2 golf tourneys will raise funds for child advocacy center, 100-year-old church

Two local nonprofits are hoping that golf tournaments will score fundraising holes-in-one later this month.

The Southern Arizona Children’s Advocacy Center seeks to raise at least $30,000 at its 6th Annual Charity Golf Tournament on Sept. 16 at The Gallery Golf Club, 14000 N. Dove Mountain Blvd.

“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and a great opportunity to get the word out about the work that we do,” said Marie Fordney, executive director of the organization that provides a safe place where victims of child abuse and children who have witnessed a crime can receive assistance and support. “We sometimes say that we are a really well-kept secret in Tucson. I think that might be because child abuse is such a terrible thing that people don’t like to think about it … but the truth is that we are place of transformation and healing and we are a great cause to support.”

The center collaborates with law enforcement, counseling agencies and other resources to minimize trauma to the victims and their families and help them begin to recover.

Services include forensic interviews, medical exams and advocacy as well as prevention and education outreach about the mandatory reporting law and indicators of child abuse.

“The children can tell their story to one of our specially trained interviewers so that they don’t have to retell their story at multiple agencies in multiple locations. They come to our child-friendly environment and are put at ease by our staff. We refer to ourselves as the ‘place where abuse stops and healing begins,’” Fordney said.

Spearheaded by Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall more than 20 years ago, the center is the only accredited advocacy center south of Pinal County. Last year, it served about 1,400 children ranging in age from infants through 18; it also serves vulnerable adults with developmental disabilities.

“The rate of felony convictions is almost twice as high when an advocacy center is used as compared to when it is not. You want someone who is doing bad things to children to stop and one way to stop them is to convict them,” Fordney said. “The decisions about whether charges need to be filed or not also happen more quickly when an advocacy center is involved so that families can move forward more quickly and start to heal.”

Funds for church renovations

The Father Bach-Brother Angel De Santa Cruz Knights of Columbus No. 14139 is also looking to the future with plans for refurbishment and repairs of Santa Cruz Catholic Church for its 100th anniversary celebration in February 2019.

Located at South Sixth Avenue and West 22nd Street, the church was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1994 and is among the largest mud-adobe buildings in Arizona. Designed by Bishop Henry Granjon in Spanish Colonial Revival style, the church is known by many for its distinctive bell tower influenced by Islamic design.

“We feel that preserving the building is important to the community of Tucson. It is a historic landmark and it is iconic not only to Catholics, but to many people who recognize and admire the tower and architecture when they are driving through Tucson,” said Andy Cancino, a member of the Knights of Columbus No. 14139, a Catholic fraternal order.

Cancino said the aging bell tower and other parts of the church are in need of repairs. Bids for the work have been estimated at $65,000.

The work is cost-prohibitive for parishioners according to Cancino, a Tucson native whose family has been members of the parish since the 1950s.

Cancino and his fellow Knights of Columbus are hoping the community will support the renovation efforts through the benefit golf tournament Sept. 29 at El Rio Golf Course.

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