August 26, 2019

Community invited to play dodgeball to support abused children

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WEST BRANCH — The Northern Michigan Children’s Assessment Center is hosting its dodgeball fundraiser for the third time in West Branch March 16, where fun rivalries can be translated into funds raised for abused and neglected children.

Children involved in abuse or neglect cases come to the center for a safe environment while going through the processes of their case, such as forensic interviews and medical exams. Individuals such as the interviewer, family advocate, pediatrician and master’s level therapist are specially trained to work with children who have experienced trauma.

“These events help continue providing these services to families without having to charge insurance or (the families),” Executive Director Becky Yuncker said.

Yuncker said the center works closely with the Michigan State Police West Branch Post, which has a special unit for these cases, as well as the West Branch Police Department and Ogemaw County Sheriff’s Office. She said the fundraiser was spearheaded by law enforcement.

“It was one of their suggestions to get people out, get them active, get some aggression out,” she said. “It wasn’t a fundraiser I had heard anyone else was doing.”

After the first event was held in Roscommon, Yuncker said the center responded to requests for the event to be moved to West Branch by partnering with the West Branch Rec Center.

All proceeds will go to the assessment center. Yuncker said lately the center has been expanding its counseling and medical suite, and a new play therapy room is currently under construction. Funds will go toward equipment and supplies for the new room and therapy for families.

The typical turnout at the fundraiser is 10-15 teams, she said, noting that she is always looking for the event to grow. Teams are made up of five people, with a cost of $20 per person. General admission to the event is $5 a person or $20 for a family of four or more.

“We encourage the community to pull a team together,” she said. “If you can’t, come out and watch the event.”

Yuncker said this is a great opportunity for businesses to sponsor a team.

The winning team will receive a trophy and a place on the plaque hanging in the assessment center listing all past winners. The event will also feature 50-50 drawings and door prizes.

The fundraiser will be held at 10 a.m. at the West Branch Rec Center, 619 Parkway Drive, West Branch. For more information, call Yuncker at 989-275-7145.

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