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Sunday July 5th, 2015 2:07AM

Hope and Healing fundraising gala set for Sat.

By Staff
GAINESVILLE - The Children's Center for Hope & Healing will host its fifth annual Gala for Hope & Healing on Saturday. This year's theme is The Beach, emphasizing the playful joy that the organization works to bring to the children that they serve, in the process of healing and restoring dignity to those who have been victimized by sexual abuse.

The gala will feature food from Oakwood Occasions, as well as the musical entertainment from the award-winning Daddy-O-Strut, a six-piece dance band that is hailed as "Atlanta's Finest Rockin' Funkin' Swingin' Groovin' Strutin' Party Band!"

A silent auction that evening will present guests with the opportunity to purchase an array of items.

Highlights of this year's silent auction include a week stay at a condo in Charleston, SC, tickets to a Falcons game, four one-day passes to one of the Disney theme parks, and a special "Chef's Table" meal for four guests at Local Three restaurant in Atlanta.

The Children's Center's fifth annual gala will be held at the Smithgall Arts Center beginning at 7:00 p.m. For tickets or more information, call 770-532-6530 or email info@hopeandhealingga.org. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Tickets and sponsorships can also be purchased online at www.hopeandhealingga.org.

About the Children's Center for Hope & Healing

The Children's Center for Hope & Healing is a non-profit organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of child sexual abuse and exploitation. Since 1984, the agency (formerly known as the Family Relations Program) offers no-cost therapeutic services to children ages 4 to 17 who are the victims of sexual abuse as well as adult women who are the survivors of child sexual abuse. In addition, the agency offers Project Pathfinder, a program dedicated to treating children and youth with sexual behavior problems. In 2011, the center offered treatment for almost 1,600 people from 13 counties of Northeast Georgia.

ONE STORY

The Children's Center for Hope and Healing has been able to help young children such as "Kyle," an eight year old boy, who was living in a foster home when he started sessions at the center. After disclosing that he had been sexually abused by his stepfather, Kyle became severely detached from people, unable to connect to anyone around him.

His therapist, Libby, encouraged him to explore his emotions through sand tray therapy, in which Kyle would use toys and materials in a sand box to express his thoughts. For many weeks, Kyle constructed parking lots in his sand tray rather than houses or buildings. Because he was staying in a foster home, he felt like he had no real home of his own and thus conveyed this by building the empty parking lots.

Then Kyle found out that he was going to be adopted, and he began to build houses with toy families around them in his sand tray. He appreciated what Libby had done for him so much, he gave Libby his stuffed cat, Mr. Kitty, wishing for her to give his favorite toy a home in the same way that Kyle had finally found a loving home.
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