Child Advocacy Organizations Announce Merger

(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – Noah’s Hope and the Child Advocacy Center of Tuscarawas County are announcing a new partnership.

Noah’s Hope was created following the death of 2-year-old Noah after he suffered injuries while in the care of his babysitter. His parents, Doug and Kristen Shoup dedicated their lives to turning that tragedy into something that can make a positive impact.

The Noah’s Hope charity has raised $130,737 over the last 11 years to fund awareness efforts designed to fight child abuse.  And now, the organization is merging with another nonprofit that encourages teamwork and partnership among professionals who are involved with child abuse cases, the Tuscarawas County Child Advocacy Center (CAC).

Director of the Child Advocacy Center, Vanessa Sergios, explained that the partnership simply made sense. “Doug and Kristen first provided funds to the CARE Center of Akron – Summit County’s Child Advocacy Center – when Noah was injured. We did not have a Child Advocacy Center in Tuscarawas County. We opened in 2011 [and] over the next few years we supported each other’s activities and they became more and more involved in CAC. We helped each other and eventually they wanted to focus their efforts on our development and success.”

Noah’s Hope and CAC’s first official joint venture was in 2014 when Noah’s Hope contributed funds to help purchase equipment that allowed abused children to be examined at the New Philadelphia office of Akron Children’s Hospital.

The two organizations are now one and are now known as Noah’s Hope Child Advocacy Center of Tuscarawas County. With that comes a new logo, new website and soon a new location. The organization has recently signed a five-year lease on a building at 2421 E. High Avenue, New Philadelphia. The lease includes an option to purchase the 2,100-square-foot building after the second year.

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The group is now working to raise roughly $50,000 to $75,000 needed to renovate the building, which is designed like a two-story home.

Stergios noted that the partnership helps better represent what the CAC is designed to do. “People believe we are a government agency and government-funded – neither is true. We are a 501c3 and are a partnership with both the mandated responders and the supportive organizations for complex child abuse cases.”

The organization works closely with all law enforcement agencies in the county as well as with social workers, prosecutors, healthcare providers, and others. Representatives work with and interview children who have suffered sexual or physical abuse and those interviews are recorded to prevent the need for those children to relive the traumatic accounts unnecessarily.

“The Shoup’s have dedicated their lives to creating a positive response to a horrific tragedy that forever changed their lives,” added Stergios. “We are honored to be a part of advancing the reality of child abuse in such a positive way.”

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