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September 5, 2017 > CALICO fundraiser keeps focus on children

CALICO fundraiser keeps focus on children

By Johnna M. Laird

Five years ago, the nonprofit CALICO (Child Abuse, Listening, Interviewing, and Coordination center) decided to forego its annual evening fundraiser in favor of one to better reflect the essence of its services and focus on children. Thus, ÒCALICO for KidsÓ Ð now an annual fundraiser focused on family funÐ was born. This yearÕs event is slated for Saturday, September 16 at Preservation Park in Oakland and features food, games, and musical entertainment.

The sensitive nature of CALICOÕs work Ð drawing together law enforcement officers, child welfare workers, prosecutors, and other professionals to investigate child abuse allegations and gather testimony from children Ð requires confidentiality, limiting CALICOÕs ability to build awareness of its services.

A child advocacy program now in its 20th year, CALICO aims to reduce trauma and promote healing by specifically coordinating the interview process and avoiding multiple interviews during an investigation of abuse allegations. Using best national practices to interview children, trained specialists gather information needed by investigating law enforcement officials. The interview is videotaped to prevent repeated interviews that can be traumatizing to a child. In addition, CALICO offers guidance, resources, and support to children and their families to promote mental health and healing.

About 200 people attended CALICO for Kids last year, raising $63,000, which is about 10 percent of CALICOÕs budget. Organizers are hoping to exceed that number this year. This is the organizationÕs primary fundraiser.

Food truck vendors Waffle Roost and Tacos Tijuana Paredes will serve picnic-style foods that include chicken waffles and tacos, respectively. Drinks include wine and beer for adults.

A raffle offers an opportunity to win a $2,000 Napa spa package, a signed jersey from Golden State Warrior and NBA Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant, restaurant certificates, and tickets to Disneyland, a Pixar tour, and techie tours of Google and Twitter campuses. Raffle participants need not be present to win.

Carnival games are planned for children, including basketball hoops and Skee-Ball, as well as an old-fashioned cakewalk and a bottle ring toss for adults to win wine.

Motherlode, an Oakland dance troupe, will entertain with hip-hop. Oakland attorney-by-day and musician-by-night Rick Baskin returns with his band, playing an eclectic mix that includes jazz, soul, blues, Motown, and popular music. The band brings together guitarist Joe Lococo, bass player Henry Oden, and Elvis Johnson on drums, all of whom have played with veteran saxophonist Jules Broussard and his band. Baskin schedules about 20 gigs a year, making a point to include CALICO in his performance for charitable organizations.

ÒI was a deputy district attorney in San Joaquin County, so I feel a connection to the district attorneyÕs office, and I like what CALICO is doing to help children who are the victims of child abuse,Ó explains Baskin, who has played harmonica since age 16.

At 12:30 p.m., Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. OÕMalley will address attendees, highlighting the importance of CALICOÕs work.

A member of the National ChildrenÕs Alliance, CALICO has served 11,500 children since opening its doors in 1997. Two-thirds of children served are ages 12 and under and three-fourths are girls. CALICO sees children who have been victims of physical abuse, gross neglect, sexual exploitation, and who have witnessed violence as well as adults with developmental delays. CALICO began as a venture of Alameda County District AttorneyÕs Office concerned about the difficulties created for children during an investigation that required a child to Òover and over again, maybe 15 timesÓ tell what happened to police officers, detectives, Child Protective Service workers, hospital personnel, among others, according to executive director Erin Harper, JD.

ÒOne of the things we like to tell people about CALICO is that we are not the end of a childÕs story, but the start of a new chapter Ð a place of strength and recovery. Children come in nervous but they leave asking if they can come back. We offer justice and healing for hope and happiness and we try to reflect this in our fundraiser,Ó says Harper.

Based in San Leandro with a satellite office in Oakland, CALICO offers a one-location, child-friendly environment to interview and record a child once, with the videotape made available to other agencies involved in the investigation. A deputy district attorney works on site to oversee and guide each case. The only advocacy center in Alameda County, CALICO was recognized by the State of California in 2015 and awarded funds to train and assist other counties in their development of services.

For more information, call (510) 895-0702 or visit

CALICO for Kids
Saturday, Sep 16
11 a.m. Ð 2 p.m.
Preservation Park
1233 Preservation Park Way, Oakland
(510) 895-0702
Tickets: $50 adults, $20 children ages 10 and older, ages 10 and under free

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