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MID-ISLE ROTARY AND DHS ANNOUNCE JOINT EFFORT

Feb. 19, 2004 – At a press conference held on Thursday, the St. Croix Rotary Club of Mid-Isle and the Department of Human Services announced plans to renovate an interview room at the department specifically designed to assist abused children. The joint effort is part of the Mid-Isle Rotary Club's Centennial Project.
According to a press release from the department, the soundproofed interview room, which features a one-way mirror, will allow children to discuss sensitive situations one-on-one with a social worker while other needed personnel look on from behind the mirror. The interview room will thus minimize the number of times that a child must recount their experiences of abuse. Additional room features include interpretive toys and comfortable furniture, all designed to put young victims at ease and allow them to express themselves.
Kimberly Gomez, an administrator for the department's Division of Children, Youth and Families, noted that the room should be completed by April 2004, during Child Abuse Prevention Month. Focusing on the importance of the interview room, Gomez said, "My biggest excitement of this is that we have a child-focused service and a child-friendly room, which allows children to be themselves …."
Gomez explained that children can be intimidated by the presence of too many adults and professionals in one room and become too apprehensive to talk about their abuse. "They've had some extremely sensitive things happen to them over a period of time, or at least an incident, and now is the time when they can actually tell their story."
Richard Grant, past district governor and current chairman of the club's centennial project, recognized local businesses that have provided technical expertise and furniture. He also welcomed further assistance. "We are looking for other people in the community who would like to support this project, with items such as furniture, [and] paint. There are a couple of people in the community who do murals, and a wonderful mural in the interview room will make it much easier for the children to be interviewed."
The department's assistant commissioner, Ferryneisa Benjamin, applauded the support of Rotary Mid-Isle and highlighted its effort to take action. "We at the Department of Human Services are very excited because we know what needs to be done, but we were not able to do it before. Too often people say that they are interested in children, but then you ask, 'what have you done?' It's your action that is more important than what you say, and we are really grateful the Rotary has decided to partner with us."
After addressing other Rotarians in the audience who were a part of the centennial project, Grant acknowledged the development of the relationship between the department and Rotary Mid-Isle. "It's very rare that you start doing a project and have as much fun doing it and planning it as we have over the better part of the year."
The club will begin renovating the area for the interview room in Anna's Hope on February 21. As explained by Grant, Rotarians will do the work themselves and subcontractors will assist in completing the actual project. Contributions through in-kind services and additional community support will contribute to the development's success.
Founded in Chicago in 1905, the Rotary organization will celebrate its 100th year of service in 2005. During that year, Mid-Isle will celebrate its 16th anniversary on St. Croix.

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Feb. 19, 2004 - At a press conference held on Thursday, the St. Croix Rotary Club of Mid-Isle and the Department of Human Services announced plans to renovate an interview room at the department specifically designed to assist abused children. The joint effort is part of the Mid-Isle Rotary Club's Centennial Project.
According to a press release from the department, the soundproofed interview room, which features a one-way mirror, will allow children to discuss sensitive situations one-on-one with a social worker while other needed personnel look on from behind the mirror. The interview room will thus minimize the number of times that a child must recount their experiences of abuse. Additional room features include interpretive toys and comfortable furniture, all designed to put young victims at ease and allow them to express themselves.
Kimberly Gomez, an administrator for the department's Division of Children, Youth and Families, noted that the room should be completed by April 2004, during Child Abuse Prevention Month. Focusing on the importance of the interview room, Gomez said, "My biggest excitement of this is that we have a child-focused service and a child-friendly room, which allows children to be themselves ...."
Gomez explained that children can be intimidated by the presence of too many adults and professionals in one room and become too apprehensive to talk about their abuse. "They've had some extremely sensitive things happen to them over a period of time, or at least an incident, and now is the time when they can actually tell their story."
Richard Grant, past district governor and current chairman of the club's centennial project, recognized local businesses that have provided technical expertise and furniture. He also welcomed further assistance. "We are looking for other people in the community who would like to support this project, with items such as furniture, [and] paint. There are a couple of people in the community who do murals, and a wonderful mural in the interview room will make it much easier for the children to be interviewed."
The department's assistant commissioner, Ferryneisa Benjamin, applauded the support of Rotary Mid-Isle and highlighted its effort to take action. "We at the Department of Human Services are very excited because we know what needs to be done, but we were not able to do it before. Too often people say that they are interested in children, but then you ask, 'what have you done?' It's your action that is more important than what you say, and we are really grateful the Rotary has decided to partner with us."
After addressing other Rotarians in the audience who were a part of the centennial project, Grant acknowledged the development of the relationship between the department and Rotary Mid-Isle. "It's very rare that you start doing a project and have as much fun doing it and planning it as we have over the better part of the year."
The club will begin renovating the area for the interview room in Anna's Hope on February 21. As explained by Grant, Rotarians will do the work themselves and subcontractors will assist in completing the actual project. Contributions through in-kind services and additional community support will contribute to the development's success.
Founded in Chicago in 1905, the Rotary organization will celebrate its 100th year of service in 2005. During that year, Mid-Isle will celebrate its 16th anniversary on St. Croix.

Back Talk

Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name, and the city and state/country or island where you reside.

Publisher's note : Like the St. Croix Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much -- and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice ... click here.