Advocacy Center for Crime Victims & Children preparing for annual Mardi Gras Ball

Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 6:46 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children in Waco is preparing for its 10th annual Mardi Gras Ball later this month and organizers say, while it’s a fun party, they don’t want participants to lose sight of the serious mission.

“We’re going to have fun.  It’s a great ball, great entertainment great food but we’re there for a reason,” Alison Sorley, Development Specialist with the Advocacy Center, said. “You are learning about the center.”

The  party will be Saturday, June 25, at the Extraco Events Center in Waco and includes catering by The Olive Branch, Simply Delicious and Milkbottle Cookies.

The ticket also includes an open bar and music by Manhattan.

Last year, Lindsey Kalina was the guest speaker at the ball. Lindsey turned to the Advocacy Center for help when a child in her family was sexually assaulted.  She said she stayed silent for years about the abuse but recently came forward to provide a voice for others needing help.

The mom started a Facebook page called “Break the Silence” to share her story and to create awareness.

She said she found the strength to speak up thanks to help she received at the center.

“Through counseling there, they helped me realize that by staying silent I’m only adding to that shame, and we didn’t do anything wrong. We didn’t ask this to happen to us,” Lindsey said.

“They encouraged me to use my voice and find a reason.”

Lindsey said the Advocacy Center also gave her the tools to help prevent assault or spot warning signs.

She said she knew nothing about the Advocacy Center before walking through the doors.

“It’s so hard to put into a few words but they have truly saved our family. We went through an unimaginable situation and they came right in and did everything from the forensic interview to counseling for our entire family and really just helped us learn how to cope with everything that happened and gave us hope that we can overcome this,” she said.

“I always said we walked into those doors as victims but are now survivors.”

Alison said the non profit hopes to raise $100,000 at the ball to fund the mission of serving six Central Texas counties, including McLennan, Hill, Limestone, Falls, Freestone, Bosque.

In the last year alone, the Advocacy Center conducted 89 forensic medical examinations and nearly 600 forensic interviews.

The crisis hotline had over 700 calls and of those 210 resulted in advocates going to Waco hospitals.

More than a thousand people received counseling services.

If you’d like to purchase a Mardi Gras Ball ticket, you can go to Home - Advocacy Center (advocacycntr.org).

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