#SPOTLIGHTSUNDAY with Dana Scott

This week’s #SPOTLIGHTSUNDAY is Dana Scott. Dana has been with the CSC since its founding 20 years ago and serves as Victim Assistance Program Director Washington County. As Dana is deeply rooted in the foundation of the Children’s Safety Center, we figured that in this month of April (Child Abuse Awareness Month) should celebrate her contributions. Find out more about Dana and her history with the CSC below:

You were involved in creating the CSC in NWA, what is something irreplaceable that the CSC provides to our community?

Before the CSC opened and began providing advocacy, families who reported allegations of child abuse often had to wait a month or more for services to be provided.  At that point, they may have been connected to services if there was cause for DHS to open a case or if an arrest was made and the case came through the Prosecutor’s office.  Otherwise, families were fending for themselves.  Having advocates on scene to begin immediate and continuous support to child victims and their families is most certainly an irreplaceable service to people in our community.  Knowing these families are less likely to end up homeless, jobless, or hopeless benefits our community whether the community recognizes it or not.

What has been the most rewarding thing about your work with the CSC?

My working relationship with the staff at the CSC is most rewarding.  Having almost daily contact with CSC representatives helps me perform my job and is a constant reminder that there are people fully committed to enriching children’s lives and invested in ending child abuse.  I cannot imagine doing this work without them.    

How has the CSC changed in the last 20 years?

There has been some turnover, but not much, which says something about the work they do and the commitment of the staff.  I am overwhelmed by the current wealth of community support, from Board involvement, to committees, to donations.  That kind of support has grown beyond the wildest dreams of the initial Board, which consisted of a small group of representatives from within the system who knew there was a better way to serve child victims.

What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?

We love watching movies together as a family.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

I was advised not to say I’d go to New Zealand to see where Lord of the Rings was filmed, so I’m going with a trip to Costa Rica because I’ve read the bird-watching there is incredible!


#SPOTLIGHTSUNDAY

Happy Sunday, everyone!

This week we are featuring Jeni McIntyre, the CSC’s newest therapist! I asked Jeni a few questions about her personal life, experience with the CSC, and her new job. We are so excited for you to finally meet Jeni!

How did you become involved in the CSC?

When I was in undergrad I was in Casey’s field class and she talked about volunteering at the center. I wanted to be a volunteer so I signed up and went to training. Then in my second semester of field in undergrad I was the advocacy intern here. I continued to volunteer as an on-call advocate through that time and continued while in grad school and after graduating (until accepting my job as the therapist).

What is the most rewarding thing about your job with the CSC?

There are a couple of things that I love about my job (really a billion but I will limit it to a couple). The first thing is being able to affirm kids thoughts and feelings. Almost every time a kid (or parent) is in my office they eventually tell me about something they feel or think but they’ve been afraid to share with anyone because they don’t think they should feel or think it or they are weird or bad or whatever. I get to assure them that what they are experiencing is okay, it’s normal, and they aren’t alone. Seeing the relief on their face (and in their bodies as they relax) is so rewarding. We all want to be accepted and they go from feeling like they aren’t normal to being okay and that’s amazing. The other thing that I love about my job is getting to see the strength of the kids I work with and how hard they fight to heal. These kids are amazing, beautiful, strong, resilient people but they never see it- I get to help them see it and watching that process is an incredible experience. I am in awe of them every day.

What is the most challenging thing about your job?

The most challenging part of my job is hearing really, really awful stuff sometimes. We tend to want to shy away from the hard stuff and part of my job is standing next to the kids while they confront it. I see the dark side of people and the pain they cause. It’s hard some days- I always remind myself if it’s hard for me how hard must it be for them and how lucky I am that they trust me enough, feel safe enough with me to let share their journey.

I heard that you do art therapy with some of the kids you serve. What do you think art provides for those kids?

I love art for tons and tons of reasons. Art can be relaxing. It can help cope with feelings, express feelings, express thoughts even when we don’t know what they are. It shows the progress being made in a way even the kids see it when they look at their art over time. It lets hidden things be expressed in a way that feels safer than speaking them out loud. It can build confidence. It allows them to be messy and be a kid and have fun when everything feels so heavy and overwhelming.

What is the number one place you wish to travel? Why?

I love to travel, and I have been to many places in my life. I think the one place that I really want to go is to the Galapagos Islands.  My husband is a scuba diver and they have amazing diving there and then the animals I want to see ALL the animals.

FUN FACTS ABOUT JENI:

-I have three sons, two still live at home (Brenden, Kivet, and Cade)

– I’m married to a pretty awesome guy (Jeremy) and St. Patrick’s Day is our anniversary! He works in IT at Wal-Mart.

-We live in Bella Vista.

-In our home we have three cats (I’m definitely a cat person!) and two dogs (who are very sweet) and two turtles.

-Our newest cat is working on training to be a therapy cat because I absolutely believe in the power of animals to help healing

-In my office I have one beautiful betta fish and a tiny little algae eater fish and I change my fish tank décor to match the holidays/seasons (kids love my fish)

-I’m slightly obsessed with many very nerdy things- like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, etc.

-I collect frogs

-I love to bake and make pretty awesome decorated sugar cookies

-My favorite must watch TV show is Criminal Minds

-I almost never read fiction books- I love reading research books, therapy books, etc.

-My favorite superhero (?) is Groot

-I cry at commercials, movies, books, shows, pretty much everything

-My best friend and I have been friends since High School (and we are old so that’s a long time- she’s older than me and I make sure she remembers!) and she works at the Springdale Animal Shelter where my last 3 animals have been adopted.


#SPOTLIGHTSUNDAY

Over the next month or so we will be posting a #spotlightsunday each week. Each of these spotlights will feature our new employees, new interns, and those essential to establishing the CSC 20 years ago. Come visit us each week to learn a little about the wonderful people doing good for the children of this community!

We will begin this week with Lexi Madle! Lexi started recently as an Advocate Intern at the Children’s Safety Center, and we asked her a few questions about her and her job.

How did you become involved with the CSC?

It all started with my Field I class! I was lucky enough to have Casey as my instructor. Once she introduced herself and explained the center and the services provided, I knew I wanted to be a part of the team! Fortunately, I received the recommendation to intern at the CSC!

What is your favorite thing about being a CSC intern?

I love everything about the safety center and our team. The opportunity to work directly with clients and their families is incredible. I can honestly say standing next to these brave individuals as they begin their journeys of healing is one of the coolest things I have ever done.

Why do you think the CSC is important to the NWA community?

Child sexual abuse is a topic too often undiscussed. Though it makes people uncomfortable to think about, it is happening every single day. Fortunately, places like the Children’s Safety Center exist. The center raises a voice for those victimized by this hidden epidemic and offers a safe haven to the boys and girls that visit.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to rest and recharge for a few weeks before starting grad school! I was recently accepted to the MSW program in the School of Social Work. Though I am incredibly nervous, I am so excited to be given the opportunity to continue my education!!

What makes you smile?

Oh goodness! Lots of things make me smile, but I am going to go with being surrounded by positive people. Oh and videos of baby animals, always.