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“Steak & Stomp” fundraiser nets nearly $80k for Kalin’s Center

In a single night, supporters of Trinity County's Kalin's Center managed to raise almost $80k. The event was held on April 9 at the Trinity Community Center with a large crowd from Trinity and Houston counties.

Kalin's Center, which is located in Crockett, is a child advocacy center that serves Trinity and Houston counties. The center interviews child abuse victims with a trained forensic interviewer in a child-centered room, which is videotaped, and made available to the agencies involved in the child's case. These videos reduce the number of times children are forced to retell traumatizing stories, and can often be used in court proceedings.

Numerous groups and individuals worked to make the Steak & Stomp a success, such as the Steak & Stomp Committee and the Kalin’s Center staff. From left to right: Co-Chair, Cathey Page; Executive Director, Debbie McCall; M.D.T. Coordinator, Ashley Day; Forensic Interviewer, Norma Tapia; Program Director, Rae Lynn Simpson; Administrative Assistant, Sarah York; and Co-Chair, Bennie Schiro.Numerous groups and individuals worked to make the Steak & Stomp a success, such as the Steak & Stomp Committee and the Kalin’s Center staff. From left to right: Co-Chair, Cathey Page; Executive Director, Debbie McCall; M.D.T. Coordinator, Ashley Day; Forensic Interviewer, Norma Tapia; Program Director, Rae Lynn Simpson; Administrative Assistant, Sarah York; and Co-Chair, Bennie Schiro.

In addition to the interviews, Kalin's Center refers affected children and non-offending family members to mental health counselors and/or social services. Since September, the center has offered 277 services to child victims. Kalin's Center reports that last year in Houston and Trinity counties, there were 97 victims of child abuse and 75 alleged perpetrators, making the center's presence in the community of particular importance.

The Center's namesake, Kalin Fodge, was abused sexually, mentally and physically as a young girl by her stepfather, while her mother watched.

At the time, then District Attorney Joe Price, who was involved in Fodge's case, initiated the effort to start a child advocacy center in the area. In 2001, "Kalin's House" was open and later became known as "Kalin's Center".

Fodge, along with her younger sister, was present at the Steak & Stomp on April 9 and told her story in front of a crowd for the first time. The audience listened tearfully as she described the long-term pain the abuse had caused her and her family.
Several of Fodge's former teachers were present at the event, ready to reconnect and offer emotional support. In addition, family members of the deceased Joe Price came in Price's place. Price's daughter, Jodi Brownlee, gave her a framed picture of Price and a young Kalin Fodge that was hanging in Price's house when he died.

Fodge was presented with a teardrop award from the center, as well as Teresa Pruitt. The teardrop awards are given annually from Kalin's Center to deserving individuals. Pruitt has been extremely financially and emotionally supportive to the center and even donated on the night of the event.

The Steak & Stomp included a large dessert table, a silent auction, a live auction, and two raffles. Items included, but not were not limited to: a football signed by J.J. Watt, two Yeti coolers, two autographed Green Eggs and Ham books from Senator Ted Cruz, a 9 mm handgun with a biometric gun safe, a 12-day cruise of the winner's choice, and much more.

The staff of Kalin's Center, the Steak & Stomp Committee, the 2016 Board of Directors, and volunteers worked tirelessly from January to the night of the event to prepare for the Steak & Stomp. Area organizations that volunteered include the S.A.A.F.E. house staff, Pioneer Bank of Trinity, the Trinity High School Beta Club, Child Protective Services staff, Kalin's Center Board of Directors, and other special volunteers.

In total, the event raised almost $80,000 and will greatly aid in helping victims of child abuse in the area.
For more information about Kalin's Center, visit www.kalinscenter.org.