CAC LOGO_White_Transparent_Bkgrnd.png


2022 | April

Message from Sherry, President/CEO

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and we have been busy! The CAC staff participated in several child abuse prevention events with the Alachua County Child Abuse Prevention Task Force including Pinwheel Planting in front of the UF Health Shands Hospital, City and County Proclamations and the Annual Celebrate the Child event. We are looking forward to continuing to raise awareness and sharing information about how to prevent child abuse in our community, as we do throughout the year.


If you don't already follow the Child Advocacy Center on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what we're up to day-to-day, please follow us!  You will find all kinds of information about upcoming CAC events and activities, and ways to get involved. The Amazing Give is one week away! This virtual day of giving is taking place on Thursday April 21st and will begin with the CAC’s kick-off party at Bagel Bakery and end with a Wrap Party at Celebration Pointe hosted by Community Foundation of North Central Florida! This an excellent way to show your support for the CAC during Child Abuse Prevention Month. We are also gearing up for Oakmont’s 3rd Annual Slacker Run to benefit the CAC. Please sign up to join us in Oakmont on May 14th for this fun family friendly event!


Staff have shared amazing stories of healing that they have witnessed over the past month. Healing is not a linear or predictable process and it is important the successes the highlights of hope along the way!

Wishing you and yours lots of love,


Sherry Kitchens, President/CEO


Click the images below to learn more about upcoming events!

Slacker Run Poster 2022_PRINT.png

Small Victories - Big Impacts

IMG_6956 _1_.JPEG

An Inspiring Story from Colleen Trojbom

A teenager was brought in to the Child Advocacy Center, Inc. (CAC) for a forensic interview in 2019 due to sexual abuse allegations. She had just moved from a very insular religious community in the western U.S. to Florida, and was staying with relatives here. From the forensic interview, we learned her abuse had been significant, and criminal charges were brought against her abuser. She was understandably experiencing many trauma symptoms that impacted her mental and emotional health, and began engaging in therapy services where she continued to disclose more incidents of abuse. The CAC Forensic Interviewer and local law enforcement were flown out west to testify in the criminal trial against the abuser. Due to the progress the client made in therapy and the coping skills she attained, she was able to testify in the trial and speak bravely about her experiences. The abuser was sentenced to prison for 100 years. Since then, the client has been able to process past trauma, decrease trauma symptoms, and heal. The relatives she has stayed with have since adopted her. She has not engaged in self-harm in over a year. She has grown roots in her community and has been an outspoken advocate for youth who have experienced abuse. We plan to graduate her from therapy next week. Her resilience, courage, and strength speak volumes about where she has been and the amazing young woman she is still becoming.

Oliver Received His First Subpoena!

Oliver is a therapy dog that has worked at the CAC since 2019. Therapy pets are becoming more and more critical to the court process for victims. Oliver’s presence is very soothing and calming when children have to testify. In partnership with the CAC, the court system has recognized Oliver’s contribution to helping victims and he even got his own subpoena this week. Thank you to those that made this possible to support more child victims in the court system.

Untitled design _2_.png

Continued Learning


The CAC is excited to partner with the Children’s Trust of Alachua County to bring Not a Number, a human trafficking prevention curriculum, to Alachua County through a pilot project that will provide Summer Enrichment activities to summer programming for children ages 12-18 this summer. CAC staff participated in the training hosted by Jessie’s Place, the CAC in Citrus County, from March 30-April 1, 2022 in Crystal River.

After the training, Dallas said "Participating in the Not a Number training was an amazing experience. I learned how to better facilitate difficult conversations about human trafficking, teen dating violence, online safety, and how to utilize appropriate resources. I am excited to see the impact the curriculum will have in the lives of our youth!" 

An Unexpected Friendship

Reflection by Sherry Kitchens

Meeting Jan Costa, the “Meat Baron” of Florida Fresh Meats at the Haile Farmer’s Market in 2014 was unexpected, but fateful. My son, Avery, sold pickles for our friend, Margot’s business, at the market and happened to get the spot right next to Jan’s tent. Jan’s exuberant demeanor and generous wisdom spilled over and he provided Avery with sales tips. Next thing we knew, Jan directed his customers to pair the meat from his tent with the pickles. It was a win-win and sales were up for all! Jan was warm and kind, and when he heard about what I did at the CAC, he shared his story. Like many survivors, his was a story of being a “bad” kid, and was full of trauma. He said, “Oh my gosh! I could have used your help and maybe life wouldn’t have been so hard for me.” Only minutes later, he exclaimed, “What can I do for you at the CAC? If I provide meat at your events for free, you could make more money to save more kids!” Over a number of years, Jan provided meat for several events including the CACs signature events Gainesville Gone Austin, Memphis and New Orleans. Jan got so excited before these events and loved to attend. He was a great cheerleader for the CAC and for our family. He even gave my daughter, Tori, a job over the summer. Every Saturday morning, our dog, Wagner, would tell us it was time to go see “Mr. Jan” by jumping up and down like a maniac and barking like crazy. The car trips were full of whines and barks, and I could barely hold him when we got to the market.  

Jan loved Wagner and always gave him way too many treats and would find a way to sneak a treat for the family in with Wagner’s bones.  Every week, Jan updated me on his business, his family, and gave me advice about fundraising. Jan was a part of our every week for many years and we will miss his wonderful smile, hugs, lessons on how to “hustle”, and just him. I am so grateful for this wonderful, unexpected friendship.


Welcome Kimberly, Advocate/Case Manager!

Kimberly Gragg joined the CAC case management team as an advocate this month! Kimberly recently relocated to Gainesville, and previously worked as a registered behavior technician with children on the autism spectrum. Kimberly is passionate about helping others and advocating for children. In her free time, Kimberly enjoys going on adventures with her husband and two fur babies.


How to Help

Interested in being a part of our mission to #breakthecycle? There are several ways you can contribute!

  • Child Life Volunteers help out at the center and spend time with children in the waiting area before or after therapy sessions. This weekly commitment is a great way to see the impact CAC services has on children and families.
  • Special Events Volunteers help with CAC events through out the year. You can help in advance or day of!
Visit our Website to Sign Up Today
  • Donations of individually wrapped snacks, juice boxes, and school supplies are always appreciated!
  • Your financial support helps us continue to provide services to children who have experienced abuse or neglect!
Give Now
Facebook  Web  Instagram