Imagine losing your family and everything you own in one day. Last year, this was a reality for 96 children. They went to the Surry County Children’s Center scared, alone, and struggling.
The Children’s Center’s Heart of a Child event at Cross Creek Country Club has been one of the most successful events in Mount Airy for ten years, according to fundraising chair Sonia Dickerson. The event, always scheduled near Valentine’s Day, gives folks the opportunity to celebrate the holiday with the one they love while showing love for children who reside at the Children’s Center.
This year’s tenth annual Heart of a Child begins at 6 p.m. on Feb. 10 at Cross Creek and features both a silent and live auction, dinner, and dancing to the music of The Embers featuring Craig Woolard, raising money for the center.
“The slogan for the Children’s Center — Our House…Their Home — has significant meaning,” Dickerson said in a statement announcing the event. “The house itself depends on the community for financial support so that the staff can make the house a genuine, loving home for the children. So in essence, the house belongs to all of us and needs us to sustain it.”
Even though the Children’s Center receives funds from grants and private donations, the Heart of a Child and the Adam L. Marion Golf Tournament in the spring are the center’s two primary vehicles for raising funds, she said.
“This event is a major fundraiser for us and we are hoping for another great year,” said Executive Director Robin Testerman. “The money raised will allow us to operate our two shelters in Surry and Yadkin counties and provide safe and nurturing homes for abused and neglected children.”
The center also depends on fundraising to serve and provide supportive programs for not only families and children in Surry County, but also families from Yadkin, Stokes, Wilkes, Forsyth, and surrounding counties. These programs offer intervention and prevention support to reduce the reoccurrence of child abuse, neglect, and delinquency.
“Last year, we housed 96 children in our Surry and Yadkin shelters,” said Chris Funk, board chairman. “All the children served are neglected or abused in some manner. A child can stay at the center from three weeks to three years or sometimes even longer.
“Their stay is based on their needs. We have a great staff at each home who works diligently to provide a normal life for the children. They drive them to medical, dental, and mental health appointments, attend after-school and community events, take them on field trips, and help them prepare for prom or other events. It takes money to ensure that the children have the best stay possible.”
In addition, to serving the 96 children at the shelters, another 258 children participated in youth programs. The Children’s Center worked with youth and their families to help them stay in school and make positive choices. Through these programs, the staff prepared them for the real world by providing resources to help them get ready for their future and become self-sufficient.
The Heart of the Child event hopes to raise $30,000. Businesses and/or individuals still have time to become an event sponsor. Sponsorships range from $250 to $2,500. “It costs $2,500 to be an event sponsor,” said Dickerson. “With that investment you get your company logo on all event materials listing your business as a lead sponsor and ten tickets to the event. The tickets alone would cost $800.”
As of Wednesday, 21 corporate and individual sponsors had signed on for the event with several more pending. “We appreciate support at any of the sponsorship levels. Together we can make a difference for those 96 children or others like them by giving from our hearts,” Dickerson said.
Tickets for the event are still available at $120 per couple or $80 for an individual until Feb. 7 or until sold out. For tickets, more information, or to sign up as a sponsor, contact the Children’s Center at 336-386-3144 or email Melissa Hiatt at Melissa@surrychildren.com.