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Advocates for Children, a nonprofit organization based in Cartersville, has revitalized their fundraising initiative once again and will be hosting two events over the upcoming months. These events include the Advocates for Children Drive-In Movie Night sponsored by Harbin Clinic and a community favorite, the Annual Cookie Competition.  

The first event is the Drive-In Movie Night, which will take place Friday, November 13 and is graciously sponsored by Harbin Clinic. Advocates will be showing the PG-13 edited version of the film Instant Family, staring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne. Parking opens at 5:30 p.m. at LakePoint Champions Center. A brief presentation from the sponsor and Advocates for Children’s CEO/President Rachel Castillo will take place shortly before the feature presentation at 7:00 p.m. This event is free to attend; a suggested donation of $10 per car would, however, be greatly appreciated. Additionally, the Champions Center will be open to the public so they may use the restroom or buy concessions. LakePoint Champions Center has graciously promised to donate 15 percent of their concession revenue to Advocates for Children. 

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The purpose of this event is not only to raise money for Advocates for Children, but to also raise awareness of youth homelessness and adoption. November is both National Adoption Month and National Runaway Prevention Month for Youth. “These causes are obviously near and dear to our hearts,” says Renee Shields, Development Director. “Our flagship program, the Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter, is a place where we house youth who, unfortunately, have no place to go. 

Not only do these children come to us via recommendations, but we also house youth who have run away from home because of poor conditions or other issues, concerns, etc. As much as we love the children who stay with us, we would love to reduce the need for the shelter through preventative measures, such as our Hope in Your Home program, which screens families for potential abuse indicators and provides preventative parenting classes that are free to our community.” 

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Following the Drive-In Movie Night, Advocates for Children is also planning their Annual Cookie Competition. For this event, the organization recruits local chefs and other community partners to pair with a child who is currently staying at the Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter. Together the chef and child team design and bake a holiday cookie. 

The cookies are then featured in the community partners’ restaurants, shops, and boutiques throughout the city. Community members can then vote for their favorite cookie starting November 2 by donating on the team’s dedicated page. For every dollar that a person donates, the team gets one vote. On December 3, preceding the Cartersville Christmas Parade, a panel of judges will taste the cookie submissions. Their critiques make up 50 percent of the scoring in the final process.  

Castillo states, “This event is so much fun for the children. We strive so hard to give these kids a sense of normalcy, and the holidays are an especially difficult time to make this happen. We are so grateful to the community for helping lift these kids’ spirit and give them hope.”   

Advocates for Children is a non-profit organization that is committed to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. Founded as a children’s shelter in 1983, Advocates for Children has since expanded and now includes eight different programs across eleven counties. The mission of the organization is “To strengthen our community of families by offering safety, comfort and hope to children and preventing child abuse in all its forms.” If you would like to learn more about Advocates for Children or how to get involved in these upcoming events, contact Renee Shields, Development Director, at renee@advochild.org