Children’s Advocacy Center in Greenfield welcoming community with open house

  • For the first time in five years, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Franklin County and North Quabbin on Wisdom Way in Greenfield is opening its doors to the community for an open house on Thursday. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 9/19/2021 5:25:34 PM

GREENFIELD — For the first time in five years, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Franklin County and North Quabbin on Wisdom Way is opening its doors to the community for an open house.

The open house, scheduled for Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m., will not only be a chance for people to learn about the programs the center has to offer, but also to see the significant rehabilitation the building has undergone since the last open house.

“Six years ago, the building was really in a state where it could be torn down,” said Children’s Advocacy Center Executive Director Irene Woods.

Between 2015 and 2016, Mark Ledwell, formerly of Wright Builders of Northampton, completed roughly $200,000 worth of repairs to the building, she said.

“He solicited donations from his contracting contacts, so people donated windows and flooring and sheetrock,” Woods said. “Under Mark, including the Wright Builders, they totally rehabbed the building.”

Ledwell died in May, and in his memory, the Children’s Advocacy Center plans to hold a Mark Ledwell Labyrinth Garden Dedication at the open house on Thursday.

“He was such a kind, generous man,” Woods recalled, noting that in lieu of flowers after his death, the family requested donations, instead, be made in his honor to the Children’s Advocacy Center. “We’re hoping to speak about (the garden) and dedicate it to Mark.”

Woods explained that the nonprofit chose a labyrinth garden with the hopes it would be a comfortable place for children and their families to wait while interviews take place.

“We thought a labyrinth garden would be calming and soothing, and a place for them to sit,” she said.

Woods said the open house is also an opportunity for community members who donated to learn more about the programs they’re helping to support.

Through the center, children and families are linked to medical, mental health, victim advocacy and other services on a case-by-case basis.

“The Hope and Healing Breakfast we typically do in June was our major fundraiser,” Woods said, noting the breakfast was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’ve had to rely more on our donations from community members, and people have been very generous during the past year.”

The Children’s Advocacy Center also raises money through the Race to End Child Abuse 5K. This year, the nonprofit raised $2,000 at the fifth annual road race, according to Race Director Samantha Staelens. Staelens previously said that money raised during the event goes right back to the center to support its programming.

Thursday’s open house is free and open to the public. Woods said she encourages people to park at the Franklin County Fairgrounds, located on the other side of the street, and walk over to the Children’s Advocacy Center at 56 Wisdom Way.

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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