Mary Abbott

Today, the Mary Abbott Children's House will host an open house event welcoming Normanites and introducing new executive director Tiffany Wells-Combs.

The Mary Abbott Children's House is hosting an open house today.

"We really just want to open up the house to the community and share what we do here," said Paige Uhr, Mary Abbott Children's House Director of Community Engagement.

From 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., the nationally accredited child advocacy center that provides child trauma services and has served more than 400 children so far this year, according to Uhr, will host an open house for Normanites to come, mingle, and learn about the center and the vital service it provides.

Uhr said tours of the facility will occur regularly throughout the evening, giving staff members a chance to educate attendees about each of the four programs the organization focuses on. They are: forensic interviews, medical assessment, advocacy, and educational outreach.

Uhr said the goal of the forensic interview program is "for sexual assault victims who are involved in an open case to only have to tell their story one time, so they aren't re-traumatizing themselves."

That goes hand-in-hand with the other three programs, Uhr said.

"For the medical assessment, everything is looked at, such as medical health, physical health, behavioral issues. We just really want the child to feel safe and that their perfect no matter what happened to them," she said.

"On top of that, the advocacy program is available to all families who walk through our doors. It's ultimate goal is to aid children and their families on the path to healing."

Uhr said the educational outreach program focuses on educating teachers and other child advocates on identifying signs of potential child abuse and what to do about it. She pointed to the recently amended state law which requires everyone to be a mandated reporter when it comes to child abuse and neglect. The law officially became effective Nov. 1.

During the night, Tiffany Wells-Combs, who took over as executive director in August, will address the audience and share her vision for the organization and give program updates.

"Anyone who wants to come by is more than welcome. We're really excited about it," Uhr said.

Snacks will be provided. For those interested in attending, RSVP to Uhr at puhr@abbott-house.org or call 579-5800.