Tahlequah Daily Press

October 11, 2012

Community service workers pitch in for advocacy center

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Half a dozen community service workers spent a few days this week cleaning up the Children’s SafeHaven Advocacy Center in Tahlequah.

Workers spread dirt, weed-eated, trimmed trees and weeds, and had a hand in several other chores around the center, which is just east of Tahlequah. Some volunteers spent around seven hours working at the site both Tuesday and Wednesday, and work is expected to continue as necessary.

Cherokee County Community Sentencing Director Nate King said two of his clients volunteered for the work, and two were working as punishment for minor probation violations.

Jason Collins, supervisor of Cherokee County Detention Center’s road crew, said those working with him were essentially paying off fines owed to the court. He said the road crew otherwise works on county roads.

“We plan on having it as a monthly project since it is a nonprofit agency and they don’t have the funds to do all of the cleanup and work,” said King. “So we took a crew out Tuesday, did some community service and cooked lunch. If anybody is required to do some community service work, they can contact me or Leah [Moore] and we’ll schedule it in.”

Moore, a family advocate with the Multidisciplinary Child Abuse Task Force, said the center is a branch of the local Help-In-Crisis. Through the child-friendly facility, forensic interviews are conducted with children who may range in age from 3 to 17. Advocacy and peer-counseling are also provided through the facility.

Interviews of the child abuse victims can be recorded and used in court, which Moore said helps the child relay his or her story in a comfortable environment without having to later repeat the story.

Anyone ordered to do community service can contact King at (918) 458-6546 to see about scheduling time to work at the advocacy center. For more information on the children’s advocacy center, call Help-In-Crisis at (918) 456-0673.