Proceeds from the black-tie optional event benefit SafePath, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving lives of children who are abused. The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a Cocktail Reception followed by Dinner and Program at 7 p.m. Nickolas Smith, whose story of courage was recently featured on 20/20, is this year’s award recipient.
Smith was stabbed 18 times in 1995 and his mother, Karmen Smith, was found murdered in their home in east Cobb. Waseem Daker, who was convicted of stalking Smith’s roommate, was found guilty last year of the murder of Karmen Smith and attack on Nickolas Smith. Smith is a recent graduate of the University of Georgia.
Located at 736 Whitlock Ave., Suite 600 in Marietta, SafePath provides a non-threatening centralized location where members of the community provide support and services to children who are victims of child abuse and non-offending caregivers. SafePath provides professionals and agencies for a multi-disciplinary team approach to child abuse cases.
“The fundraiser is very important in order for SafePath to have the funds to ensure that a child and family in need has a facility that offers a comprehensive, professional and child-friendly approach in reducing the terrible trauma the children and their families are going through,” said Judi Snelson who co-chairs the event with her husband, Bob, and Patsy and Reynold Jennings.
“I have stayed involved (with SafePath) because of my love for all children and their need to be loved and free of abuse,” the retired educator said.
Snelson, a Marietta resident, has two adult children, Robert Snelson and Katie Gaudette, and five grandchildren ages 4 to 14. She has volunteered with SafePath for five years.
Snelson said that every 10 seconds a report of child abuse is made, five children die every day as a result of child abuse and 3 out of 4 child abuse victims are under the age of 4. One in five children will be a victim of abuse by the age of 18.
“These are a few facts that overwhelm me and breaks my heart. It takes all of us to create a community of hope, safety and a brighter tomorrow for all children,” she said.
“Our entire community needs to support SafePath’s vision of a community free of child abuse,” Snelson said.
The Galleria is located at 2 Galleria Parkway, Atlanta.
Sponsors are WellStar and Balfour Beatty Construction. Individual tickets are $150, and sponsorships are available.
To purchase tickets or learn more about SafePath, visit www.safepath.org, call (770) 801-3469 or email funddev.safepath