As the old cliché goes, you can’t know where you are going until you know where you have been.
December 2020 will mark the 13 year anniversary of River Bridge opening its doors to child abuse victims and their families. The work began way before our doors opened. Joyce Bulifant Perry and the Rotary Club of Carbondale – Aspen Glen (now known as the Mt. Sopris Rotary Club) worked tirelessly to make their dream come true.
Child Advocacy Centers were not new (the movement began in the early 1990’s) but the concept was new to our community. It took a lot of education, relationship building, and fundraising to make the Center a reality. The Rotary Club raised over $102,000 for the Center, the Garfield County Commissioners agreed to build a $600,000 building and the national non-profit organization Child Help offered to provide the administration for the program. The Child Help River Bridge Center (fka) opened its doors in December 2007 with a Director and a Victim Advocate on staff. In addition, Garfield County Department of Human Services provided a forensic interviewer, Susan Whiting, and a mental health therapist, Meghan Hurley Backofen on site. Meghan has been our Center’s one constant over the years and continues to provide hope and healing for child abuse victims and our community. In 2012, the local board determined that RBRC needed its own 501c3 status to provide services for the region, which was awarded September 2012.
- Since RBRC’s inception in 2007, the organization has served more than 1,994 children and 2,991 non-offending family members.
- RBRC earned its accreditation with NCA, a nationwide not-for-profit membership organization, in October 2010 and was re-accredited in October 2015. RBRC has begun the process of re-accreditation to be finalized in 2020.
- In August 2015, RBRC welcomed Frasier, a certified courthouse facility dog who is a graduate of Canine Companions for Independence. Frasier provides support and comfort for child abuse victims at RBRC through his calm, comforting presence at forensic interviews, in therapy, and finally as a companion should a child need to testify in court.
- During our re-accreditation process in 2015, it was revealed that RBRC was growing out of its current space at 504 21st Street. The Garfield County Commissioners approved a purchase to provide us with a second facility. Our additional location at 520 21st Street opened its doors January 2018 and houses our medical and mental health services.
- In 2017, RBRC embarked on a campaign, Bridge to Their Futures, to fund the renovation of this second building, add staff and programs, and build a strong reserve to sustain the expanding organization. Just over a year into the campaign and we’ve raised over $300,000 of our $500,000 goal.
- January 2018, the Mountain West SANE Alliance (MWSA) program moved under the umbrella of our established RBRC agency in order to provide adult victims of assault with essential services.