Sometimes in our lives, we all experience things that change our perspective on the way we view certain things, places, and even people. This was particularly the case recently as the RiverBend Growth Association’s Young Adults Committee (YAC) visited the Child Advocacy Center. This experience was truly eye-opening for all who were present and involved in it. The Young Adults Committee and their mentors learned so much that they will keep with them for a long time.

The Child Advocacy Center is in Wood River, Illinois, at 101 E Edwardsville Road, at the old Wood River Hospital. The Center is celebrating its 20th year of business this year. Their purpose is to provide professional intervention and supportive services to fight against child abuse. Carrie Cohan, who is the executive director, says, “Kids coming in here might have somebody genuinely listening to them for the first time in their lives. It is such a gift that we can offer kids and teenagers.” The people at the Center take great pride in all the things that they do and it was evident, as witnessed by the Young Adults Committee when they experienced it.

When the Young Adults Committee visited the Child Advocacy Center, they were greeted by Caroline Livingstone and Carrie Cohan. Caroline and Carrie gave the YAC and their mentors a tour of the facility. The facility included two waiting rooms, two interview rooms, and a few other miscellaneous rooms as well as offices. Whilst touring the facility, the Young Adults Committee had a chance to ask any questions that they could think of. They even had the chance to ask some of the other staff questions about their jobs.

After touring the facility, to help the Center, the Young Adults Committee helped set up items for the upcoming Trivia Night. The students split half and half to do separate jobs. One group helped in preparing folders full of information about the Child Advocacy Center, while the other group helped to prepare for an activity for one of the rounds of Trivia, called the Spice Round.

Having the chance to speak with Carrie Cohan, she discussed her favorite part of working at the Center. She said, “What I find most rewarding about this job is working with the team. It is so energizing to see all of these different people work together to help kids.” While there are those good parts about working there, it can have its challenges. However, there are many ways you can combat those changes. Carrie says, “You have to take care of yourself and be vigilant that you are partaking in self-care. Having a life outside of the workplace is essential.”

The tasks that these amazing workers take on every day will forever be a gift to the many people they serve. RBGA’s Young Adults Committee was happy to be able to help out such a wonderful organization. Both Carrie Cohan and Caroline Livingstone gave us an experience that we will never forget. The time YAC spent at the Child Advocacy Center has given each of us a new perspective on the importance of awareness and getting help in general. As a whole, we are grateful to have got a small look at the everyday profession of the workers who really make a difference in the lives of those in need.

About the Authors:

Max Cogan is a senior at Marquette Catholic High School and has been an active member of the RiverBend Growth Association YAC for one year. At Marquette, Max has been a part of football, bowling teams for 4 years, and volleyball for 2 years. Max has also been a part of National Honors Society and Breast Cancer Awareness Club. After graduation, Max will continue playing football and will attend Augustana College in the fall. He is still undecided on what he wants to do.

Sammy Hentrich is a senior at Marquette Catholic High School and has been an active member of the RiverBend Growth Association YAC for one year. Throughout high school, Sammy has participated in Student Council, National Honor Society, and the varsity track team. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in environmental science.

Lawson Bell is a junior at Marquette Catholic High School. He participates in the National Honors Society and the Breast Cancer Awareness Club. Lawson is the Varsity Captain of the Alton Redbirds Hockey Club. After high school, he plans to attend college pursuing a degree in business and playing hockey at whatever school he decides to attend.

Marissa Statos is a junior at Marquette Catholic High School and has been an active member of the RiverBend Growth Association YAC for one year. While attending Marquette, she has been a part of Breast Cancer Awareness club, National Honors Society, the Academic Challenge Team, the Scholar Bowl team, the tennis team, student council, and serves as Junior Class President. After high school, Marissa plans on majoring in political science on a pre-law track.