It all started when Banana 101.5 met with Randy and Melissa Withey, owners of Pure Bliss Salon and Spa. They shared their passion and dedication to help children at  Voices for Children through the Denim and Diamonds event.

This event was born of their desire to put on an event that raises money and awareness about Voices for Children. Randy and Melissa gathered their friends to help plan the inaugural event in 2016, and since then this committee plans an in-person event each year. The Banana 101.5 crew attended at the 2019 Denim and Diamonds event, and they were so inspired by what they heard and saw that the staff then toured the Voices for Children's Big Blue House in Flint and learned more in-depth about what they do every day. They finally understood why the Witheys (as busy as they are) decided to adopt Voices for Children as their charity.

Hearing testimonies from children who have been through Voices for Children really hit the Banana crew. That's when they decided it was time to do something, and they all became "voices for children"

This year, though, the fundraising effort is going online because of the coronavirus. In partnership with Denim and Diamonds on behalf of Voices for Children, the Banana 101.5 staff is asking listeners to stand up and be a voice for children. Please sign up for monthly giving to a great cause. No amount is too small.

One in four kids in Genesee County are a victim of extreme abuse or neglect. That is higher than the national average of 1 in 10. Kids from all over our country are being trafficked, abused, starved, and worse. Voices for Children helps give them a voice. They see nearly 2,000 cases a year.

When a child walks into the Big Blue House in Flint, they are greeted with trained interviewers and therapists. They get snacks, they play with toys, they play with a black lab named Daphne. In fact, Daphne is an honorary member of the Denim and Diamonds committee as she provides comfort and compassion to kids as they tell the trauma they endured for the first time.

For many adults, it's hard to disclose such abuse; it's even harder for a young child. The child's interview is taped while law enforcement listens in live from a separate room upstairs. This is to cut down on the amount of times a child has to give their testimony, which not only helps the child to not have to relive the abuse numerous times, but increases the likelihood of the abuser being prosecuted.

After the interview, Voices for Children staff works with the family to find safe placement for the child. They then arrange therapy for the child and their family to break the cycle of abuse. They even help young children prepare for court. They will bring Daphne to sit beside them on the stand so they can share their testimony with the court.

Voices for Children is working to save our kids. Banana 101.5 is a voice for children; will you be? Click here to sign up for monthly giving today.

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