A Green Country non-profit is making a big difference in the lives of some of our most vulnerable. Tulsa Advocates for the Protection of Children are giving a second chance to abused, neglected and abandoned children in Tulsa County.
They're children in need of a little extra attention. A type of support most of these kids never found at home.
Maggie Waller, Educational Director for TAPC, said, "It's really hard to imagine, for someone that's come from a loving home, what it's like to basically raise yourself."
TAPC is a Department of Human Services partner, embedded in the Laura Dester Children's Center. That's where children to go if there's no shelter or foster home available. Some stay for a few hours, but others might live at the center for a year or more.
"A lot of them come from families, who have been very unkind to them to put it in very politically correct terms," Waller said.
Executive Director Kami Collins said, "They're good kids, they're just hurt kids, they're angry kids and they don't have any place else to go, they're here or they're homeless."
That's where TAPC comes in. It essentially serves as a support system that the children wouldn't have without TAPC.
Collins said TAPC makes sure children get medical care, educational guidance and financial support to do things like any other child, like play sports, buy school pictures or go on a field trip.
"We see a need and we fill it," Collins said. "It could be a number of different ways; from birthdays to Christmas, outings that they have."
The idea is to make life as normal as possible for the children who come through, and to show them there are people who care.
Saturday night is TAPC's major fundraising event; it's called "Dancing for the Little Stars." There are five regular folks who have been paired up with professional ballroom dancers to help raise money for TAPC.
I happen to be one of the dancers. I've spent six weeks training with Sean Schrader, and in 20 hours, he's managed to teach me a tango. It's an honor to have been asked to be a part of such worthwhile cause, especially after visiting with some of the children.
The event is sold out, but there are other ways to help and donate.