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Community makes Hope’s Place work

I’m proud to be a Lawrence County native: born and raised in Ironton. Say what you will about us, but there is no denying we are a faithful community with lots of heart, and we look out for one another.

I noted this recently, when my husband commented that he didn’t care as much for the famous ham salad I brought home from my favorite Ironton grocer as he did the ham salad he always had from his local grocer in Aid Township. There was a fleeting moment when, I promise you, I was genuinely offended.

Then I had to laugh. I’m so hometown proud, I was offended over ham salad! But that is the beauty of who we are; a passionate and loyal community.

This is how I know that most Ironton and Lawrence County residents don’t realize what Hope’s Place Child Advocacy Center, where I work, does. If they knew, they would be so much more involved. I’m certain of it. That’s why I’m writing.

Hope’s Place Child Advocacy Center is a nonprofit organization that provides critical forensic interviews, specialized medical exams, advocacy, and trauma counseling for child victims of physical and sexual abuse and their families.

These services are provided at no cost. We serve children from Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia. I am sorry to tell you that 497 children required our services in 2017. While my colleagues and I are thankful to be a part of these children’s healing journeys, we desperately wish we weren’t needed.

The topic of child abuse can be sickening, I know, but ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. Quite the opposite, in fact. The good news is, Hope’s Place is here to do the hard work alongside each child, and you can make sure we stay here by supporting our mission in this, our 20th year. We host multiple fundraising events, and I’ll make sure to keep The Ironton Tribute up to date on all of them.

Additionally, you can support us through Amazon Smile, Kroger Rewards, and even by consigning furniture in our name at Second Hand Rose in Ashland, Kentucky. We have an ongoing need for individually wrapped snacks, bottled water, juice boxes, art supplies, small (new) toys for our treasure box, and small blankets for children to keep during their medical exams.

We are always looking for businesses with heart that might sponsor one of our many events or donate items for auction or raffle. So if any of this speaks to your readers, I ask that they call or email me (606) 325-4737 or mandy@hopesplace.org.

I truly look forward to seeing more familiar faces at our events and dropping items off at the center. I know we can count on Lawrence County to look out for our children! Oh, and, FYI, Bartram’s has the best ham salad.

Mandy Leach-Justice, M.Ed., LPCC-S
Hope’s Place development director