Tori Long, 14, left, and Kara Butler, 12, compete in hula-hoops for a small cash prize during the Rock-A-Thon fundraiser Saturday benefiting the Southern Crescent Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center in Hampton. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)
HAMPTON — Parents ate cool treats as their children frolicked about the oversized front lawn during the Rock-A-Thon charity event Saturday.
“The community has welcomed us,” said Linda Hutchison, who helped organize the benefit.
Hutchison is the volunteer coordinator for the Southern Crescent Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center, which provides services to children and adults dealing with the immediate and long-term effects of sexual assault.
The Jonesboro-based agency was established in 1994. In April, the agency opened a satellite office in Henry County to offer 24-hour crisis response and expeditious sexual assault examinations.
Hutchison said the center has been a welcome addition to the local community, its hospitals, law enforcement and nonprofit groups.
One such group is Haven House, a domestic violence shelter and program serving victims of family violence.
Katie Tucker, a social worker with Haven House, joined a small group who took on the Rock-A-Thon challenge.
“I’m just happy we have a central location,” said Tucker, whose had several referrals to, and from, the center already.
Henry Arts Alliance President Lynna Schmidt represented her group. She praised the fundraiser organizers as she rocked slowly in the large front porch rocking chair.
“That’s what we do,” Schmidt said. “I think that’s what we do — support children and families.”
She was one of half a dozen teams who had a representative rocking continuously over the seven-hour competition, which included several smaller intermittent games like the music-accompanied hula-hoop contest.
Tori Long, 14, and Kara Butler, 12, split the $5 prize for hula-hooping the longest among the yard full of young people.
Hutchison said teams paid to enter the Rock-A-Thon— an idea spurred from a North Carolina couple. The husband and wife are child advocates who donated 12 rocking chairs to the center.
One of the chairs was painted by artist Barbara Frazier and auctioned off online for $165. She said the Rock-A-Thon raised more than $3,700.
Hutchison pointed out Katie Queen was a top individual fundraiser who donated $525.
She also thanked local churches for help put on the event. Berea Christian Church, McDonough Church and Hampton First Baptist Church contributed to the fundraiser.
Organizers are still accepting donations.
“Any amount in donations are acceptable,” said Hutchison.
Those interested in donating are asked to call the Southern Crescent Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center at 770-603-4045 or email Hutchison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A list of the center’s services is at www.scsac.org. Its 24-hour crisis hotline is 770-477-2177.