By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Five years ago, when stay-at-home mom Dina Fink heard Montgomery County DA Risa Ferman’s vision to help child sex abuse victims, she was blown away.
Ferman described a broken system in which the county’s most vulnerable victims were traumatized by having to repeat the story of their abuse numerous times — first to law enforcement, then social services, then to medical personnel during interviews prior to trial.
Ferman wanted to protect the children by creating Mission Kids, Montgomery County’s first and only secure, child-friendly facility where young victims can share the story of their abuse for all necessary parties at one time, through a streamlined process.
“If this happened to my children, I would want them to go to this place as well,” says Fink. “I really wanted to do something to give back.”
Fink has a degree from the University of Pennsylvania and worked as a corporate lawyer before deciding to stay home to raise her two children. She met with Abbey Newman, executive director of Mission Kids, in August of 2009. When Newman asked Fink to learn grant-writing, she did, helping the fledgling nonprofit agency secure a three-year, $20,000 grant from United Way.
“It sort of progressed from there,” says Fink. “I chaired our annual event. And now, as director of development I run that event. And it’s been very, very successful.”
Fink’s work for Mission Kids is all pro bono, but her commitment is steadfast. She’s learned various technical and software programs to improve her volunteer efforts and to gain a better understanding of fundraising statistics and trends.
Fink even taught herself social media and now tweets on behalf of Mission Kids.
“I put in a lot of hours because I choose to,” she says. “It’s a win-win for me. I feel very rewarded.”
Fink says what’s even more rewarding is knowing that the funds she helped raise have helped the Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center serve 1,400 children over the course of just four years. The centrally located facility works with the Montgomery County DA’s office, the county’s 50 police departments, and the Office of Children and Youth to streamline the investigation process.
The child advocacy center uses staff specially trained to elicit needed information from even the most fragile victims.
“I really believe in this cause,” says Fink. “I think that these young victims in Montgomery County don’t have a voice, and we are here to help them to get through the process and get justice and can begin healing.”
For more info on Mission Kids or to donate, go to missionkidscac.org.
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