The Barren River Area Child Advocacy Center once again took its “fundraising to new heights” with the third annual Over The Edge rappelling fundraiser Friday and Saturday.
Partnering with WBKO, Med Center Health, Team Health, Stadium Park Plaza and Over the Edge Global, supporters of the Child Advocacy Center rappelled Stadium Park Plaza to raise funds and awareness for children who have been sexually abused.
Friday saw sponsors of the event along with area media members rappel from the roof of the plaza from noon to 1 p.m. Individual rappellers were called to commit to raising $1,000 for the Child Advocacy Center to secure their rappelling position.
The event continued Saturday from 8 a.m. until rain brought the event to an end about 2:30 p.m. Altogether, more than 70 participants took part in the fundraiser.
On Friday alone, the event raised more than $90,000 for the center.
Child Advocacy Center Director Jennifer Bryant said the act of rappelling is a replication of the courage it takes for a child to talk about their abuse.
“Each year we seem to have more people in the community who come out and be brave like those children who come to the Child Advocacy Center because it takes a lot of bravery for a child to tell a story about someone they know,” Bryant said. “Ninety percent of the time, children know their abuser.”
“The people from our community have just really stepped up year after year in sponsorships and their willingness to go over the edge,” Bryant continued. “Even those who are a little afraid about heights have been willing to partner with us to take a stand in this community about child abuse.”
During the event, all local health department guidelines were followed, which included keeping a safe social distance, taking temperatures of participants and volunteers upon arrival, face masks for all, hand washing and the sanitizing of all surfaces.
Ropes volunteers and Over the Edge staff were wearing face shields as well.
“Over The Edge Global has raised over $100 million for nonprofits all over the country and even outside of the country,” Bryant said. “They have a perfect track record of safety, and they help support the event in the planning stages.”
According to the center, it is critical to identify opportunities to raise additional funds so every child victim receives trauma-informed care and every effort is made to bring perpetrators to justice.
The past three years alone have seen a 66% increase in the number of children the center has served.
For Bowling Green Fire Department Chief Jason Colson, the mission of the Child Advocacy Center was what got him to participate in the event and rappel off a four-story building.
“I’m familiar with the organization and what they do and what they represent,” Colson said. “I just wanted to help support what they do.”
The center is funded through private donations, state and federal grants and foundation grants. So far this year the center has served 879 children.
All of the center’s services are offered free of charge.