Pig in the Park organizers hope to raise funds for Summit County Children’s Justice Center | ParkRecord.com

Pig in the Park organizers hope to raise funds for Summit County Children’s Justice Center

Event intended to highlight the nonprofit’s work for children in the community

Harry Kirschner's involvement with the Summit County nonprofit organization Community for Children's Justice, which supports the Children's Justice Center, happened serendipitously last year.

In 2016, the Prospector resident was browsing Park City's list of nonprofit organizations when he came across the Children's Justice Center. After submitting a donation as part of the fundraising drive Live PC Give PC, Kirschner decided to become involved.

Kirschner teamed up with Susan Richer, a Park City resident and founder of the organization, and became a board member. Last year, Richer established the Community for Children's Justice to help raise funds to build a new facility for the Children's Justice Center.

In 2012, the Children's Justice Center opened its doors with the help of several agencies, including the Summit County Sheriff's Office, Park City Police Department and Summit County Attorney's Office. More than 800 families have taken advantage of services. It currently operates out of the basement of the Kimball Junction branch of the Summit County Library in the Sheldon Richins Building.

"I like to say that we are the unknown nonprofit that is supporting one of the most worthy causes in town," Kirschner said. "Unfortunately, child abuse happens, even in this perfect little town that we have."

In order to help create more awareness about the nonprofit's mission, Kirschner organized the Community for Children's Justice's first Pig in the Park event. It is scheduled Sunday, June 25, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the City Park pavilion near Miners Hospital. Tickets are available for the public at $50 per person or $150 for a family with two adults and children younger than 18 and can be purchased at http://www.ccjsummitcounty.wildapricot.org/event-2570870/Registration.

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The event will feature live music by Lash LaRue, beer from Park City Brewing and a pig roast, including picnic-style sides. Admission includes food and entertainment. The food is being sponsored by an anonymous donor.

Kirschner said about 100 people have pre-registered. He said 200 spots are available, but he expects the event to sell out and suggested registering as soon as possible.

"We are just shining a spotlight on the fact that we can do better and build awareness around the fact that this has happened in our community," Kirschner said. "We thought the best way to do that is something that makes a splash and gets people talking."

The Children's Justice Center is one of 22 centers across the state that provide child-focused programs in a safe setting for child abuse victims who are referred for services. It is a government agency and funding is provided by City Hall, Summit County, the state and private donations.

"If you look at the facilities in other communities, they have largely been supported by private donors, who have created a much nicer environment for the victims and their families," Kirschner said. "We do have more resources than most counties in the state and, unfortunately, we also have one of the most pitiful centers."

Since its inception, Kirschner said Community for Children's Justice has raised approximately $200,000. However, he said, the organization needs more than $5 million to purchase land for a new facility.

"The victims and their families, along with the people who have built their careers around helping those in our community, deserve better and our community deserves better," Kirschner said.

Melissa McKain, executive director of the Children's Justice Center, commended Kirschner for recognizing the need to support the center locally.

"It takes locals like Harry (Kirschner) to recognize that child abuse does happen in our beautiful mountain town and, although it can be one of the most challenging things for a family to deal with, when the right support and resources are provided, children and families can recover and go on to live healthy lives," McKain said. "Here we are a year later and with the support of Harry and a group of dedicated board members, we are well on our way to making this dream a reality."

Community for Children's Justice will host the event Sunday, June 25, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the City Park pavilion near Miners Hospital. Tickets are available for $50 per person or $150 for a family. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.ccjsummitcounty.wildapricot.org/event-2570870/Registration. For information about the Summit County Children's Justice Center, go to http://www.co.summit.ut.us/593/Childrens-Justice-Center.