The Heart of the OPEN

1 04 2012

The eyes of the golfing world will be on Hamilton this July as the RBC Canadian Open returns to the Hamilton Golf & Country Club.

But the heart of the Open, this year, is linked to helping child and youth victims of sexual abuse and trauma here in our community. RBC has chosen the Community Child Abuse Council as the Local Charity Partner for the 2012 RBC Canadian Open, and committed a sizeable financial investment to help the organization in its mission – to reduce the incidence and impact of child abuse and to promote the safe and healthy development of children. This is truly a gift wrapped in hope, and represents a significant opportunity for this community to make great strides in its support of vulnerable and victimized youngsters. By supporting the Council in its partnership with the RBC Canadian Open, the Hamilton region has an unprecedented chance to turn an already generous donation from RBC into something bigger – and to see the legacy of the 2012 Canadian Open be a lasting one for local children’s mental health.

The Council is about to launch a fundraising drive – The Heart of the OPEN Campaign – to engage the support of the community and to involve Hamiltonians in this partnership with RBC and the Canadian Open. Some of the campaign’s activities are directly tied to the Open, including advance ticket sales, exclusive VIP and “inside the ropes” experience packages, and on-site sales. Limited edition hats will be sold in area RBC branches in the weeks leading up to the Open with proceeds going to the campaign. Other campaign efforts are bringing together some of RBC’s corporate clients, community leaders, and friends of the Council in a range of fundraising initiatives aimed at demonstrating that the Hamilton community can and will step up to support child abuse prevention, education, and treatment in partnership with RBC.

Campaign proceeds will help enhance treatment programs for child and youth victims of sexual abuse, expand parent support groups, and invest in proven prevention initiatives. The Community Child Abuse Council is unique in providing these specialized services in the Hamilton community, and continuously works to increase its capacity so that all children needing this help can receive it. A waiting list for treatment has been an ongoing challenge, with children as young as 3 years of age often waiting several months for clinical services. A robust campaign success will also enable the Council to secure a permanent home for its programs and services.

Statistics show that one in three girls and one in six boys is sexually victimized before reaching adulthood. In Hamilton, Chief Glenn De Caire of Hamilton Police Service has publicly referred to rising rates of sexual assaults against children and women, and child pornography, as “troubling” given otherwise declining rates of violent crime in the city. The trauma resulting from sexual victimization can have a lifelong and significant impact if not treated early and effectively. The scars of abuse can last decades and can impact generations.

The 2012 RBC Canadian Open will be held July 23-29 at Hamilton Golf & Country Club

An energetic campaign team comprised of volunteers from all corners of the community is now hard at work to ensure the success of this fundraising initiative. Their efforts, along with the generosity of RBC, bring much-needed attention to child maltreatment and a vital financial investment in the future of local children and youth.  To find out more about The Heart of the OPEN Campaign, to volunteer, or to support the cause, watch the Council’s web site for details ( www.childabusecouncil.on.ca). If you’re a golfer, a golf fan, or know others who are, you can help make the excitement of the Open (July 23 – 29 last long after the trophy has been claimed and the crowds have dispersed…be part of the Open and please support the Council’s campaign and help to make sure the legacy left by the 2012 RBC Canadian Open is one that invests in children and youth well into the future. If we as a community can match RBC’s investment we can take huge strides that are long overdue. Thank you!

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