the non-profit organization’s mission and services.  Information passed out to event spectators outlined statistics of abuse in the district as a whole, as well as a breakdown by county, even specifying the estimated number of children up to age 18 who have been impacted by cases of confirmed abuse. In one 12-month period, the 4th Judicial District recorded 5,334 total cases of confirmed abuse or neglect. That total broke down to 2,088 in Sevier County, 1,118 in Cocke County, 567 in Grainger County, and 1,561 in Jefferson. Sevier abuse cases represented roughly 11 percent of the children estimated to be living in the county.

    Safe Harbor’s board of directors is raising funds to build its first state-of-the-art facility to serve child victims of sexual abuse, as well as severe physical abuse and neglect. See “Pat Summitt helps to raise CAC’s roof” in today’s edition of The Herald for more information about Safe Harbor’s efforts toward establishing the district’s first Child Advocacy Center.

    Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center is an IRS approved 501 (c)(3) non-profit. To learn more about Safe Harbor, volunteer your time and talents to aid child-victims of abuse, or to make a tax-deductible contribution to support their work with child victims of severe abuse, contact executive director Donna Koester, at (865) 453-2638, email DonnaKoester @ charter.net or visit their Web site at www.SafeHarborCAC.com.

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