Friday 28 October 2016

Week 8: What I learned about these children was heartbreaking

Brenda McCormick meets volunteer Simone Walsh to talk about her work with the child sex abuse charity CARI

Founded in 1989, CARI is a voluntary organisation providing child-centered specialised therapy and support to children, families and groups affected by child sexual abuse.

The organisation has provided an average of 2,350 hours of therapy a year in the past five years and has helped approximately 100 families per year since 2006.Through therapy CARI offers children a supportive ally and safe environment.

Therapy at CARI is provided by trained and experienced psychotherapists and each person is offered an appropriate therapy/treatment plan to meet their specific needs. CARI, a registered charity has two full time centres in Dublin and Limerick, and has provided outreach therapy sessions in Kerry, Meath, Wicklow and Galway.

C (22) has volunteered for CARI in Dublin for seven years.

"As an active volunteer for CARI, I have participated in, hosted and assisted with numerous events. One of my favourite events that I have taken part in was Strictly Come Dancing. I raised a lot of money for CARI during this event and went on to win it with my cha-cha dance partner. I have run the Vhi Women's Mini Marathon for CARI over the past number of years and plan to run again this year," she said.

"The work that CARI does is phenomenal and often over-shadowed by bigger charities. It is often a charity people shy away from given its subject matter. However, it is an area which cannot be ostracised or ignored.

"As a trainee primary school teacher myself, I am an advocate of children's rights and when a friend first got me on board as a volunteer I went down to CARI house in Drumcondra to learn more about the charity," she added.

"What I learned was heartbreaking. Too many children and teenagers alike are on waiting lists to receive the therapy they need to help them get through this difficult time and flourish in later life.


"By giving a little of my time and volunteering with CARI, I know that I am making a huge difference for not one child, but for many children in desperate need of help.

"The Vhi Women's Mini Marathon is very important to CARI as it is an opportunity to raise awareness for our services and also to raise money which goes to helping us continue with our vital work - providing counselling and therapy to children and teenagers affected by child sexual abuse. Just €60 provides a child with an hour's therapy, a supportive ally and safe environment that instills hope, trust and confidence, allowing these children to return to the path of normal development and reach their potential," Simone said.

For more information on CARI go to www.cari.ie

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