#MembershipMonday - The Children's Center of the Cumberlands
This week's #MembershipMonday features The Children's Center of the Cumberlands and their executive director, Kellie Asberry. Their child advocacy center is in Scott County, Tennessee, and they also operate a satellite center in neighboring Fentress County. Both centers are proudly part of the 8th Judicial District.
Why did you decide to go into your field?
I have always had a heart for helping those in need, so it was easy for me to fall into a social work field. I spent a few years after I received my Master's degree being a therapist for children who had experienced significant trauma. Helping children work through the hardest time in their life was both challenging and rewarding. To get a job closer to home in 2009, I started working at the child advocacy center. After working in a couple different positions at the center, I stepped into the role of executive director in 2012. While I do sometimes miss the child services aspect, getting to be part of the "bigger picture" of everything our agency has to offer is very rewarding.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of work?
I love the time that's spent with my family, and I enjoy attending church. From spring to fall, I like to take advantage of the outdoor activities East Tennessee has to offer, including things like hiking and Jeep riding in the mountains. I also love to travel and take trips to the Florida beaches.
What are some events or projects (personal or professional) that you would like to share?
Recently, The Children's Center opened The Haven of Help of Hope. This transitional shelter was built within the vacant walls of the child advocacy center for children who are removed from their home and waiting to be placed within foster care. This shelter provides a warm, safe, and loving environment for the children who are removed. This project is special to my heart, and I have seen first-hand the need for the inviting space.
On April 15, 2016, The Children's Center will hold its 11th Annual Nancy Swain Watters Memorial Walk. The 5-mile walk serves a fundraiser and awareness event for the community. We average around 1,000 walkers each year! You can register to join us here!
How can community members and potential donors support your CAC?
Community members can take part by attending a Stewards of Children Prevention Training, volunteering at The Children Center throughout the week or by attending events we hold throughout the year. We always welcome tours and invite people to come to see first-hand what our center has to offer. Financial investments toward our mission is always appreciated and are put to the best use. Every single dollar always helps get toward our goals.
What is on your CAC wish list?
A new mini-van to help transport clients who need help getting to their appointments is the "biggy." Smaller items we need include: snacks, juices, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, and copy paper.
In such a demanding field, what keeps you focused and positive about the work you do?
First and foremost, I look daily to my personal Savior, Jesus, for his direction and guidance on what is best for the children and community we serve, as well as for personal protection. His guidance helps keep me focused and positive. Second, I have an amazing group of women that I get to call my "work family." Their passion and energy for the children we serve is both inspiring and encouraging. Lastly, but certainly not least, the children we serve are a daily reminder to keep on keeping on. The struggles their innocent bodies have endured at such a young, vulnerable age keep me motivated to keep every service there is to offer in place. They are each a little hero in their own big way, and it's up to us to help them discover that!