Alex & Brandon Child Safety Center Hosts 2nd Annual Fundraising Event
An organization in Brainerd is working to ensure that all children are safe during custody exchanges. The Alex & Brandon Child Safety Center hosted their second annual fundraising and celebration event tonight to thank all those who work to make the Brainerd Lakes Area a safe place for children.
In 1996, two brothers from the Brainerd area named Alex and Brandon were at an unsupervised visit with their father when tragedy struck.
“They were four and five years old. They were seeing their parents during unsupervised time and their mom was a community member and had been asking the court system if they would court order supervised visits,” explained Alex & Brandon Safety Center Executive Director Shannon Wussow. “That request was not approved and their father actually took their lives.”
This spurred the founder of the Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center, Louise Seliski, and the boys’ mother to take action so this never happens again.
“They got busy and started lobbying and got money together to make sure that hopefully this never happens in our community again,” added Linnea Ames, Alex & Brandon Child Safety Center Program Manager.
The Alex & Brandon Child Safety Center opened in 2000 and provides safe, secure, neutral, and child-oriented supervised parenting visits as well as safe custody exchanges.
“It’s a safe, neutral place where parents can come and have that quality time with their kids. They can play activities, games, they can cook a meal together,” said Ames. “It’s a time that they get that’s quality time that they may not ever have had.”
Being a non-profit organization, the Child Safety Center relies on the help of generous donations from the community. The Safety Center felt that it was important to host an event to celebrate and thank all those who support the center and children in the Brainerd Lakes Area.
It was the second annual event, and this year, it moved from the Northland Arboretum to Rumbly Hall in downtown Brainerd.
“We’re just extremely lucky to have the support that we have. Without our donors and without our sponsors for tonight’s event, we wouldn’t be able to do the things that we do,” said Faith Rono, a staff member at the Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center.
The event is a way to come together to celebrate, but also to shed light on what the Alex & Brandon Child Safety Center is all about: the safety of children.
“First and foremost, our goal is to make sure that the children that come to us are our clients. It’s not parent one, or parent two, or grandparents, or referral agents,” Wussow said. “It’s the children.”