News from The Tree House CAC - August 2018
When a Predator is Discovered in the Community:
What Should A Parent do?
Last week, Etienne Kabongo, a Montgomery County Public Schools bus operator who transported students who receive special education services, was charged with sexual offenses. The news spread quickly and the phone calls to the police and The Tree House began, as we expected. While this type of event is extremely unsettling, we want to tell you that when an event such as this happens, you should not panic. You should watch for signs that abuse may have occurred, and if you suspect abuse, contact either the Special Victims Investigations Division of the Montgomery County Police or the Child Protective Services Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline.
But what are the signs of possible abuse? There are many, and just because a child exhibits one of the signs, this doesn't necessarily mean he or she was a victim of sexual abuse. Still, the U.S. Department of Justice's National Sex Offender Public Website has a list of possible warning signs that includes:
- The child displaying sudden or unusual fears, especially fears of a specific person or place
- The child having nightmares or other sleep problems without an explanation
- The child having a sudden change in eating habits
- A young child having new words for private body parts
It is very difficult for most children to disclose sexual abuse. If they do disclose abuse to you, the National Children's Advocacy Center has some tips to help you act in the most helpful and appropriate manner:
- Stay calm and listen to the child.
- Tell the child you believe him/her and are glad they told you.
- Tell the child that what happened is not their fault.
- Report the disclosure to professionals for investigation and help.
- DO NOT ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS. Do not conduct your own investigation.
If you are concerned that your child may have been a passenger on a bus driven by Mr. Kabongo, click here for more information.
Announcing our Most Recent Grant Award
We are honored to have your support as we strive
to heal Montgomery County's most vulnerable children.
We are extremely excited to announce our partnership with Shake Shack's new Cabin John location! This Shake Shack has committed to donate 5% of sales of their Pie Oh My Concrete for the next year to support The Tree House CAC. Even more exciting, Shake Shack will be donating ALL the net proceeds from their soft opening, TENTATIVELY scheduled for Tuesday, Sept 4th to The Tree House CAC! Keep an eye on our social media and website's "Upcoming Events" page in early September for updates. Then come join us as we start our new friendship...and have lunch or dinner too!
Staff Spotlight: An Ongoing Series
Nina Blecher, Director of Community Partnerships
Please, call me Nina.
Nina has a B.A. in music and education from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College), but began her career in the IT field. Over the years, she bounced back and forth between computer programming and teaching music, privately and in preschools, where her young groupies know her as Ms. Nina. In 2008 she was browsing through Craig's list when she realized they had job postings, and that's how she found The Tree House!
Nina began at The Tree House by providing IT and statistical support, but over the years her role has changed. Now, in addition to her IT work, she is dedicated to establishing and maintaining relationships with the community, whether it be through speaking engagements, social media interactions, volunteer coordination, event planning or other community outreach activities.
When asked why she decided to work at The Tree House Nina said, "In all honesty, I decided to work at The Tree House because it fit into my schedule nicely. I stayed at The Tree House because it's the most fulfiling job I've ever had. I see my collegues making a real difference in the lives of children AND I get to meet the absolute best people in the community, those with the kindest of hearts!”
Events You May be Interested in...
To see more upcoming events click here.
The 2018 Tree House Tour de Cookie:
Save the Date- May 4, 2019
That's all we have to say right now.
We'll have a lot more to say later.
A Few Important Thank Yous...
- Thank you to Adventist HealthCare - Center for Health Equity & Wellness for its very generous donation of $1000!
- Thank you to Elevate MoCo for holding a fundraiser for us!
- Thank you to Bare Snacks for donating 240 bags of healthy snacks to us!
- Thank you to our ANONYMOUS donor who so very generously donated $15,000! We wish we knew who you were so we could thank you in person!
- And thank you to all of you who have so selflessly answered all our pleas for pajamas, books, snacks, therapy needs, blankets, and school supplies. YOU help make healing possible.
You have helped us raise awareness and raise thousands of dollars, all of which we use to provide free services to children. We cannot thank you enough for your support.
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The Tree House Leaflet
Our mailing address is:
The Tree House CAC of Montgomery County Maryland
7300 Calhoun Place, Suite 700
Rockville, MD 20855