REGIONAL – An idea that started more than 2,000 miles away in a huge urban area came to northern Michigan on a small town scale and made a big impact. Tracy Wilson, the Marketing Director at North Central Area Credit Union (NCACU), has watched this idea grow and evolve over the last four years as one of her high school classmates started an effort to empower child victims of violence and abuse.
Superhero September was born in Phoenix, Arizona by Sean Reavie, a Michigan native and now detective with the Phoenix Police Department’s Crimes Against Children Unit. Reavie was looking for a way to educate the public about child abuse, to end generational cycles of abuse, and a way to empower the child victims during their recovery. Superheroes were the perfect answer.
Superhero mythology sees sometimes ordinary people who overcome terrible circumstances to become heroes and help others.
“Someone took away their right to be a little kid,” Reavie said. “Superhero September is a way to help give it back to them.”
Superhero September is a month long awareness, fundraising and educational campaign Phoenix. Wilson was looking for a way to spread this fun and educational program to northern Michigan and the “people helping people” philosophy of credit unions offers that platform. And she didn’t have to look far to find programs that could benefit.
North Central Area Credit Union hosted their own Superhero September in their branches in Grayling, Roscommon, and Houghton Lake to benefit the Northern Michigan Children’s Assessment Center (NMCAC) of Roscommon. The Standish Branch’s efforts supported the Arenac County office of the CAN Council of the Bay Region.
Superheroes decorated the branches, and community members donated cash and Superhero themed items like t-shirts, backpacks, and toys that will be given to children who receive services at the center. NCACU raised $5,170 dollars and several hundred dollars’ worth of clothes, shoes, school supplies and toys.
“Members were very generous in their support of the Children’s Assessment Center. Campaigns like this make it easier for small donations to make a big impact on an organization,” Wilson said.
The mission of the Northern Michigan Children’s Assessment Center (NMCAC) is to reduce the trauma of child abuse and neglect by providing prevention, interventions and advocacy. Services at the center includes child forensic interviews, advocacy, medical and mental health services. All staff is specially trained in providing evidence based and best practice services. Since opening the NMCAC in October 2014, the center has provided services to over 800 children and continues to grow and expand services. For more information about NMCAC visit www.nmcac4kids.org