Charity golf tournament looks to get more involved in the second year
by Jack Deming
Aug 14, 2014 | 1373 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff and board members of the Windham County Safe Place golf team from last year’s tournament. From left to right are Caitlin Burlett, Pat Labelle,  Alyssa Todd,  Wendy Hoolihan, and Larry Hames.
Staff and board members of the Windham County Safe Place golf team from last year’s tournament. From left to right are Caitlin Burlett, Pat Labelle, Alyssa Todd, Wendy Hoolihan, and Larry Hames.
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WILMINGTON- A local organization wants to keep you in the dark, but not when it comes to abuse. That’s why, on September 9, the Windham County Safe Place Child Advocacy Center is holding a second annual charity golf tournament at Haystack Golf Club, an event which includes a few holes of night golf, complete with a flashlight and a glow-in-the-dark ball.

The WCSP is a nonprofit organization that works with local and state law enforcement agencies throughout Windham County to help investigate physical and sexual abuse against children, as well as sexual abuse of adults. The organization has been in operation since 2007, and in 2010 began renting office space in Brattleboro to provide a safe, comfortable place to interview victims of abuse. Last year alone the WCSP helped police with investigating and aiding in 150 cases. According to Safe Place full-time staff member Alyssa Todd, the organization is there to help victims from start to finish.

“We provide case management support to help connect victims of abuse with sources in the community who can help them with everything from mental health services to new, safe housing,” said Todd.

Todd is involved in conducting what are called “forensic interviews” with victims; record, open-ended interviews which provide a more comfortable way for abuse victims to speak freely about any situation ordeal.

“That’s the major way we aid in investigations, having a space where folks are able to come and talk and find help,” said Todd. “We think it’s important to help families from the beginning to the end. When something happens, law enforcement may be there at the beginning, and mental health counseling may be there at the end, but we’re an agency that checks in from A to Z so they have consistency and someone to go to if they get stuck while trying to access help or support along the way.”

In its inaugural year, the WCSP golf tournament was held on a 9-hole course, had five teams sign up, and raised over $3,000. This year, Todd is hoping for more teams and more funds raised to support the group’s efforts in everything from providing their staff with opportunities to attend national training events to keeping the bills paid.

This year’s tournament will be held at Haystack Country Club, and with 18 holes the tournament has room to expand this year. Prizes include a hole-in-one $10,000 cash prize donated by the Richards Group, as well as prizes for closest to the pin and longest drive. Even the losers get lucky sometimes, and this year the golfers with the highest score will be awarded free golf lessons from Haystack so they can return in 2015 ready to win.

Sign-in will be at 2 pm with a 3 pm shotgun start. With a late start, organizers plan for teams to play 12 holes in the day, and six at night, which will require flashlights and glow-in-the-dark balls.

“We hope people sign up because they want to have a good time, and help an organization that is here to help the whole community,” said Todd. “We hope people are interested in helping us raise awareness for child abuse because that is something that is prevalent in every community and we’re not excluded in that.”

If you cannot make the tournament, you can donate to the WCSP through its website at www.safeplaceac.net, or by mailing a check to 114 Main Street, Suite 1, in Brattleboro.
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