This spring, 1,448 brightly colored pinwheels were “planted” on the courthouse lawn in Scranton. The symbolism: the number of children and teenagers who were cared for by the by the Children’s Advocacy Center of Northeastern Pennsylvania team in 2014. The center helps youngsters who have been sexually or physically abused or neglected. Shielding them from additional distress is all part of the center’s mission 24/7, 365 days each year, and a recent donation by Benco Dental aims to offer a bright spot in their recovery process.
“Children’s Advocacy Center goes from birth to age 18. We also have a Teen Advocacy Center, which we opened two years ago in November, 2013. We see all emergencies from the eight-county service area (seven counties, in addition to Lackawanna County). In Lackawanna, we are the Child Abuse Intervention Center, and for the others, we do forensic interviews and forensic medical exams,” explained the nonprofit’s Development Coordinator Susan E. Hennemuth when she arrived in Pittston, Pennsylvania at the home office of the nationwide dental distributor Monday, May 4.
While collecting dental care packages donated by the Benco Community Boosters, Hennemuth explained that in the state of Pennsylvania, ChildLine, (800-932-0313) starts the whole process of reporting child abuse. “If you suspect child abuse, don’t hesitate, call ChildLine and report it. Your gut is a good thing to follow,” said Hennemuth. “When people report child abuse, children are helped far earlier. Abuse in childhood can have devastating consequences far into adulthood. Under the CAC model, reporting child abuse starts the process of healing far sooner than in the past and results in a positive mental health outcome for victims,” she added.
Established to focus on the company’s charitable efforts through community involvement and volunteerism, the Benco Community Boosters group is coordinated by Talent Specialists Florence Marchesano, Sarah Lucas and Julia Amendola. All Benco Dental associates are invited to participate in volunteer events throughout the year, both at CenterPoint — the company’s home office — and on a regional level.
“We raised money to create the care packages by hosting a Jeans Day at the home office; associates pay $1 to wear jeans to work. The Benco Family Foundation graciously matched the funds raised,” said Marchesano. “When associates’ children visited recently for Bring Your Child to Work Day, we asked them to assist us. We explained the Children’s Advocacy Center mission and the children were happy to help. They did a great job!” she added.
Marchesano referred to national Bring Your Child to Work Day April 23, when the family-owned dental distribution company invited youth in attendance to help prepare 50-plus dental care packages for donation. Each year during this event, children are invited to give back through participation in a Community Booster activity, as well as job shadow to gain an understanding of a parent’s workday.
“This is the CAC’s first donation from Benco Dental. We are thrilled with the generosity. Often children come to us with very little. These gift bags are sure to put a smile on their faces,” said Hennemuth, referring to the 50-plus dental care packages prepared by the Benco Community Boosters for donation to the Children’s Advocacy Center. For details about Children’s Advocacy Center of Northeastern PA or to support its efforts, visit: www.cacnepa.org.