Carolyn Massey paints 10-year-old Kenny Smith’s hand to add to the helping hands tree at the Children’s Advocacy Center on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Carolyn Massey paints 10-year-old Kenny Smith’s hand to add to the helping hands tree at the Children’s Advocacy Center on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Helping hands

Children’s services organization celebrates World Children’s Day with outreach event.

The Central Peninsula Children’s Advocacy Center in Kenai is hosting a social outreach and fundraising event this weekend in honor of World Children’s Day.

The event will feature a “helping hands tree” mural on one of the center’s walls, with a tree trunk and branches painted by artist Carolyn Massey. During the event, people can use their handprints to make leaves on the tree.

“The tree is kind of the draw to people,” Lauralee Peterson, the manager of the center, said. “I truly do see this … as a cool thing.”

Peterson said she hopes community members can learn more about how the center responds to child abuse cases.

The advocacy center provides services to children who have experienced sexual or severe physical abuse and offers a “safe, child friendly environment for children to talk about what happened, as well as advocacy to help kids and families heal,” according to the organization’s website. The center also works to bring together community partners, including law enforcement, the Office of Children’s Services and mental and medical professionals, to address investigation, prosecution and treatment in child abuse cases, website said.

Peterson said she has done the project before and it’s been a way to engage with the community. The flier for the event states that World Children’s Day is an opportunity to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights.

“It ends up being this healthy, wholesome thing,” Peterson said.

People are encouraged to come to the center and learn about the work, as well as enjoy some light refreshments and make donations if they’re able. The event will be upstairs in the Seaman Buiding at 601 Frontage Road in Kenai on Friday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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