Ocean City Today
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Cricket Center fundraiser, Oct. 25

By Josh Davis | Oct 12, 2017
Photo by: Josh Davis/Ocean City Today Inside the Cricket Center in Berlin, the only child advocacy center in Worcester County, more than 100 handprints represent each child who has visited the center. Multiple agencies, including police and social workers, help the center fight child sexual and physical abuse, with a focus on both prosecuting criminals and helping the victims recover.

(Oct. 13, 2017) Patty Falck, along with “a civic-minded group of caring individuals,” helped launch the Cricket Center Foundation last year.

Based on her background in advertising, Falck said she wanted to raise awareness and be “as blunt as we can to make people know that children are being sexually and physically abused.”

“I wanted to join a charity that I could share my contacts with, my talent with, and put my heart into – and I wanted to find a charity that hurt my heart the most,” Falck said. “And I can’t think of anything that is more disturbing than sexually abused kids.”

The Cricket Center in Berlin is the only child advocacy center for sexually and physically abused children in Worcester County. Last year, the center reviewed 92 local cases, logged 472 hours of trauma therapy with victims and identified 31 sex offenders.

With the help of local law enforcement and the Internet Crimes Against Children, 11 arrests were made related to producing or distributing child pornography. During the same period, the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office reported sentencing child sex offenders to a combined 173 years in prison.

Since opening in 2009, the center helped produce more than 1,000 years of jail time for child sex offenders.

Falck said Cricket Center Executive Director Wendy Myers and all of the staff at the center are “passionate, compassionate professionals who truly believe that they make a difference – and they do.”

Additionally, Atlantic General Hospital provides medical intervention through the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFE) program, and the Life Crisis Center provides mental health therapy and family advocates.

Partners of the Cricket Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, include Atlantic General Hospital, Life Crisis Center, Worcester County Department of Social Services Child Protective Unit, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office and local law enforcement.

All services at the Cricket Center are free to the victims and their families. The center is largely supported by grants, including funds from the federal Victims of Crime Act and the Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, as well as Worcester County and local municipalities.

Other funding comes from public and private donations, including those provided by the Cricket Center Foundation.

“Our foundation works so beautifully together to do, without any hesitation, whatever they possibly can to raise funds to help make the jobs of everyone at the Cricket Center so much easier,” Falck said.

“Our purpose for the foundation is to raise awareness that this problem exists in our county – and it doesn’t just exist, it’s rampant. It’s an epidemic that has to be stopped,” she continued. “We also want to raise awareness for victims and their families to know that there is a place that they can go, because so often people ask, ‘What is the Cricket Center?’

“It’s been wonderful reaching out and having the support that we’ve had, in just a year,” Falck said. “Last year, The Hobbit also generously opened their hearts and their doors to us for our first cocktail party, at which $21,000 was generated, which was amazing. We are so blessed with having wonderful friends and supporters who generously give to this worthwhile cause.”

Tickets are on sale for the second annual Cricket Center Foundation Fundraiser, scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 25 at The Hobbit Restaurant on 81st Street in Ocean City. The event is the biggest annual fundraiser for the center.

Tickets cost $65 and include hors d’oeuvres, live and silent auctions, and live music by Blind Wind and Perpetual Commotion. A cash bar will also be offered.

New to the event this year will be the “Sand or Sound Raffle” drawing for two trips – a five-night stay in the Bahamas and a two-night private “Nashville experience” created for diehard country music fans.

The trip to the Bahamas includes five nights at the Green Turtle Club Resort & Marina, courtesy of the Showell family, as well as $1,000 toward airfare, donated by four Berlin shops: TaDa, The Treasure Chest, Stuart’s Antiques and Bruder Hill.

Chris Farren, of the Grammy-winning production company, Combustion Music, in Nashville, donated a two-night Nashville experience that includes a $500 voucher at the Hilton Hotel and a $500 voucher for airfare through Southwest Airlines, as well as a private studio visit, two tickets to the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Association Hall of Fame, and two $100 restaurant gift cards.

“These are personalized trips, and having the owners of these companies so generously giving their hearts to this – I’m just thrilled,” Falck said.

Raffle tickets cost $20 each, or get six for $100, and are available at TaDa, The Treasure Chest, Stuart’s Antiques and Bruder Hill, as well as online at www.thecricketcenter.com.

Tickets for the Cricket Center Foundation Cocktail Party may be purchased at www.thecricketcenter.com.

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