Executive director of CAC speaker at DuBocage ABWA meeting

Christa Menotti, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Pine Bluff, was the speaker for the DuBocage Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association at its recent meeting held at the Pine Bluff Country Club.

Menotti began with the CAC in March of this year. She served 10 years as director of the Victim Witness Division in the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and has 19 years experience in the area of victim advocacy. She was the 2012 Victim Service Award recipient and has developed crime victim training for law enforcement, medical staff and volunteers.

The Children’s Advocacy Center has someone who acts on the behalf of a child who has been abused and provides information on what that child needs such as counseling. The center works in partnership with all police agencies with someone on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Of the sex crimes in Jefferson County, 85-90 percent are children. The representative from the center meets once a month with the Department of Human Services, Children and Family Services, state and local police, the sheriff, and the rape crisis coordinator for everyone to give their report and come up with recommendations for way to reduce the trauma to the abused child and to improve response to child abuse by uniting the efforts of all agencies involved.

Menotti said the CAC was funded by state and federal, United Way and fundraisers. There are 13 centers in Arkansas with most covering two or three counties. The center in Pine Bluff covers 12 counties.

During the business meeting President Donna Renfro reminded everyone the next meeting would be held Dec. 6, in lieu of Tuesday and would be the annual Christmas Party. Christy Bush, Christmas party chairman, reported that everyone is to bring a Christmas ornament of gift valued at $10 to be exchanged during a game of Dirty Santa. A voluntary monetary donation will be taken up and donated to the Children’s Advocacy Center and labeled for use to help a family at Christmas and not for the general fund.

The Woman of the Year Committee was announced as Rhonda Gammel, Patsy Stone and Hellen Kennedy. Each year deserving members are nominated by letter to the committee who have been an outstanding asset to the chapter. One will be chosen by all past Women of the Year at the annual luncheon held the first Saturday of December and announced to the membership at the January meeting.

Scholarship chairman, Rana McClain, reported on the Stephen Buffton Memorial Education Fund requirements. Names will need to be submitted by May to be considered for a grant.

Kay Faver won the dollar pot and the birthday gift was won by Renfro. McClain, Stone, Diane Wilson and Judy Conn won the door prizes.