Overbey turns spotlight on ‘real heroes’ who fight child abuse

The National Children’s Alliance honored State Sen. Doug Overbey with a prestigious award during a June 7 luncheon in Washington, D.C. On Wednesday, June 22, the award was presented again so local friends could share in the excitement.

The senator said he appreciated being given the Bud Crammer award by the national group, but said the “real heroes” are those on the frontlines fighting child abuse everyday.

“I accepted the award, but not for me,” said Overbey. “But on behalf of folks all across this state -- like the board members and staff of New Hope -- who are on the front lines of dealing with childhood abuse and misuse. They are the one who deserve the award, and I will display the plaque in my Nashville office in honor of those people all across the state who are on the front lines.”

Rick Shepard, past board president of New Hope, said Overbey was awarded the State Legislator of the Year award by the Tennessee Children’s Alliance in 2010 and his legislation supporting the advocacy of children has been tremendous. “He is the go-to guy in the state when it comes to children’s advocacy, and the national award couldn’t have been presented to a more deserving person,” Shepard said. “He and his wife, Kay, both have been involved in child advocacy for many, many years, and they have committed to continue to do so as well. “

Trudy Hughes, New Hope Children’s Advocacy Center executive director, said the idea for the reception on Wednesday, June 22, was to locally acknowledge the award Overbey received during the National Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., during a luncheon attended by 400 to 500 people.

Overbey said it was an unexpected honor to receive this award from the National Alliance for Children. “It was even more meaningful at New Hope on Wednesday, where I was with friends and board members, and for the award to be presented again by Rick Shepard. It was great to share the occasion with the folks in here in Blount County,” Overbey said.

Hughes said the reception was also a time to make two important announcements for New Hope. The first was that the National Children’s Alliance has reissued accreditation for New Hope for another five years and that the SunTrust Foundation presented a $5,000 check to New Hope for its new child abuse prevention program. “In addition to doing the local presentation of the award, we were just notified that national accreditation has been given to us again for another five years, making us one of 500 child advocacy programs in the nation to be nationally accredited,” said Hughes.

Hughes said New Hope applied to the SunTrust Foundation for the grant to assist in funding a prevention program they kicked off in April. “It is called Stewards of Children, and it is the only evidence-based prevention program in the country,” she said.

The program is geared to adults, and New Hope staffers and volunteers already have made eight presentations.

“We have reached 150 people, making presentations to Denso managers, for various church groups, child care groups and an open community forum with 82 present at Maryville College,” she said. “The program and information is for everyone; there is no specific target. Anyone who has an interest and desire to help create a community where children are less victimized by child abuse can benefit from the presentations.”

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