Eva Corbin, Liberty House vice president, addresses the Champions for Children Luncheon in Salem on Thursday, Sept. 23. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

It was a different kind of luncheon, with only four guests sitting at a table for 10. Guests spread out at the Salem Convention Center on Thursday, Sept. 23, for the Liberty House Champions for Children’s Luncheon.

Those attending was well-masked and the event was live-streamed to provide safety for guests.  Hand sanitizer was part of the table decor.

Board Vice President Eva Corbin kicked off the event thanking sponsors and especially Board President Rich Duncan.

Executive Director Alison Kelley welcomed new Salem Police Chief Trevor Womack and his wife, Christina.  Martin Pilcher, Woodburn interim police chief, provided a video message. 

The theme of her keynote address was “Transformation.”  She took guests through a journey about how trauma can be cumulative, and that healing is gradual and possible.

Many police officers and political leaders attended the event.  Detective Scotty Nowning of Salem Police’s Special Victims Unit works in partnership with Liberty House.  He spoke about the difficulties he had helping families find counseling services in the past and how thankful he is that Liberty House is now offering more services.

Mental Health Therapist Karen Larsen, spoke about how the Hope and Wellness counseling services therapists have banded together during the pandemic by using treatments such as telehealth.

Crystal Deffenbaugh, the project coordinator for iRespect and Protect, told about the program that helps adults talk with children about online safety.  They have trained 8,800 individuals how to recognize and prevent child sexual and digital abuse.

The pandemic caused additional isolation for vulnerable children in Salem who may suffer from abuse and neglect.  Liberty House saw 17% more children in 2020 than in 2019.

Liberty House is a child abuse assessment center serving Marion and Polk counties. The nonprofit offers a safe, comfortable, child-friendly environment for children and their families facing concerns of abuse, neglect, trauma, or grief. 

The center provides medical assessments and forensic interviews for children with concerns of abuse and neglect. Their Hope and Wellness Services provides specialized therapy for children who have experienced trauma. 

Donate online: https://www.libertyhousecenter.org/donate.php 

Brooke Goldsby of Salem Angels, Bill Lindemann of Juliet’s House and Aimee Wright Mendonca of First Federal Savings and Loan attend the Champions for Children Luncheon in Salem on Thursday, Sept. 23. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson attends the Champions for Children Luncheon in Salem on Thursday, Sept. 23. (Mask removed for photo) (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Julie Hoy and Tom Hoffert attend the Champions for Children Luncheon. the Champions for Children Luncheon in Salem on Thursday, Sept. 23. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Greyson Eames attends the Champions for Children Luncheon in Salem on Thursday, Sept. 23. (Mask removed for photo)(Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Mary Louise VanNatta is a Salem public relations professional writing regularly for Salem Reporter.  [email protected] and follow her on Facebook.

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