Christina Wilson: Caring for Beaufort's kids
By Molly Ingram | There are lots of fine folk here in our corner of the Lowcountry who help to make a difference in someone’s life every day. I recently met one of these fine locals and was immediately taken over by her passion. I was very happy to have the opportunity to chat with Christina Wilson, Executive Director of CAPA (Child Abuse Prevention Association) at her offices recently and I learned a great deal about the organization as a whole…and about the very kind lady who runs it.
Christina is an original Beaufortonian having been born at Beaufort Memorial and later graduating from Battery Creek High School and Clemson University with a BS in Financial Management and a minor in accounting. Prior to CAPA, Christina added a Master’s in Public Administration to her resume from the South University making a very sharp turn in her career considering she had been a paralegal at several real estate firms in town.
I personally have had the great pleasure of serving on several large non-profit boards over the years and have interviewed my share on potential new executive directors. Christina set a whole new level of experience to the requirements of an Executive Director not many others will have. At 25, with no children of her own, Christina and her husband, Jason (or, “Saint Jason” as she calls him), adopted two infants from the foster care system. Then they added two more several years later.
Christina’s hands-on experience of seeing the issues around protecting children, getting them they help they need and finding a family to love them became concrete evidence to her that she needed to find a way to provide solutions to the issues surrounding child abuse, not just know it is a problem and remain silent.
Along came CAPA whose mission statement is to “break the destructive cycle of child abuse and neglect by equipping parents, children and their caregivers with necessary skills, knowledge and values.”
Like many others, I asked Christina how she dealt with the anger, frustration and emotional angst knowing the abuse that some of these children have had to deal with. Her answer surprised me but I can see how this would be the way she approaches it. “…coming to help these children or educating people on ways to prevent abuse and neglect is one of the greatest joys of my life. Are there days when I shake my head and can’t imagine how someone harmed a child the way they did? Absolutely. But when I see that same child running across our backyard smiling and climbing on the playground equipment, I realize that in that moment, that child is safe, loved and has a full heart.”
CAPA operates a group home called the Open Arms Children’s Home which takes care of children from aged 0 to 21. Their capacity is 15 children at any one time and last September they suddenly had eight toddlers who all arrived at the same time. Desperately needing cribs, diapers, and other baby necessities, CAPA put out a request for help on their Facebook page. “Within hours, the donations began arriving at our Outreach Center. I was so proud to be a Beaufortonian that day. In a matter of hours this community responded to an emergent need and helped those eight precious babies,” Christina told me.
As we all know there are a lot of very deserving non-profits in Beaufort and each one is vying for financial and volunteer resources from a limited pool of money and people. As you research where you want to make a donation or spend some time, I would recommend you consider CAPA. There are so many ways you can help them – donate sellable items to the CAPA Closet Thrift Store (whose proceeds provide roughly 50% of the operating capital for the shelter), shop at the thrift store, donate directly, volunteer to help with just about anything, or agree work at one of their fundraisers throughout the year. It will all be appreciated and will directly impact the lives of one or more deserving children.
Whether your passion is preventing child abuse and/or helping those who have experienced it first-hand, or teaching local residents how to read, or working with disabled Vets, it is time for all of us to get off the bench and do something productive in some-way, some-how to help those less fortunate than we are in Beaufort.
So Christina, sign me up! I’m going to walk-the-walk as well as talk-the-talk!
If you would like to contact CAPA directly, here is how to mail or phone them:
Child Abuse Prevention Association
PO Box 531
Beaufort, SC 29901