BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Three decades ago, the Baltimore Child Abuse Center was created to help victims of child abuse — creating a one-stop shop for therapy, recovery and possible court involvement.
BCAC helps 2,000 children a year. Everyone knows Manny, a service dog who started at BCAC in 2017.
Jeremiah knows Manny and Manny knows Jeremiah. Kerry is also on the staff here and takes the black Labrador retriever home at night.
“When we have families or kids who come in here uptight or worried or distressed, his level of just calmness and chillness can really bring the temperature down in the room,” Kerry Hannan, Manny’s handler.
To be clear, Jeremiah is not a child that suffers abuse — his mom works here and he’s here to show you how this process works.
Usually it’s Amanda Keanna will interview a child and she brings in Manny as he’s irresistible.
“It really is wonderful because with Manny at their side, it helps us to build rapport with the children even more quickly than normal,” said Keanna. “So he really does aid in that whole process of making the children feel comfortable with all the staff.”
That’s the kind of work done here, helping kids stay on the path of recovery.
It takes quite a bit of money to keep this place running. Some of that responsibility falls to Mandee Heinl.
Heinl is the chairwoman of the Be A Hero gala.
Her goal is to raise $250,000. This it year features Olympic Gold Medalist Aly Raisman.
“It gives children the chance to tell their story and be heard and build resilience. And so, as someone who experienced abuse as a child, I see firsthand what the power of hope and the power of people listening and believing in you what it does to people,” Heinl said.
Their fundraiser gala is May 10. The cost is $75.
Learn more about tickets here.