Child Advocacy Program, Chautauqua County RSVP Create Calming Atmosphere

Chautauqua Advocacy Program and Chautauqua County RSVP began collaborating together around 2009, shortly after CAP opened its present home at 405 W. Third St. in Jamestown. Jana McDermott, executive director and Debbie Basile, project director Chautauqua County RSVP, met to discuss “how” or “if” the RSVP volunteers could assist them to bring hope, healing, and justice to families affected by sexual abuse. RSVP has recruited volunteers to serve in the CAP reception area, after completing proper orientation and training.

CAP focuses on child abuse prevention and providing a warm environment for victims of sexual abuse. CAP was able to add more space to the Jamestown space, so they were faced with these blank walls. McDermott began to brainstorm about this dilemma and she called RSVP to inquire about RSVP having any artists willing to share their work. Brenda Weiler, RSVP project coordinator identified and quickly asked a volunteer – Virginia Inglesby – to share her personal “treasures” to brighten and complement the environment of the waiting area. The waiting area is where the children affected by sexual abuse await their counseling sessions. Inglesby’s husband, William Inglesby, now deceased, was an award-winning artist with great skill capturing images of animals. All kids love animals so why not share these wonderful creations with the children. Virginia graciously loaned her husband’s oil painting masterpieces to CAP. They now adorn the walls of the waiting area in full view of the children – what a magical match – hand paintings of animals to soothe the anxious child awaiting counseling. This is a great tribute to Mr. Inglesby, a gracious act of kindness by Mrs. Inglesby, and CAP willingness to showcase the works of William Inglesby.

RSVP is also focusing their recruitment efforts to enlist volunteers to become “Stewards of Children” – a child abuse prevention training program teaching adults how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to children affected by abuse.

Chautauqua County RSVP is a federal program governed by the Corporation for National & Community Service. Its mission is to recruit, place, manage, volunteers aged 55 and older in meaningful service to address the critical needs of our county. It is funded by NYS Office for the Aging, sponsored locally by Lutheran and is member agency of United Way of Southern Chautauqua County. For more information or to become a “Steward of Children,” please call Weiler at 665-3038.