‘Cowboys for Kids’ weekend extravaganza kicks off Friday
JOHNSON COUNTY – All aboard for one fantastic “Cowboys for Kids” weekend!
A two-day fundraising event for the Children’s Advocacy Center of Johnson County, “Cowboys for Kids” includes a Friday night gala, a children’s Stick Horse Rodeo Saturday morning and the family-friendly Ranch Rodeo Saturday night.
The Friday night gala will be held at the Shepherd’s Valley Cowboy Church – formerly Diamond W Arena – 8901 US 67 in Alvarado.
The weekend is sponsored by Cleburne Ford to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Children’s Advocacy Center.
Tammy King, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center, said the “Roping The Stars Gala” will distinguish the evening of Friday, April 28.
The gala includes a barbecue dinner provided by Meatmiesters BBQ, live music, and live and silent auctions. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner is served at 6 p.m.
Judy Fenyes, the author of “Soul Survivor” and a victim of early life child abuse, will be the keynote speaker at the Friday night gala.
Fenyes lost her mother to cancer when she was five years old, “then lost her sexually abusive father a year later,” according to event literature. “She was passed from one abusive foster home to another during her childhood years. Her story is riveting.”
Masters of ceremony will be:
• Russ Weaver, Pastor of Shepherd’s Valley Cowboy Church in Alvarado.
• Scott Mendes, PRCA World Champion bull rider. He is the ordained pastor of Western Harvest Ministries Church in Weatherford.
The dinner costs $125. To inquire about tickets, please contact Janelle Evans firstname.lastname@example.org.
At 11 a.m. Saturday, the Children’s Stick Horse Rodeo for children age 10 and under takes place at the Johnson County Sheriff’s Posse Grounds – 1315 S. Main St. in Cleburne. Children play for ribbons and buckles.
It costs $10 per person. Event coordinators ask those who attend to pay upon arrival.
Meanwhile, the family-friendly Saturday night “Cowboys for Kids” concert featuring Ronnie Milsap and Aaron Tippin will take place in Shepherd’s Valley Cowboy Church in Alvarado. The location was changed due to weather forcasts, but general admission sales at this venue will be limited, so if you are planning on purchasing tickets at the gate, you may not get in to the concert. Tickets can be purchased on-line at www.cfkjctx.org. It starts its gates at 6 p.m. and officially starts at 7 p.m.
General Admission/Grandstand Seats are $30. Floor Tickets (bring your own chair) are $50. And VIP Seating is $100.
All proceeds from “Cowboys for Kids” go directly to providing services for victims of child abuse in Johnson County, King said.
Event literature indicates the weekend events will be attended by “many rodeo greats, movie and television actors, country music artists and professional athletes” who support the Center and freely give of their time and talent for the kids.
“Before the Children’s Advocacy Center movement began, child victims of abuse were being further traumatized by the system set up to help them,” the CAC website states.
Multiple agencies are involved in investigating allegations of child abuse, according to the site.
“These include law enforcement, Child Protective Services, Cook Children’s Hospital Care Team, Juvenile Services and prosecutors who try the cases,” the site states. “As a result of the agencies working alone on individual cases, child victims were being interviewed multiple times about the most personal and tragic events of their lives. In addition, the agencies involved could unintentionally jeopardize each other’s cases with the multiple interviews and investigations.”
But that was then and this is now, according to the site.
“Today, Children’s Advocacy Centers across the nation provide a child-friendly environment where all agencies involved in a case can come to the child victim,” it states. “The child is interviewed once by a trained forensic interviewer. The interview is videotaped into an adjoining room where a representative of each agency involved is able to see, listen and communicate with the interviewer through a small ear piece. All agency partners work together as a team to coordinate the investigation and services provided for the child victim and his/her non-offending family members. The Children’s Advocacy Center provides the place for them to come together and facilitates future meetings in which they can share case information.”
The Johnson County Children’s Advocacy Center, which opened February 1998, serves child victims of sexual abuse, severe physical abuse, and child witnesses to homicides and other violent crimes. It’s mission is to provide a safe place where children can tell their story and begin to reclaim their lives.
“Many services are in place for children and their families after the initial interview is done,” the site states. “They include individual, family, and group counseling by trained, experienced therapists; play therapy; work with therapy dogs; youth self-esteem and goal setting programs; personal advocacy and mentoring programs; court school; special education and abuse prevention programs, and field trips. The Center strives to meet the needs of the whole family group because they are all affected by the trauma of abuse.”
Cowboys for Kids helps us raise about $300,000 each year for the center, officials said.