If you suspect abuse, please call 855-503-7233. For emergencies, dial 911.

Amani Child Abuse Assessment Center for Columbia County

April 2024 Newsletter

From the Director's Desk:

April is such a wonderful month; plants are starting to grow, flowers bloom, the days get longer, and spring rains encourage the growth and new life of this new season. For us at the Amani Center, April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Our offices buzz with Race Against Child Abuse preparations, and we join many other organizations nation-wide in efforts to raise awareness about child abuse.

April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the Amani Center serves child/youth victims of sexual assault. We partner closely with SAFE of Columbia County, the local sexual assault response agency, to ensure victims get the care, support and services they need.

While April shines a light on the topic of child abuse, I want to recognize the hard work that our team does day-in and day-out. We are very lucky to have some incredibly talented and highly skilled staff, but the work that they do is often invisible to outside eyes. When a perpetrator gets arrested, due to confidentiality, we aren’t able to say that our work contributed to the arrest or talk about the support we provided to the victims and families. Media might talk about our heroes in Law Enforcement, Protective Services, or Prosecution, but our team members are also silent heroes behind the scenes, helping these investigators get the evidence needed to make an arrest.

We have been surprised by how many folks contact us after serving on a grand jury and say, “I had no idea what you all do and how important your work is.” They express gratitude, wanting to find out how to help. I wish that everyone could have this insight into what we do. I wish that we could stand next to our investigative partners and say, “Yes, we helped, we are part of why this perpetrator can’t hurt anyone anymore.” But that is not reality, and we don’t do this work for the accolades…we do it for the children and our community’s safety.

However, this April, I hope that when you see Child Abuse Prevention Month information, you think about these hard-working, caring and dedicated individuals who are heroes in my eyes. And the next time you see a story in the news about a bad person that was arrested, know that child advocacy staff may have helped.

– Amelia Kercher, Executive Director

What's New?

This month, we focus on our Race Against Child Abuse sponsor Wauna Credit Union. Wauna has made an incredible commitment to support the Center in a variety of ways, and we are grateful for their generosity and dedication to our mission.

Wauna has pledged a team of volunteers to coordinate the Race Against Child Abuse race bib pick-up process, as well as a team of employees that will participate in the in-person and virtual versions of the race on April 27th.

Wauna will also host a Coffee & Commerce networking event this month at their local WCU Branch for the South Columbia Chamber of Commerce, highlighting their partnership with us.

Thank you to the employees of Wauna Credit Union, who value making a positive impact in our community; they have displayed by word and by deed their support for children and families impacted by child abuse.

April Spotlight:

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and we need your help in spreading awareness! There are many ways for you to support local
child abuse victims by partnering with the Amani Center, such as:

1. Participating in this year’s Race Against Child Abuse.
2. Sharing our posts on Facebook.
3. Sharing our posts on Instagram.
4. Inviting an Amani Center staff member to speak to your business, organization or group.
5. Donating items from our Amazon Wish List.
6. Joining the Amani Center Circle of Friends as a monthly supporter.
7. Volunteering your time with the Amani Center.
8. Telling us your ideas! We’d love to hear from you about how you
would like to support victims of child abuse.

Report suspected child abuse to the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline by calling 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).

Upcoming Events:

April 27th – Race Against Child Abuse

The Amani Center’s 16th annual Race Against Child Abuse is almost here! You can help Columbia County child abuse victims find healing through your participation in this year’s race on Saturday, April 27th. Racers of all abilities are welcome to register for the Half Marathon, 10k, 5k, 1 Mile Family Fun Walk or Virtual Race.

This year we’ve partnered with Columbia River Foursquare Church, bringing you a unique opportunity to run their Reindeer Run race routes.
Invite a friend, family member or coworker and join together to help child abuse victims in your community by registering for the race today!

May 18th – NAMI Walk & CCMH Mental Health Fair

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ annual “NAMI Walks” fundraiser is just around the corner. The Columbia County team is forming now for their walk on Saturday, May 18th at 10:00 a.m. at McCormick Park in St. Helens.

To participate in the walk, use this link to register with the Columbia County “Legacy Devers Dynamos” team. This event is co-hosted by Columbia Community Mental Health, with their Mental Health Fair taking place from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the park.