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Program Highlight: “Project Harmony”
Part of my responsibilities as Project Coordinator, is to learn about our local agencies and their mental health services. I have begun scheduling tours of these various programs and recently had the opportunity to tour Project Harmony. Walking into Project Harmony you are greeted by color, art and warm smiles. Between the Lego wall, brightly colored carpet and custom made ceiling sculptures, the entrance is enough to make you briefly forget why they are there.
The mission of Project Harmony is to protect and support children, collaborate with professionals and engage the community to end child abuse and neglect. The program was developed in 1996, to streamline the process of reporting the abuse or neglect of a child. Often times a child is forced to tell their story dozens of times to different people including law enforcement, social services, and medical professionals. This tedious process can be extremely stressful and scary for a young child, and any amount of story variation could put the criminal case at risk. Instead, Project Harmony has an interview team that specializes in interviewing young victims one-on-one, in a safe, and child friendly environment.
Project Harmony is one of seven child advocacy centers in Nebraska, and one of 850 centers in the country! They primarily serve families and children in the Douglas, Sarpy and over a dozen counties in southwest Iowa. However, they would never turn anyone away for services because of “geography.” They are the only center of its kind with a state-of-the-art training department that offers several different courses for professionals all with the goal of ending child abuse. One of the courses, “Home Visits 101”, even has a mock apartment used for role playing. Project Harmony offers these courses year round and most are free to register.
For more information on Project Harmony, their services, and to view their current needs “Wish List,” please go to: