Creating awareness and raising funds for advocacy services for crime victims and survivors could be considered a second fulltime job for Eddy County Sheriff’s Lt. Amy Dugas.
During the day she oversees grants and funding functions for the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office. When she clocks out from that duty, Dugas turns her attention to planning a back-to-school type bash in August to benefit the Cavern City Advocacy Center (CAC) and the Foundry Home in Carlsbad.
Dugas sought sponsors, food trucks and vendors for what she hoped would be annual party for CAC at the Beach area along the Pecos River.
More:Foundry Home opens in Carlsbad with hopes of helping homeless youth in community
“It’s going to be a free event for the public. Every bit of money that the vendors pay for the vendor fee is going to the Advocacy Center,” she said.
Dugas said three levels of sponsor and donor tiers of $500, $1,000, and $1,500 are available to area businesses that would like to defray costs of putting on the event.
The CAC, Foundry Home and Lea County Child Advocacy Center in Hobbs are part of a multidisciplinary team that serves Eddy and Lea Counties. It is composed of representatives from Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, law enforcement agencies, New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD), medical personnel, mental health professionals and victim advocates, according to CAC’s website.
Dugas said CAC and the Foundry Home offer advocacy services for child survivors of crime, child witnesses to crime, domestic violence survivors and witnesses and sexual assault survivors.
“They provide forensic interviews for children if they’re sexual assault victims or we think that they’re sexual assault victims or if their child abuse victims or they’ve witnessed these things. They are trained professionals that speak to these kids in a way that is not traumatizing the kid,” she said.
More:Homeless children’s shelter in Carlsbad looks to address regional lack of resources
Lea County Undersheriff and CAC Board of Directors President Mike Walker said Dugas joined the governing board earlier this year and expressed interest in helping children.
Before her current role, Dugas was a detective working on crimes against children. Walker said the Center offered all types counseling ranging from in person to online.
“It’s a center that’s really beneficial to the community in general,” he said.
“It provides services that might not be available in our area. This type of counseling would have to be done in larger areas,” Walker said.
More:City of Carlsbad update: Transitional housing fundraiser worth checking out
Dugas said CAC lacked potential awareness in the Carlsbad community and she created The kNOw MORE Project to bring acknowledgement of services in Eddy County.
“Because I want people to know more about the Advocacy Center so that we have no more child victims. You have a lot of people that don’t know what they do,” she said.
“We call it a safe house for that reason. It is a safe place for a child to go or a teen(ager) or adolescent to go if they have been a victim of a crime or they feel unsafe,” Dugas said.
Carlsbad Municipal Schools (CMS) Deputy Superintendent LaVern Shan said CAC provided personal safety presentations for years at elementary schools in the community.
“CMS counselors and social workers are very supportive of their programs with the schools,” she said.
More:City of Carlsbad update: CAC re-opens its meal site
Dugas said CAC was not limited to children as adults dealing with domestic violence issues may seek help from CAC.
“They have a huge amount of knowledge in that area to help these victims get that help they need in order to get out of the situations they’re in,” Dugas said.
She said additional information on the August event maybe obtained by email at [email protected]
“Ms. Dugas is the frontrunner in all of this and I think she’s going to do amazing at it,” Walker said. “She’ll make this extremely successful and hopefully we’ll continue year-after-year.”
More:Cavern City Child Advocacy Center helps children and adults to cope with trauma
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.
Sign up for our newsletter, the Daily Briefing, to get stories like this one delivered straight to your inbox every morning. https://profile.currentargus.com/newsletters/daily-briefing/