SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Helen Cardon’s mom owned a fabulous cache of jewelry, her dying wish. “Put it to good use.” Several years ago, Helen had an idea about a luncheon. She put up the treasure of jewels to start an event that raises funds to help provide a financial base to provide for children’s mental health via The Children’s Center.
The event is called The Children’s Center’s annual Jewelry Luncheon. This year’s event, the 8th one, will happen on March 4, 2021, from 12-1 P.M.
The Children’s Center provides mental health services for younger children and their families throughout Salt Lake Valley and Utah. Approximately 2000 families are helped each year. The luncheon helps raise funds so the center can provide quality treatment, regardless of financial ability.
Also, the center provides clinical training programs to help train professionals to help kids with mental health needs.
Rebecca Dutson the president and CEO of The Children’s Center told ABC4, “You don’t stop to think about that very young children have mental health just like they have physical health. That’s there from the very beginning, So infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers have mental health needs. Sometimes they need to be addressed by a clinician, and someone who is skilled at treating someone of that age. One thing we do know is when we work with young children and their families we change the trajectories of their lives.”
The jewelry auction raises funds for the center and has grown over the years, each year thousands of pieces of jewelry are donated by the generous members of the community, and it has helped raise over half a million dollars to help the kids over the years.
Dutson says, “I think Helen and others who were there at the beginning wondered if it would stick, and it has and even become more popular.”
Because of COVID-19 protocols, the auction is online this year.
Dutson adds “We have a lot of people work on this every year, we had to be very careful this year with the volunteer engagement because of all the protocols around COVID.”
“Watching the jewelry luncheon continue to grow during the past few years has been amazing,” said Cardon. “We are so lucky to have The Children’s Center in our community. It’s their services, education, and nurturing that have given children and their families the chance to get the mental health services they need. I am grateful for the opportunity to be involved with The Children’s Center and to help support this important mission. My mother would be so pleased to see what sprung out of her jewelry box!”
“Like never before, we need to rise as leaders to spread awareness and educate the state on the importance of early childhood mental health,” says Dutson, “I am beyond grateful for the donors and those who participate to help us support children and families throughout the state, and to our team who works tirelessly.”
Dutson says the event does a lot of good, “The annual Jewelry auction is important for a couple of reasons, it brings together people who care about young children, their emotional well being they understand the importance of that and what it means to that child and their family. Think about the human experience, giving that child the tools they need to manage their emotions, have better family relationships, articulate what they need from their parents or their caregivers, from their pre-school, or in their childcare settings. The children become contributing members of society over time. That to me is the most important thing; we’re there together with people who understand what that value is.”
“The other thing it does is raise awareness about the importance of early childhood mental health. To help us educate the broader community about very foundational elements in everyone’s life. If our mental health is strong, we can handle all the things that come our way.”
Organizers think the event is successful because it blends the opportunity for like-minded people to come together around a common cause, have a little bit of fun while doing it and recognize their resources are helping the children and families who need help the most.
Dutson says she feels it’s a privilege and is humbled to have the opportunity to work with and bring together people who want to make that kind of difference:
“I think it’s important that families need to know where to turn when they need help; if they are struggling with their relationships with their children or they just feel things are not quite right, those families can call us, and we can help them sort through what is the difference between typical childhood development issues and other things that might signal there is something more going on.”
People who have concerns about their children’s mental health are encouraged to speak with their pediatrician or to give a place like the Children’s Center a call or use the online resources but not to sit and wonder, but to take action, and start to get resources and answers to the question they might have.