The Children’s Advocacy Center of Smith County (CAC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to child victims of physical and sexual abuse. Each year, more than 600 children enter through the doors of the center hurting, scared, and confused. There they find caring professionals and volunteers dedicated to reducing the trauma they might experience as they go through the court system. The CAC coordinates and investigates each case of alleged child abuse and provides interviews, advocacy, and therapy services that begin the healing of the child and their family. The organization walks hand-in-hand with children and their families from the initial outcry to the final verdict and beyond.
Mark Oates is a long-time board member for the Children’s Advocacy Center and is also serving as chair of the center’s 14th Annual Bids for Kids fundraiser. This online auction offers more than 75 unique items and fabulous experiences graciously donated and available for bids from the public. Bids for Kids auction will end at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25. All proceeds raised will benefit the CAC.
“Last year, more than $72,000 was raised from generous donors and friends, and 100 percent of the proceeds fund programs and services provided to Smith County child victims and their protective caregivers at no cost,” Mr. Oates said. “From January through May 2013, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Smith County facilitated the investigation of 106 cases involving 157 alleged child victims along with 498 siblings and protective caregivers. That’s why the funds raised through Bids for Kids are so vital.”
“Volunteering offers opportunities for you to use your God-given gifts of time, talent, and treasure to help others in need. It makes me feel good inside to help the community and I believe that if volunteers and voluntary organizations were to disappear from our national life, we would be less distinctly American,” Mr. Oates said.
Born in Paris, Texas, Mr. Oates has resided in Tyler for 14 years. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, and is the owner of A&M Computer Services. Mr. Oates and his wife, Dr. Christi Caldwell-Oates, have been married for 20 years and are the parents of Elizabeth, 17, and Rebecca, 12. The Oates are members of Green Acres Baptist Church.
“Life in Tyler has a lot of benefits and it feels more genuine and personal than the larger cities,” Mr. Oates said. “Such settings are a place to relax and raise a family and enjoy a quieter life than you might otherwise have.”
For more information about the Children’s Advocacy Center of Smith County, or to place a bid on the Bids for Kids online auction, please visit www.cacsmithcounty.org.