Written by Jefferson Geiger
Fueled by the passion of several individuals making up the Tu Casa team, Tu Casa Inc. recently broke ground on a project to begin renovations and additions to the building set to house the Children’s Advocacy Center of the San Luis Valley. The center is expected to be finished in November.
It took two years of fundraising to raise more than $850,000 to begin the remodeling, however, that money was just to start the process and Tu Casa will continue fundraising to sustain its programs. $400,000 came from a Department of Local Affairs grant, while significant amounts came from the San Luis Valley community and San Luis Valley Health.
San Luis Valley Health’s Behavioral Health Manager Audrey Reich, as well as Physical Therapy Director Charlie Reich, played a key role in the project’s development.
“I’m blown away by San Luis Valley Health’s generosity,” said Audrey. “Every time I approach them they say ‘Yes.’ It makes me emotional to think about how supportive they’ve been of the whole project.”
San Luis Valley Health’s Foundation matched the $15,000 given by employees, along with sponsoring other fundraising events. The hospital also donated the Welsh building, the current location of Tu Casa, until the CAC renovations are complete.
“It was our pleasure to be able to help with this important project,” said San Luis Valley Health’s CEO, Konnie Martin. “San Luis Valley Health has a strong tradition of giving back to the community, and we have so much respect for all that Tu Casa does.”
“Tu Casa is in the business of protecting people that feel like they can’t get it anywhere else,” said Charlie, who serves on the CAC fundraising committee. “All children deserve to be free from abuse, protected and to have a fun-filled, adventurous life. That’s the bottom line.”
Along with providing a safe haven for victims of abuse, the facility will streamline the examination process to minimize harm. Medical personnel and police will only do their interviews once.
“Being interviewed about something this horrific once is bad enough,” said Charlie, “but to have different strangers come in and examine or interview you and drag you through that whole thing over and over again is unacceptable.”
A separate entrance for law enforcement is being built for the center, in addition to the examination and interview rooms. Audrey, the president of Tu Casa, said, “The child can be with their trained kid-friendly therapist while law enforcement survey in a different room so kids don’t feel like they’re getting in trouble.”