In January 2012, Suzi Thien, executive director of Sunlight Children’s Advocacy Center, started fundraising to build a children’s home in Butler County.
Thien was told it would take at least three years to raise the $2.5 million needed to break ground on a home in Andover. Almost exactly two years later, the Sunlight Children’s Advocacy Center is ready to build its first home.
“I can’t even put into words how thrilled we are that we were able to raise the money so quickly,” Thien said.
The center has served more than 800 children since it opened in March 2007 in El Dorado. Its mission is “to provide resources and facilities that support and protect abused and neglected children and their families,” Thien said.
Thien said that most of the donations for the children’s home came from many individuals, rather than just a few big donors. The center is now just $79,375 away from reaching its $2.5 million goal.
“We have been so fortunate,” she said. “Our whole community has been so supportive and generous. We have made so many new friends in the fundraising process.”
The Sunshine Children’s Home will be at 1918 N. Prairie Creek Road in Andover, behind Hope Community Church, on three acres of land that was donated by the church.
The home will be a safe place for up to 15 children from Butler, Greenwood and Elk counties who have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. It will be the first children’s home in the 13th Kansas Judicial District.
Thien said construction should be finished by late August or early September. The groundbreaking will take place at 3:30 p.m. Friday. The public is invited to attend.