Albany Exchange Club car show returns to raise money for child abuse prevention
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. The Exchange Club of Albany has worked to support the prevention of child abuse for years, that’s why they’re hosting the 3rd annual Car show Saturday, April 15.
The organization is aiming to raise over $30,000. Over 150 cars will be at the car show to not only view but also purchase. Funds go to organizations like the Lilly Pad that support over 500 victims.
“Not only does the Exchange Club support us now, (but) they’ve (also) supported us for the past decade. If we didn’t have our community here to support us, I don’t know what would happen,” said Mary Martinez, executive director of the Lilly Pad Sane Center.
More than 600,000 kids are impacted by child abuse in the U.S. each year, according to the National Children’s Alliance. Some organizations like the Lillypad report that they see approximately 500 victims a year. Abuse can range from physical to sexual abuse.
“One in four girls and one in six boys are sexually assaulted before their 18th birthday. The most important thing to remember is that 90% of the time, it’s by someone the family knows and trusts,” Martinez said.
It’s because of that harsh reality that the Exchange Club has made it its mission to support resources to prevent child abuse.
Last year the car show generated nearly $40,000 that was donated to multiple child abuse prevention organizations locally and nationally. Clayton Smith, a Exchange Club member, brought his 1937 Cadillac series to help bring in this year’s funds. As a retired attorney, Smith remembers seeing several child abuse cases.
“The probate Court in Dougherty County is just swamped with cases like that and so is the Department for Family, children Services. We’re keenly aware of what’s going on and just have a heart for it,” he said.
Over 150 cars will be at the car show to not only view but also purchase—all for a good cause.
“Through raising funds and making people aware of it gets more information out there and people are stepping forward more,” said Ralph Paustian, Exchange Club Vice President. “Everybody works the heart and gives them everything we can give.”
According to Child Support. org, approximately 5 children die every day because of child abuse. That abuse ranges from sexual abuse to drug abuse. The Exchange Club is not only trying to prevent more child deaths but is also trying to spread awareness.
“People don’t understand, a lot of the abuse that children get doesn’t even go reported. It just means so much to me if I can help just one child,” Paustian said.
If you know of a child experiencing abuse, call the 24/7 support line at 1-855-GA-CHILD.
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