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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Childrens Advocacy Center of SW Florida Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Human Services, Victims Services

Mission: To improve the lives of children and their families through a coordinated response to child abuse and neglect.

Target demographics: children who have been physically or sexually abused, or are at-risk of physical or sexual abuse and neglect

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 5,000 children and their families in Lee, Glades, Hendry and Charlotte Counties

Geographic areas served: Lee, Glades, Charlotte and Hendry Counties

Programs: Child Protection Team/Medical Services, Family Alliance Therapy, Parenting Education, Pine Manor After-School/Summer Program and East United Way House. All services and programs are free of charge.

Community Stories

56 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I feel so fortunate to have been chosen as a “lobby greeter/ puppy chaperone” in 2016. Despite the fact that children and families are coming to CAC during a stressful time in their lives, I have witnessed so much joy here. Almost every child (and many adults) who come in with any apprehension immediately brighten when they spot the puppy. Our four-legged volunteers from Gulf Coast Humane Society are the greatest icebreakers! People stop staring at their cell phones and start watching the puppy, smiling, asking questions, and engaging in dog talk. I get to hear about their animal friends at home, and about pets they have loved and lost. It is so rewarding to play a small role in a puppy’s socialization and training. Sometimes the little one’s visit to CAC is its first time away from its mother and littermates. In addition to the puppies, I have met some of the most amazing therapy dogs and their human partners, who work in individual therapy sessions, literacy programs, and dependency court. So much good work is being done by the ever growing team of four-legged volunteers!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the Children's Advocacy Center as a Pet Therapy volunteer and now as the Pet Therapy Coordinator, for a number of years. The help and guidance that the staff at the Center provide to the children, parents and guardians is invaluable. I think we all have a fervent wish that we never saw another child come through the doors, but unfortunately the horror that is child abuse never seems to stop. Caring, listening and guiding is what the staff at the Center do best.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

These are the saints among us! This professional organization is dedicated to meeting the needs of every child whom crosses their threshold. Most of us, have not the strength, fortitude, knowledge or experience to support (and maybe even heal) the precious children they serve. May God continue to bless their efforts!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Caring organization. Very responsive to the needs of our community. The work they do is tough and heartbreaking, but so necessary.

Marty Shavon P.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This CAC far exceeds expectations. There are several individuals that have been blessed by the outpouring of generosity by the community. Children's Advocacy Center of SWFL promotes working together and community in all aspects from walking through the door to walking out. The mission and vision work together in action not just by words. We are just one of the many that are working to make this world a better place. Thankful to be part of CAC of SWFL.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Children's Advocacy Center of SW Florida is a fountain of refreshing waters. The center allows individuals to feel whole even if they are coming from a tragedy. A center that can go from an experience that causes hardship to a success that feels like accomplishment is one that is community centered and people focused. From the minute that you walk through the door you feel the warmth that CAC offers. Being intentional about your focus means that you make an effort for others and that is exactly what CAC does.

L John P.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was on a tour in January and was so taken with the work of the agency that I volunteered to get involved. My experience has been limited, but most impressed with several of the programs including the use of dogs for comfort. Focused caring staff make for a well run organization.

Sandy McAtee H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer with the Center. Children are the utmost priority of the CAC.
Everyone there is very professional, kind and compassionate. It is a pleasure to volunteer there.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a lobby puppy handler in the Pet Therapy Program for almost 4 years and so enjoy interacting with the children and families who come to the Children's Advocacy Center. When they enter the lobby the children are drawn to the puppy with warm greetings and want to pet it and ask questions about the pup. It's heart warming to see this instant bond with the pup and to see the puppy's tail wag with affection for the children and families.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer in the Pet Therapy program at the Children's Advocacy Center for 6 months and really appreciate the warm caring staff. When children and families come into the lobby for their appointments their faces light up at the sight of a cute tail-waggin' puppy. They relax and love to watch and pet it, and their smiles and happiness make my day.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The level of commitment to the children and families affected by abuse is amazing. I've volunteered as a board member for many years and am always impressed with the staff and management.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a Board Member, I've been impressed with the dedication of the staff and volunteers. This mission is critical to help heal abused children and give them a chance to recover. The coordinated response to child abuse performed by this agency is worth our community support.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My dog and I work with therapists and their young clients who ask for a dog to be part of their therapy sessions. Wow! The therapists have received specific training on how to incorporate the dogs into the sessions. I was so impressed to actually see this in action. We worked with a therapist and her client for six months. It was very rewarding to see how my dog impacted the sessions. He absolutely loved going to the sessions! The Children's Advocacy Center has a top notch pet therapy program and we are happy to be a part of it!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for over seven years at CAC with my therapy dogs Hope 11 and Bryn 2, we have always felt valued and appreciated.
CAC provides an invaluable service to our community.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My therapy dog Hope and I have been volunteering at CAC for almost 6 years.
Hope has assisted lots of children on their therapy journey.
There is nothing more rewarding than helping a broken child heal.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sweetpea and I have been coming for several months. The families in the waiting area and the client enjoy loving on her. It’s nice knowing that Sweetpea brings some joy to their lives.

joycenarch

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a greeter in the lobby and have been doing this for over two years. What a joy it is to see the faces of the kids of all ages light up when they see a puppy in the lobby. It also helps the parents and guardians of the children and they start talking to the greeter or each other. Many of our beautiful puppies have been adopted by the staff and volunteers and also the parents who come in. It’s a 2 way win for the dogs from the Humane society and for the Therapists and staff. I have seen many of the children fulfill their therapy and skip out happy. In the time I have been there the program has grown and so many volunteers with service dogs have been added to the program. I can’t say enough good things about this program and CAC. One of the dogs who I adopted. What a wonderful agency this is for helping all walks of life. I’m proud to say I’m a small part of it.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer with the pet Therapy program I want to say what a wonderful agency it is. I sit outside in the lobby with a puppy and greet the people's when they come in. Seeing them go into therapy and the happy faces when they come out after several visits is awesome. This is a wonderful agency and the people who work there are great, kind and caring, I highly recommend this agency to all.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Great organization doing great things, staffed and run by people who are really dedicated to helping people and making a difference.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ginger (now my 5 years-old Welsh Terrier) and I continue to be part of the Pet Therapy program at Childrens Advocacy Center of SW Florida. We interact with children in the lobby as well as participate in individual therapy and in support of other United Way agencies ...all professionally coordinated by CAC!. From my earliest interaction with CAC, I was taken by the client-centered focus on the part of everyone as they care for young people at times of stress and trauma. Ginger and I feel privileged to be part of such a high impact and caring organization. I encourage everyone to take a deeper look at CAC to find ways to be of support.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ginger (3 year-old Welsh Terrier) and I have recently become part of the Pet Therapy program at Childrens Advocacy Center of SW Florida. We interact with children in the lobby as well as participate in individual therapy. From my earliest interaction with CAC, I was taken by the client-centered focus on the part of everyone as they care for young people at times of stress and trauma. Ginger and I feel privileged to be part of such a high impact and caring organization. I encourage everyone to take a deeper look at CAC to find ways to be of support.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Several years ago I was fortunate enough to find the Children's Advocacy Center as an adult survivor. The caring and compassion that all of the staff impart to every client that walks through the doors helps to heal the wounds that most people can't imagine. I was so impressed with the organization that when my therapy dogs were certified, we began volunteering to help the kids that were assigned a therapist. Three years later, and I'm now a proud part of the organization and leading their volunteer teams of therapy dogs and handlers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CAC is a warm and welcoming place. I am blessed to have been able to volunteer with my therapy dog Zoe . She responds to each client in a different way- seeming to know exactly what they need- and is rewarded with smiles and hugs.

Writer

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Chloe and I have been pet therapy volunteers with Childrens Advocacy Center since 2014. I am so impressed with the program and all that it does for children in our community. CAC fills a much needed role!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Chloe (a dalmatian therapy dog) and I have been volunteering at Childrens Adovcacy Center since last year and are so very impressed with the staff, facility and resources. We sit in on therapy sessions and work with the outreach community reading program.

CAC is a wonderful asset to our community!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a volunteer with the Pet Therapy Program handling a puppy in the lobby. The puppy and I greet people who come in the door and i enjoy seeing their faces light up. Both children and adults like petting the puppy and I can see them relax and smile when they share their stories about their pets. It's a stress reducer for the families and is also good socialization for the puppies.

The staff members at the CAC are very warm and caring and they make it a rewarding environment for families and volunteering.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My name is Cynthia Shafer and for the last 10 years I have volunteered to help serve Thanksgiving dinner to 160 plus families at Pine Manor. The staff at Child Advocacy help, the kids make decorations fot the tables and the residences make dishes native to tbem. Its truly amazing and thanks is given by all

3

Donor

Rating: 5

The management at this organization makes all the difference in caring for and helping children who have been placed in contact with them due to unusual, stressful scenarios, that was no fault of the child. The staff goes the extra mile to comfort and soothe a child in an extraordinary emotional time in their life.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

As a volunteer at PIne Manor, I really enjoyed my experience and time with everyone there> With all that is going on in the world, it is good to know that there is somewhere for kids to go and be around their peers and also stay out of trouble. The kids were a pleasure and I am sad my time is coming to an end due to graduation :(

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is heartwarming to see your donation put to good use! I volunteer at Pine Manor, an after school program for neighborhood kids, where kids are supervised by wonderful and caring staff. Kids have to work on their assignments, they can interact with and read to a therapy dog, there is plenty of time for games and outside play - all made possible by donors like you, thank you!
I also spend time at the Center on Evans where parents seek help and support for their kids. Kids will find toys, puppies, and therapy dogs in the lobby and during sessions to help them relax. The staff is kind and supportive, understanding the fragile state of these youngsters. None of this would be possible without your support, you are making a difference!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Viki Luster and I am a member of the Kiwanis Club that Lisa belong to, she shares with us the amazing things that her organization is doing to help children. Without this knowledge we would have never know about or been able to be a part of helping. Our club supports their mission with not only monetary help but we attend their events, gather items for the school age children, donate stuff animals for the little ones. We believe that this is a most amazing important non for profit many in our area would suffer without the help of the dedicated staff.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a sponsor representative, I helped participate in a program for the children during the holidays. The Children's Advocacy Center offers a great place for children to go and have a positive experience.

Donor

Rating: 5

The people at the Children's Advocacy Center really care about the families they help. They are passionate about giving assistance to needy families, and make it so easy and rewarding for me to drop off all manner of household goods, clothing or school supplies, noting that their is so much need. Cheers for your work and compassion.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a donor for several years and this is a vital service to our community. This organization does a tremendous job with our local youth. They also keep the community updated on their efforts and programs. All Donations stay local which is what I look for when donating to an organization. Children's Advocacy Center of SWFL plays a vital role in our community protecting vulnerable children and providing preventative services to families. They are also key players in connecting community resources and building a strong network for professionals and citizens of SWFL. As a local business we wanted to help support a local organization that we felt was making a difference in our community. The Children's Advocacy Center of SW Florida is a fountain of refreshing waters. The center allows individuals to feel whole even if they are coming from a tragedy. A center that can go from an experience that causes hardship to a success that feels like accomplishment is one that is community centered and people focused. We are proud to count Lisa Rizzio, CAC Development Director, among its members.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a donor for several years and this is a vital service to our community. They may not get the notoriety of the national charities but the work they do is vital and its for our friends and neighbors. This is as local and as important work as you'll find. They deserve our support.

Supporting CAC is supporting victims who you will never see but who will be impacted for life by your generosity.

Gareth H.

Donor

Rating: 5

Kiwanis Club of Ft. Myers/Gateway to the Islands is proud to count Lisa Rizzio, CAC Development Director, among its members. Lisa is editor of the club's newsletter and has taken it to a level not heretofore seen. Our club has established a close relationship with CAC and supports it through donations of cash and goods. It has been my privilege to visit CAC on a couple of occasions. IMPRESSIVE is the word that first comes to mind--a very special place with a challenging mission that it fulfills extraordinarily well.

Board Member

Rating: 5

CAC mission of treat kids believed to have been physically or sexually abused or to be at-risk of such abuse, and a provide a safe place for them to come and be heard is the focus everyday with their staff and leadership team. I am amazed at the programs that range from after school programs to pet therapy. The love and care that they give to so many children is felt across the agency and our community. Truly an amazing agency

Donor

Rating: 5

I absolutely love everything about CAC, from the mission of the center, to the staff to the thousands of families they help every year -- Thank you! I sincerely believe that our community wouldn't be the same without CAC and their affiliates. Thank you for helping everyone that comes through your doors, you are making a difference in SWFL.

Donor

Rating: 5

As a local business we wanted to help support a local organization that we felt was making a difference in our community . At Christmas we typically give our customers a token of our appreciation for their support . This year we changed it up and decided to take that money and find a local organization needing help. We first read about CACSWFL thru the local United Way website. There are a ton of great organizations and it was tough to choose, but supporting children was sort of a "no brainer". A group of us went over to tour the center on Evans and were really kind of blown away by the staff's dedication and these kids courage . We were happy to help them purchase their van and brought over clothing to help restock the kids closet . The CAC is doing good things ,we were happy and very proud to help them.

Jill88

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CAC of SWFL plays a vital role in our community protecting vulnerable children and providing preventative services to families. They are also key players in connecting community resources and building a strong network for professionals and citizens of SWFL.

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization does and tremendous job with our local youth. They also keep the community updated on their efforts and programs. All Donations stay local which is what I look for when donating to an organization.

Donna246

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with my Great Pyrenees Sally gives children and adults a chance to relax. Therapy dogs provide unconditional love, and judgement free quality time, thus support communication. Reading to Sally is a fabulous way to facilitate learning while children have fun in a safe environment.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My Therapy dog Hope and I have been volunteering at CAC for about 4 years. We have loved every minute! The rewards have been life changing for us as well as the children.
I look forward to our future work with everyone at CAC.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a child advocate for 40 years in many capacities including teen moms, teen dads, parent education, and I am very proud of the work that all non-profit agencies and their accomplishments. I'm not in Florida yet - I'm moving there in the next few months and after researching what would be a wonderful fit for CAC of SW FL. I am so excited for a new endeavor!!


Rae Worsham
rae.worsham@yahoo.com
10830 S Guthrie Ave.
Jenks, OK 74037

Tony33

Donor

Rating: 5

While time doesn't permit me to helpin a hands on manner I donate as much as I can. This donation of most anything usable goes directly to the welfare of the children.
The staff goes the extra mile to insure their well being .
I will continue to support this organisation now and in the future

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been volunteering with the CAC after school program at Pine Manor. Clara, Katia, the supervisors, along with Val, the program director, are dedicated, compassionate women, always keeping the child in mind, and the child's needs first. The kids and I recently finished an art project and the finished Georgia O'Keefe's were beautiful. Talent abounds with these darling kids.

CAC is a nonprofit that honors and respects the needs of the child. I hope there will be an ever increasing awareness about the services that CAC provides to the community in Fort Myers area. Lynda Rizzio

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had the oppurtunity to tour CAC and am so glad I did. Any organization that helps children is always close to my heart. The staff was knowlegeble and the center was bright and cheerful. I am most impressed with their process of getting the victim, counselor, law enforcement and physicians together, while limiting the negative effects on on already traumitized child. The work they do is amazing and they are a vital part of the community.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Children's Advocacy Center is just incredible. In addition to the very necessary and expert service they provide, they are exceptionally well run. The Executive Director and staff are top notch and they have a very engaged and active board. This agency gets an A+

Donor

Rating: 5

I am with the ASG[ American Sewing Guild] Because they help so many kids and people in the community. They are a wonderful organization! Any help given to them is greatly appreciated and they let you know!!!

Linda272

Donor

Rating: 5

As a new business owner in the area I wanted to do a fundraiser for an organization that caters to the children of my community. After doing some research and speaking with several non-profits, I chose CAC because I felt they were a vital part of our community. They took as much time as I needed to answer my questions and give me a tour, not to mention help me organize and be a big part of the fundraiser. I was very impressed with how much everyone working there sincerely cared about what they do. I plan on keeping CAC a yearly event for as long as I can.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Children's Advocacy Center of SWFL makes a huge difference in our community each day and is an outstanding organization which we are happy to support. I would recommend anyone who is interested in making an impact on a child's life contact them for opportunities.

Miriam

Donor

Rating: 5

I was a professional child psychologist so am interested in charities that work with abused and neglected children, as this was part of my work experience. I found Children's Advocacy Center on Charity Navigator and sent an email expressing interest in their work. A couple of staff members gave me a personal tour and explained their mission. I was very impressed with the clinical work being done, and, in fact, after my visit made sure to include CAC in my estate planning so that they would receive a contribution when I die. We need the best services possible for children who have been abused, and CAC is providing those.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was involved in selecting a charity for our community to sponsor and we chose CAC. I toured the facility and talked to the staff. I looked at the statistics on the need and their results. And I've seen how much Sheriff Scott's crew appreciates and utilizes CAC. They are incredibly caring and effective with barebones efficiency. I strongly support CAC.
John Wood
Estero

Donor

Rating: 5

I can think of no better cause to serve than the safety and welfare of children, our most vulnerable members of society. As a donor, I receive regular updates about the great work of the Children's Advocacy Center. I was most impressed with an illustration showing that abused children served by CAC do not have to tell their stories many times over to numerous professionals, because the CAC coordinates services and delivers them as a team. To me, this says that the CAC thinks first about what is in the best interest of the child, while at the same time including family as appropriate. It is all the more impressive that the CAC offers preventive services and parenting classes as well as treatment. I never have to wonder if my donation is well spent. The CAC improves lives!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This agency is a wonderful organization with dedicated staff who are committed to serving the children of SW Florida. They provide excellent services to all clients and work with one of our most vulnerable client populations--young children who have been abused or neglected.

The staff is extremely knowledgeable and dedicated to their clients. They provide an incredibly valuable service to this community and their clients!

They also are dedicated to training others about the need of these clients and work to educate the community about the issues and problems faced by these children, youth, and families.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Children's Advocacy Center is a voice for those who can not speak for themselves. It serves to prevent abuse that often times is inflicted by those closest to the child. The CAC quietly advocates, treats and defends children who can not speak up for themselves. What a noble cause!