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Cha-cha and chocolates to help protect children

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By ZACK OWENSBY

Get ready to kick up your heels and dip your ‘berries.

Cumberland University’s Labry Hall will play host Friday, Feb. 12, to “A Chocolate Affair,” a benefit for the 15th Judicial District’s Child Advocacy Center.

Billed as a “sweet alternative to traditional Valentine activities,” there will be seven to eight different chocolates to sample, as well as a chocolate fountain and dipping items, confections from Wilson County’s own Kake Haus, ice sculptures and live music.

Marino Music Good Company will provide the melodies of jazz, swing and contemporary tunes.

Along with the cha-cha and chocolates will be a silent auction offering items from local businesses, proceeds going to the CAC.

There will be several jewelry items to bid on, including a set of chocolate pearls donated by Wiggins Jewelry. There will also be golf items for bidding, and possibly some hardware for the guys, as well.

The Child Advocacy Center operates from donations and a grant from the State of Tennessee.

The mission of the CAC is “to reduce the trauma of child abuse and facilitate the healing process,” said Deb Daugherty, executive director.

Daugherty described the one-year-old center’s facilities as “child-friendly,” also focusing on the idea of interviewing the child involved in an abusive situation one time only, recording the interview by video. Therefore, the child only has to recount the story a single time rather than repeating it for several local authorities and again if the case reaches court.

“Our goal is to only make the child tell their story once so it doesn’t add to the trauma of the event,” Daugherty said. “And if the child appears in court and shuts down, either because the person that abused them is in the room, or simply the fact that they are in a room full of strangers, we can play the DVD of the original interview as is now permissible in court.”

CAC also sponsors community education programs to inform the public of their responsibilities of reporting suspected child abuse cases.

“A Chocolate Affair” will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person and $30 a couple. To purchase tickets and RSVP, call 449-7975.

Staff Writer Zack Owensby may be contacted at zowensby@wilsonpost.com.

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