Q&A with Arkansas Woman of Inspiration Co-Chair Shayla Copas

In its first year, the inaugural Arkansas Woman of Inspiration luncheon hopes to raise awareness for Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas

CACA helps children and their families deal with the aftermath of child abuse. Instead of taking a child from agency to agency throughout the law enforcement and child protection services systems, the center allows professionals involved in the case come to them in a child-friendly environment. Read more about its mission here. 

Currently, there are 14 centers in Arkansas and three satellite locations. This new fundraiser, taking place at the Marriott Little Rock on Oct. 23, aims to ensure no victim if child abuse will have to travel more than an hour to receive these services. 

Soirée talked to co-chair Shayla Copas about the mission to ensure every victim of child abuse has access to a center. 

Soirée: How did this nonprofit impact you and why/how are you involved?

Shayla Copas: This organization has greatly impacted my life on a personal level. I am involved to make sure that every abused child in the state of Arkansas has the resources, support, advocacy, counseling and protection to help them after they are subjected to abuse. This organization is a necessary partner to a victim to make sure that the “wounded” are adequately supported, represented, and have a fair chance to heal. There are so many children without access to these services in our state because of where they live, geographically speaking.  It is our goal that no child should have to drive more than one hour in order to receive services after the abuse is reported.  It is extremely hard for those who have not suffered from abuse to understand its full affect on our society.  Abused children with no support or advocacy grow up to be injured souls with years of baggage to unpack. As adults they suffer from PTSD, high blood pressure, suicide attempts, addictions, depression and so forth. Economically speaking, early intervention will save the public millions in healthcare expenses. 

S: In addition to supporting a good cause, what can patrons look forward to at the event?  

SC: Well, of course their hearts will be touched immediately by hearing the story of our Blue Ribbon Award Winner Stephanie Abernathy who has risen above the abuse of her grandfather and is now helping in Childhood Abuse Prevention. They will also enjoy a New York runway fashion show sponsored by Barbara/Jean and Lafayette 148 out of New York. This luncheon is in my opinion the creme de la creme of fashion show luncheons. The crowd will have never witnessed a local daytime event with such attention to detail while at the same time capturing the hearts and souls of the audience. We will also have an unbelievable silent auction of which we are so thankful to the sponsors for their support. I believe all will leave inspired to get involved!

S: Arkansas First Lady Susan Hutchinson is being honored at this year’s event. How has she been involved with CACA?

SC: The First Lady was first acquainted with Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas as she served on the board of of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County. Through that board membership Mrs.  Hutchinson became more involved and made it her mission that as First Lady our children will have access to qualified, well trained professionals in the areas of child welfare. I have never in all my years of working in the nonprofit sector, seen an honoree more deserving of an award than our first lady.  She has made this mission not only a priority, but an everyday part of her life.  I am in awe of her true passion and love for CACA. She is such a sincere and “real” person with absolutely pure intentions.  We are quite fortunate to have her.

For more information about the fundraiser, click here. To learn more about CACA, click here. 

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