By ALAN RAMIREZ
Special to the PRESS
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Cameron and Willacy Counties have announced Rio Grande Valley native Laura Lyles Regan as the new Executive Director of their organization. Reagan has been a contributor to the PRESS since last summer, where she’s written parenting columns and reported on South Padre Island.
Reagan has an astonishing resume, having graduated with a Masters in sociology from the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and acquiring an impressive 25 years of experience in grant writing, managing, organizing, consulting, and project development for nonprofits. She’s also worked with children with disabilities in San Antonio as her first non-profit.
“My whole career, I’ve been focused on children, and as a sociologist, the greatest disparity that exists is between children and adults,” she said.
Reagan has held many careers, from working as a substance abuse counselor in Mexico City to publishing a book titled “How to Raise Respectable Parents” back in 2016. “Believe it or not, it’s actually written for young adults, and the exercises at the end are for both the reader and their parents to come together,” she explained.
Monica’s House first opened its doors in Brownsville back in 1998 alongside Maggie’s House in San Benito, which has been providing its services since late 2001. Both agencies work alongside child abuse professionals on the investigation and the prosecution of child abuse cases. Their services were so vastly needed that during 2018, they reported a total of 1337 children as receiving services at the Cameron County Child Advocacy Center.
Their forensic team conducts the interviews to allow for a non-leading, non-suggestive conversation and overall promote a child-friendly environment. “It’s important that the interview is only done once as this often causes further trauma and re-victimization,” she said.
After the investigation, the organization provides free therapy to children and their non-offending family members by offering family support. “Therapy can usually range from a few weeks to a couple of years, but the support is here for life,” Reagan explained.
Reagan has many new and exciting plans as the new Executive Director stating. “We are hoping to move into a new building soon; it’ll allow us to build a new building for Maggie’s House, and Monica’s House is currently getting renovated,” she said.
Due to its renovations, Monica’s House is asking for the community’s support in the beautification process. In efforts to raise funds, they are asking for the community support in purchasing an engraved paver to be installed on the grounds of Monica’s House no later than May 2020. Those interested can call (956) 455-3129
The organization is also asking for local support in participating, and volunteering, at two events listed below:
3rd Annual Golf Classic: Heart Fore Kids – Saturday, February 22, 2020
10th Annual: Show the Trail Who’s Boss – Saturday, March 7, 2020
For more information, volunteer inquiries, or for donations, the organizations can be reached at their numbers listed below:
San Benito: Maggie’s House (956) 361-3313
Brownsville: Monica’s House (956) 986-2770
To report child abuse, call 1-800-252-5400 or go to www.txabusehotline.org