Spain Park wrestlers lend a hand at Owens House

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA — Members of the Spain Park Wrestling program and their families teamed up to lend a helping hand at children’s advocacy center Owens House on Sunday, Nov. 24.

The volunteers spent several hours at the facility doing exterior maintenance, landscaping, pressure washing, painting, cleaning, Christmas tree decorating and more as a community service project.

Owens House Executive Director Cindy Greer said wrestling coach Ryan Thompson initially reached out to her about the project.

“It really helps us to provide a safe, inviting place for children, and our professionals can spend their time providing services like counseling and interviews,” said Greer. “Volunteers and community support are critical to stopping child abuse in Shelby County. I think it’s important to educate those young men on how to intervene for themselves or others, to help kids that might be experiencing abuse or trauma.”

While there, the volunteers weeded, trimmed trees and shrubs, laid down mulch, cleaned around the facility’s sign, painted interior rooms, cleaned the play therapy room, pressure washed the exterior and even helped make the building more festive for the Christmas season.

Spain Park junior Fischer Harrison was one of the volunteers on hand.

“I learned that it has a bigger impact on our community than I thought, that doing the small things really helps out,” Harrison said.

Owens House is a nonprofit agency that provides counseling to victims of child abuse free of charge. Their services include forensic interviews, in which specially trained staff members conduct legally justifiable fact-finding interviews with children upon the request of law enforcement or DHR; expert testimony, restorative therapy, family and caregiver advocacy and support services, multi-disciplinary team coordination, training and education.

Owens House also teaches children body safety from an educational perspective, such as learning about personal space and the difference between a welcome touch and an unwelcome touch. The center’s counseling and trauma treatment provides a safe, genuine and non-judgmental environment for clients to express emotions, thoughts and concerns related to the abuse. In addition, play therapy allows the children an outlet for self-expression through art play, sand play, dramatic play and fantasy play.

For more information about Owens House, visit Owenshousecac.com.