Justice for Children: Group that assists East Hawaii abuse victims to honor supporters

  • Geoffrey Casburn
  • Mitch Roth

The Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of East Hawaii is hosting its Justice for Children gala dinner at 5:30 p.m. May 4 at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel to honor an organization and two individuals who have been instrumental in assisting the Friends’ work during the past year.

The honorees are Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth, Friends volunteer Geoffrey Casburn and the Rotary Club of Hilo.

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The nonprofit Friends works in partnership with the Children’s Justice Center of East Hawaii to reduce the trauma of abuse reporting, providing necessities and enhancements to bolster a child’s return to a normal life and provide critical information to the public about child abuse. The gala dinner is a way for the public to learn more about the Friends and support its work.

With only one paid staff member and a cadre of dedicated volunteers, it accomplishes its mission to assist deserving children through fundraising and grants.

Roth is being recognized for creating a child-friendly atmosphere that reduces the trauma to children who are reporting abuse. He also formed a Sexual Assault Unit, implemented a Restorative Justice project, identified and prosecuted the infamous “Where’s Peter Boy?” case, and acquired a courthouse dog to help victims with trauma tell their story.

Casburn is one of the handful of dedicated volunteers who keep the office running. He developed digital forms that speed the process requests for assistance and organized the Friends’ “clothes closet” that furnishes needed clothing for keiki taken from their homes. With his truck, Casburn not only conveys and breaks down all the tables and supplies the Friends’ need for a community information fair, he also serves as a trash runner and general truck driver for all Friends’ needs.

The Rotary Club of Hilo was instrumental in forming the Friends, with its first president, Joe Hanley, being drawn from the club. For the fifth consecutive year, the Rotary Club of Hilo has named the Friends as one of only two beneficiaries of its popular Hilo Brewfest. Club members also assist the Friends with clothing donation drives and other tasks that require many hands to help.

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In addition to dinner, the gala will feature a silent and a live auction and a moving story from the keynote speaker, an amazing young woman who will share her journey of hope and healing.

Tickets begin at $70 and tables and other levels of sponsorship are available online at www.fcjcEast Hawaii.org. Friday is the deadline for ticket reservations.

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