Hundreds Gather In Bend To Fight Child Sex AbuseBy
KIDS Center Hosts Annual ‘Healing Hearts’ Luncheon
By Homa Quazilbash
May 5, 2011
BEND, Ore. — More than 500 community members gathered in Bend Wednesday afternoon to speak out against child sex abuse — and hold the biggest fund-raiser of the year for an organization that tackles the problem every day.
It was the third annual ‘Healing Hearts’ luncheon hosted by the KIDS Center at the Riverhouse Convention Center.
Guests heard from speaker — and sex abuse survivor — Randy Ellison about his experience, and what he now calls his mission.
“I was abused by my minister as a teenager and it went on for several years,” Ellison said. “Then I kind of buried it away and went on with my life — got heavily involved in alcohol, drugs, those distortions.”"I wasn’t the kind of husband I would have liked to have been, the father I would have liked to been. You bury something that major, it distorts everything in your life,” Ellison added.
Volunteers and workers at the KIDS Center were busy counting pledge cards well into the day. In the past, the event has raised more than $50,000 for the KIDS (Kids Intervention and Diagnostic Service) Center, which is a 21 Cares for Kids partner.
The non-profit is not funded by the government and gets only a small portion of its budget from the state, so most of it is from community outreach, like Wednesday’s event.Just this year, the KIDS Center has already seen nearly 500 kids come through its doors in need of medical evaluations and therapy.