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Leader of child abuse prevention speaks

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
It’s tough these days for nonprofits to maintain services with less money, but it can be done, says Rosemarie Allen, president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina.
Allen, formerly of Smart Start Rowan, spoke to a group with the Adolescent and Family Enrichment Council during the organization’s annual meeting Wednesday. The meeting was held at the Rowan Public Library.
In 2008 and part of 2009, the Family Enrichment Council provided services to 14,185 children and their families.
“That is quite an amazing record of service from one nonprofit,” Allen said.
The council, formerly the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Council, works to reduce adolescent pregnancy by providing family life education.
“Who thinks parenting is easy?” Allen asked the group.
Those in attendance agreed it was not. They also agreed that it is an important responsibility, one that does not come with instructions.
“This agency brought parents together so they don’t feel alone. The common denominator is all parents want to become better parents, but they don’t know how,” she said.
Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina has 221 prevention partners across the state, the Adolescent and Family Enrichment Council is one of them.
“Our role is to help the front-line professionals to make sure their programs are working,” Allen said.
Council Director Jeannie Sherrill said the organization has seen its share of budget cuts, but they still have to maintain their services and staff.
“We were able to survive because we have great community collaborative partners. We feel very blessed for a great year,” Sherrill said.
The organization received some stimulus money and a grant through the Governor’s Crime Commission. They are able to hire four part-time people and maintain their current staff.
Times are challenging Allen said, especially for obtaining continued monetary support.
She said a nonprofit can stay afloat if it can “distinguish yourself as a nonprofit making a difference and stay the course. You can’t stop.”
Volunteers and board members have to tell people about their organization and become “evangelists for your cause,” Allen said.
The Adolescent and Family Enrichment Council is a participating agency of the Rowan County United Way.

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