Kids need a safe, friendly and comfortable place to help them deal with horrible things…like physical and sexual abuse. It is sad that the Kanab area needs such a place, but unfortunately, we do.

Kane County Attorney Rob Van Dyke welcomed the crowd to the “beginning of the last phase of an awesome project.” He observed that it is the middle of the summer, in the middle of the week, in the middle of the day – “a perfect metaphor for why we are here. Even though the heat is brutal, we are here anyway, because what we are doing here matters. We know we are here to help children in some of the worst possible situations.”

A group of about 30 adults and children attended the groundbreaking ceremony for an almost 2,000 square foot building that will become the Children’s Justice Center (CJC).

Van Dyke recognized Sandy Kerr, who had the original concept for the CJC. He recalled that one of the first requests that came to him when he started his job was from Kerr. She said, “We need a Children’s Justice Center!” He asked, “What is that?” And upon learning about the needs and the horrific challenges that some children face, he soon became a strong advocate.

Knowing that there have been so many he can’t name them all, Van Dyke recognized several organizations and individuals who have helped make the CJC building possible:

• Grants from the George S. and Delores Dore Eccles Foundation, the Sorensen Legacy Foundation, and the Community Development Block Fund;

• In addition to the Kane County IT Department donating time and supplies, Kane County also provided a generous donation;

• Kane County Hospital Board, which donated the land;

• Kanab City donation;

• Mesa Design Owner/Architect Bob Kaczowka, who donated his resources to design the Center;

• Patti Hegwood, who spearheaded the Friends of CJC Board, whose members have spent countless hours applying for grants, and organizing and participating in fundraisers;

• And of course, Sandy Kerr, who birthed the CJC vision seven years ago.

Devin Shakespear, who administers the process for assuring children’s justice, coordinates with agencies to ensure that the children’s needs are met. She is enthusiastic about the completion of this project and expresses her thanks: “We are so appreciative of all of the organizations, businesses, and community members who have donated time, energy, or money to this cause to further serve the families in our community.”

RBI Contracting, a local company headed by Doyle Ray, plans to complete building the Center in six months.