Dyer award helps children in crisis

news release

Toys for Tots Coordinator Star Knudson accepts the Dyer Difference Award from General Manager Jonathan Hardie. Photo Courtesy of Ilena Luts.

A sad reality of life in 2022 is that there are children among us who have been victims of sexual and physical abuse by the very people they trust and love more than anyone in the world. Understandably, removing a child from a dangerous living situation is simply not enough. That’s where Guardians for New Futures and the recently opened Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) come in. The CAC serves children throughout the 19th Judicial Circuit, which encompasses Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties and provides a multidisciplinary team of professionals to coordinate all the necessary resources and services that child might need at the most difficult time. By combining all the services in one place and with one cohesive team of professionals, a child who has already been traumatized can choose to share the story just once in a setting that is designed to be comfortable and child-focused. Since opening the doors in July, CAC has already served nearly 200 sexually and physically abused children, and is on track to serve approximately 1,200 each year. The Dyer Difference Award will help aid in the creation of a Healing Garden on site.

Even during the happiest season of the year, we all need a little magic to believe in, especially those among us who are most tender of age. In Indian River County, the spirit of Christmas lasts all year long, and there is no question at all about the existence of Santa and Christmas miracles. Last year, Toys for Tots of Indian River County distributed more than 52,000 toys and helped make Christmas a little brighter for 8,269 children. Since its inception in 1947, the Marine Corp’s Toys for Tots program has been providing holiday toys and gifts for children who might not otherwise receive them. Seventy-five years later, the need is larger than ever to help children throughout Indian River County, and volunteers have been working hard all year long to meet the needs and create a few Christmas miracles right in our own backyard.

The Dyer Difference Award is all about celebrating the beauty and kindness in our midst. For the Dyer family and the members of the Dyer staff, the award and the $6,000 in donations made monthly between the St. Lucie and Indian River Counties are all about helping to make a positive difference in the community. For the recipients, it’s an acknowledgement of their tireless efforts to do the same and a much-needed financial boost to help further their missions. If you’d like to nominate a non-profit organization for the Dyer Difference Award, please visit http://www.dyerdifference.org or find Dyer Difference on Facebook.

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