Christmas music plays softly as 250 families stand in line to obtain a ticket and attend several activity stations set up throughout the Family & Children’s Services’ Child Abuse and Trauma Services (CATS) Holiday party on Dec. 11.
After a six-year hiatus, the event was revived thanks to the collaborative effort by the Young Professional Advisory Council (YPAC) led by Paxton Stieber and Rachel Jaudon, YPAC sponsor Rob Sher and Family & Children’s Services (F&CS) staff. Now in their second year, YPAC was established to spread awareness about F&CS, involve young professionals through volunteer opportunities and foster F&CS future leaders.
“Because I was a part of the first YPAC class, I really wanted to set the bar high for different ways that YPAC members could make an impact on clients served through Family & Children’s Services,” Paxton said. “Upon visiting the Child Abuse & Trauma Services offices, I learned that the CATS Holiday Party was a fantastic way the staff had given back previously but lacked resources to continue the event over the past few years.”
Through several meetings, YPAC created a replicated framework that future board members can use. Rachel said she felt bringing back the CATS Holiday Party was important because all children should enjoy the holidays.
“Providing a party with food and gifts for children who had been through traumatic events in their short life was a privilege to be part of,” she said.
Because of YPAC’s dedication to give back to the community through F&CS, young attendees such as George can relax and enjoy the CATS party. George relocated to the area with his family due to domestic violence. Witnessing the physical, verbal and emotional abuse of his mother took its toll on George, and he essentially came to the CATS offices for CPP and TFCBT therapy.
Creating holiday cheer for the attendees of the CATS party was fulfilling for YPAC members.
“I have been blessed to be a member of the Young Professionals Advisory Council,” Paxton said. “It has provided me with incredible opportunities to get involved in the Tulsa community and education about the amazing programs that Family & Children’s Services has to offer.”