A Ray of Hope in Child Abuse Awareness month

Cat Gonzales, Campus Corner Director

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  In the heart of National Child Abuse Prevention month, it is important to remember those who help kids in such unfortunate situations.

   Ray of Hope is an organization that provides a wide variety of resources for kids in need. They provide things like forensic interviews and exams, as well as victim advocacy. They outsource resources from donations, as well as gather their own to be as much of a service to the young children as possible.

  “We also ensure that children have access to trauma-informed mental health services, whether that’s provided on-site or in partnership with another mental health agency,” Executive Director Rhonda Hudson said. “Additionally, we provide resources such as duffel bags, clothing, toiletries, and school supplies to children placed in foster care.”

  The organization tries to have a multifaceted approach to achieve maximum stability and security of the child. Ray of Hope wants to surround victims and caregivers with everything they need.

“Our mission is to provide a coordinated, community response and to provide hope and support to children and families impacted by abuse,” Hudson said.

  Part of giving adequate help is timeliness and availability. Ray of Hope wants to be able to be available to as many eligible recipients as possible.  

  “Whenever there are serious allegations of child abuse, law enforcement or child protective services will make a referral to Ray of Hope,” Hudson said. “There is no charge to receive services at Ray of Hope.”

  Ray of Hope is an organizations that is still growing and expanding. They are accepting people from different types of traumatic experiences. They are beginning to help adults who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

  “Services for adults and children look different, but the goal of safety and healing for victims is the same,” Hudson said.

  The main goal is to help a victim of trauma. Sometimes different approaches are taken based on the factors of trauma and how it has affected the victim.

  “Trauma and abuse impact all children differently,” Hudson said. “Factors such as the age when the abuse first began, how long the abuse lasted and what kind of support the child has access to can dictate what services we offer.”

  Without such organizations, these victims could be very negatively affected.

  “Research tells us that children who have a high number of traumatic events in childhood are a greater risk of adverse health outcomes as adults,” Hudson said.

  With the services that Ray of Hope provides, children are strongly impacted and get on stable journey of healing.

  “Children are resilient and with supportive caregivers and teachers and with trauma-informed resources and mental health treatment – survivors can go on to a happy and healthy future,” Hudson said.

  Help is available and ought to be utilized. In National Child Abuse Prevention month, there is still little awareness brought to the public. Even in Bartlesville there are cases of child abuse.

  “Child abuse is a hard subject to talk about,” Hudson said. “People believe that abuse happens in other communities or neighborhoods or in other people’s families — but the reality is that child abuse crosses all socioeconomic boundaries and it impacts our whole community when our children aren’t safe.”

  Helping victims is a community effort. There are ways to raise awareness and ultimately help victims earlier when the community is more educated on recognizing aligned behaviors.

  “One of the most important things that the community can do to help protect children is to educate themselves on how to recognize and report child abuse. Everyone in Oklahoma is a mandated reporter of child abuse,” Hudson said.

  If you suspect a child may not be in a safe environment, report the situation to the Oklahoma Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-522-3511.

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