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26 • The Optimist
Early this year, a dream became reality when CARE House, a Montgomery County children’s advocacy center for abused and neglected children opened the doors of its new facility. Dayton area Optimists attended the festivities as special guests because they played a role in making this happen.
Care House has served over 8,000 families affected by abuse since its inception in 1999. It operates through a partnership between Dayton Children’s Hospital, Montgomery County, Dayton Police Department, Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Offce and Montgomery County Department of Job and Family Services. In previous years, services were offered in an old residential property.
Leslie Biehl, a Member of the East Dayton Optimist Club, also
served as a member of the CARE House “Building a Promise” capital campaign. She coordinated a tour of the existing facility for the Club and Zone. CARE House provides children the chance to tell their story of abuse once, before all
agency representatives who need to receive the report. Previously the children had to repeat their painful story about six different times to police, social workers, prosecutors and others. As Optimist Members learned about the vital services provided to children, it was agreed
they should support this cause.
Ron Labatzky, also a Member of the East Dayton Club and a retired Dayton police offcer with frst-hand experience of abuse cases, was particularly moved during the tour. He noted the crowded conditions of the 107-year-old facility. Ron recalled his frst felony arrest was a step-father who molested his seven-year-old step-daughter and how diffcult it was for the child to tell her story over and over.
Ron developed the idea of Dayton area Clubs working together to provide fnancial assistance to CARE House. The goal was to raise enough funds through combined efforts to have a plaque posted in the new facility with the names of the participating Clubs. That recognition required a contribution of at least $10,000. Lieutenant Governor, Mary Ann Zimmer, wrote a letter to Clubs in the Zone requesting their participation. Ron partnered with the CARE House Director, Libby Nicholson, to speak with 15 Optimist Clubs in several Zones and raised over $14,000.
by Judy Martinson, Member of the East Dayton, Ohio Optimist Club
Optimists Rally to Support
Summer2014 Magazine.indd 26 5/27/14 6:01 PM