2017-04-09 / Insight

CAC offers resources for kids and families

INSIDE THE CAC


LAUREN BROIHAN Child Advocacy Center clinical coordinator and counselor LAUREN BROIHAN Child Advocacy Center clinical coordinator and counselor Editor’s note: Lauren Broihan, MA, LLPC, joined the staff of Child Advocacy Center of Lapeer County last October as clinical coordinator and counselor for the center. As a contributing columnist to The County Press, she shares her stories about the work and staff of the CAC.

Amanda Overland is our Prevention Coordinator and Family Advocate at the Child Advocacy Center of Lapeer. Her journey with the center began in 2014 when she applied for an internship, working with the prevention program. She heard about advocacy centers throughout her schooling and when looking for internships, toured another advocacy center and knew she wanted to be a part of it. That specific center was not accepting interns, so she reached out to Lapeer and thus began her work advocating for kids. Amanda volunteered at the center immediately following her internship and then was hired on as fulltime staff in 2016.

Amanda wears several hats, and her work is split between supporting the families who come for forensic interviews and going into the schools to teach kids how to be safe. She has an incredible amount of knowledge and resources to offer kids and families. As they are going through some of the most difficult circumstances, she is able to nurture them, make them feel comfortable, and address any immediate needs. While kids are being interviewed, Amanda is most often found downstairs with the family, talking with the parents, providing them with relevant information about abuse and their child’s behaviors, or playing with the other kids, making the experience as comfortable as possible.

When she is not at the Center, she is in the schools teaching elementary students about body safety, stranger danger, and internet safety, in a way they understand. One of her most popular analogies is comparing the internet to Halloween. She tells the students, “On Halloween, everyone is wearing a mask and you don’t know who they are or what they look like. The same is with the internet, you don’t know who is on the other side or if they are being honest.” She says kids are receptive to this and some of her favorite moments are when students from the school recognize her in the community. She remembers one time in a grocery store when a little girl ran up to her and said, “Hi Miss Amanda! Remember me from school?” Amanda says it’s something that seems so simple, but it’s in those moments that she knows the kids are hearing what she has to say and she is getting the point across. She does what she does for the kids because she wants them to know it’s okay to speak up if something bad happens. She constantly reiterates to the students, “If you tell an adult that something made you uncomfortable and that person doesn’t listen, keep telling until someone does listen.”

She’ll tell you the most difficult part of the job is seeing kids at the center who have been hurt by someone, yet they still love that person unconditionally. Kids are innocent and impressionable; they want acceptance and the love, despite what they have been put through. This is what drives her to continue going into the schools to teach kids about safety and to ultimately give them a voice that will be heard.

Meet Amanda

Amanda Overland is the Prevention Coordinator and Family Advocate at the Child Advocacy Center of Lapeer. Her work is split between supporting families during forensic interviews and teaching kids how to be safe.

If you have any questions or want to contribute to The Child Advocacy Center of Lapeer County through volunteer time or donations, call 810-664- 9990 or send an e-mail to admin@caclapeer.org. Also, mark your calendars for our 7th annual Corkscrews and Brews Benefit Dinner on April 28.

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