TO SUPPORT CHILDREN WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED ABUSE OR EXPLOITATION
Toronto charity, Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre (Boost CYAC) hosted its major annual fundraiser, The Butterfly Ball®. Under the leadership of gala chair, Claire MacNamara, the 23rd annual event raised over $900,000. Funds raised will help sustain the critical work of Boost CYAC; supporting children who have experienced physical or sexual abuse and exploitation.
1 in 3 children will experience some form of abuse before the age of 16. 1
Sean McCann, founder of the iconic Canadian folk rock band Great Big Sea and Order of Canada recipient shared his personal story of recovery and hope. At age 15, he was sexually abused by a priest; one who had befriended his family and took him to Rome to meet the Pope. Mr. McCann spoke about the secrets, pain, shame and anger that nearly destroyed him but also about how a song can save you. He kept his secret for nearly 35 years until it almost killed him and he told his mother with a song. “I believe a secret can kill you and I encourage young people to come forward and ask for help”, said Mr. McCann.
More than 6,000 investigations have been conducted by Toronto Police Service at Boost CYAC since 2013. But the sad reality is that abuse is under-reported, because most victims are afraid to come forward. Their feelings of immense shame and guilt drive these secrets deeper, making it more and more difficult to speak aloud. “Mr. McCann’s story is one we know all too well at Boost CYAC, as children, some very young, share horrors that many of us cannot imagine,” said Nora Constas, President & C.E.O. “Early intervention is critical to their recovery and why the programs we have specially designed at Boost CYAC are so important”.
The sold-out event welcomed close to 400 guests and was hosted by Sangita Patel, host of ET Canada Weekend. Guests walked the elegant red carpet sponsored by Max Mara, exclusive fashion sponsor. The live auction was especially popular as guests bid on priceless experiences such as a three-night stay on The Aerial, BVI, a private island for 26 people valued at $150,000, as well as a three- night stay for two couples at Fogo Island Inn. The award-winning Inn is a community asset, and 100% of operating surpluses are reinvested into the community to help secure a sustainable and resilient future for Fogo Island, Newfoundland.
About Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre (Boost CYAC)
Boost CYAC is a recognized leader for responding to child abuse and providing necessary recovery services. A partnership with community and government agencies, it co-locates all professionals involved in child abuse cases under one roof, for a coordinated, interdisciplinary response to child abuse victims in Toronto. Boost CYAC partner agencies include Toronto Police Service, Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Native Child & Family Service of Toronto, Jewish Family & Child, the SCAN Program at The Hospital for Sick Children, and Radius Child & Youth Services. In addition to housing Ontario’s largest child & youth advocacy centre, Boost CYAC offers a number of direct services including, primary prevention, public education, trauma assessment and therapy and court preparation for child witnesses. For further information, visit www.boostforkids.org.