Introducing our Newest Grant Partner: McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center
Dressember participants have collectively raised over $3,000,000 in the last four years and this year the goal is $2,000,000!
Where do those donations go?
Many advocates are aware that the Dressember campaign raises funds for renown international anti-trafficking organizations: International Justice Mission and A21, but you may not have heard of another well-deserving benefactor of this beautiful campaign. The McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center, based in Syracuse, New York, is a non-profit organization serving its local community since doors opened in 2002. Operating out of a 30,000 square foot building and co-existing with 60+ like-minded professionals, this team works together to advocate for upwards of 700 abuse victims each year, specifically children.
As the story goes, the McMahon and Ryan families began to work with the existing Child Abuse Response Teams in New York back in the nineties. They recognized the crucial need for a comprehensive center where even the youngest victims could go and feel comfortable. At that time, children brave enough to open up about their abuse would be taken to a police station and have to retell the horrific details of what happened first to the police officer, then to the investigator, the therapist, the lawyer, the doctor, and many others. Each testimony became more difficult to tell and the cold, severe atmosphere of the government building left children feeling vulnerable instead of safe.
This was no longer an acceptable approach to the growing crisis of child abuse. Martha Ryan and Dr. Ann Botash led the founding team for what is now the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center. As you walk into this huge facility, you see brightly painted walls of yellow and green with shelves of toys and books lining the walls. Soft carpet and inviting tables and chairs allow for comfortable places for kids to process. This building hosts more than sixty trained child-abuse professionals, so families can find all the help they need under one roof. Not only do they create incredible convenience for victims and their families, but their Child Advocacy Center model generates a savings of over $1,000 per individual case compared to the former fragmented system.
Over 6,000 child-victims have been helped by the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center, which is astounding considering its local reach. This neighborhood resource also operates as a training and educational facility for professionals, non-offending caretakers, mandated reporters and even school-aged children, leading their city in community awareness and abuse prevention, including the specific prevention of human trafficking.
The McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center is especially committed to identifying and providing comprehensive services to potential and existing victims of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. Building teams of volunteers and advocates, the McMahon/Ryan CAC family aims to mobilize their community to stand together and take action against modern-day slavery. They do this by educating children and adults in recognizing the signs, red flags and vulnerabilities of exploited people. Each curriculum is holistic in its approach and targets specific age groups from the youngest pre-kindergartener to the oldest high school senior. Professional training is also offered for all mandated reporters and child-abuse professionals.
The McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center is our first strictly U.S. partnership and you can expect to see more domestic partners arise in the future. Partnering with international organizations like IJM and A21 allow us to have a global reach that impacts many different cultures and political systems in the fight against modern-day slavery, but we cannot overlook the importance of pushing back the darkness in our own neighborhoods. At-risk children in America look like homeless youth, runaways and children in the welfare and juvenile justice systems. Funding anti-trafficking movements in the U.S. will have global implications as the nation’s youth grow up with an educated awareness of the problem and proven prevention plans in place to put an end to this epidemic. We will raise lawyers, police officers, teachers, politicians, doctors, IT experts and social workers with a passion to seek justice. We will stand with them to take the fight for freedom to the ends of the earth. Together, we will eradicate slavery for good. I am proud of Dressember’s partnership with the hard-working and dedicated folks at the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center and am excited for how this partnership will help them accomplish their mission of prevention, intervention, and education for their community and beyond!
Visit their website below to find out more about the life-changing work they are doing in Syracuse, New York.
About the Author
Allyss Flores is finally a grown up, having turned 30 this year. She is grateful that now, thanks to Dressember, she can fight for justice every December regardless of her life circumstance. Aside from advocating and telling stories, Allyss loves to raise her two small children with her husband deep in the heart of Texas.