April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, an observation that reminds us we all have a role to play in preventing child abuse. Yarborough Applegate is proud to support Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center, a Charleston, South Carolina-area nonprofit with a mission of preventing abuse, protecting children, and healing families. Yarborough Applegate recently made a donation to the organization as part of its Hope Grows Here fundraiser.
“Yarborough Applegate’s commitment to helping victims extends beyond our cases,” says David Yarborough, a plaintiff attorney and co-founding partner of Yarborough Applegate.” We believe it’s our calling to help make our communities safer, healthier places in everything we do.”
Hope Grows Here
Typically hosted as an annual dinner auction, Hope Grows Here serves as a major source of funding for the Dee Norton. This year, Yarborough’s wife, Jessica, helped co-chair the event. When it became clear that in light of COVID-19’s continued impacts on in-person gatherings, no event of any size would be safe for patrons, Jessica Yarborough recommended Dee Norton pivot to a pledge-drive-style “non-event.”
“Canceling the event was a serious decision. But Jessica’s idea was, let’s explain to our supporters that while the event unfortunately can’t happen this year—the need is still very great,” says Beverly Hutchison, Dee Norton’s director of development and communication. “And wow. People responded in a most generous fashion.”
By the end of the fundraiser, Dee Norton had raised nearly $330,000—enough to sponsor services for 182 children.
Hutchison says Yarborough Applegate’s gift was instrumental in kickstarting the fundraising process. “Yarborough Applegate was originally a gold-level sponsor of the event. When we made the decision to pivot to a non-event, they were the first to say ‘keep my money and convert it to a gift,’” she says. “That was incredible on its own—but it also helped when we went to other sponsors who were in the same position. Ultimately, more than half the sponsors agreed to convert their money to a gift.”
A Pivotal Year for Support
The funds are especially significant for Dee Norton at a time when the traditional method of rendering services in person has been turned upside down.
“We had fifty children in treatment when we all went home last year,” Hutchison says. “We had to train our therapists to do client assessments and deliver therapy virtually. We had to ask, do our clients all have what they need to participate? An internet connection, computer, headset?”
Even as Dee Norton has adjusted its service model in the face of a new reality, there are still challenges to overcome as a result of the pandemic.
“Generally speaking, it’s been a tough year, and it’s been difficult for children, in particular,” Hutchison says. “When stress is high, instances of abuse are expected to increase. But unfortunately, referrals in 2020 went down, because children weren’t out and about with eyes on them, with abuse being seen.”
Supporting Dee Norton during this critical time can take many forms. To find out how you can aid in their ongoing mission, click here.