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Klahowya Key Club gives ‘an incredible gift’

The Klahowya Key Club hopes to bring a little comfort to sexual assault victims. The service club gathered more than 300 stuffed animals, coloring books and crayons for children and teens serviced by the Kitsap Sexual Assault Center.

The center, which responds to calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, helped 385 sexual assault victims under the age of 12 last year. They typically see about 1,600 cases involving children and adults, said Martha Wescott, the center’s director.

“This is just an incredible gift,” she said.

After reporting a sexual assault, victims must undergo an examination and a lengthy interview process involving law enforcement and attorneys. The experience can be cold and frightening, Wescott said, and having something to hold onto is comforting. A toy also is given to the victim’s siblings.

This is the third year Key Club members have gathered “Wee Kare Bears” for the center. On Dec. 18, members gathered toys outside the Bremerton K-Mart. Klahowya staff members were asked to brings crayons and a coloring book donation to a staff breakfast.

“It was a real community effort, which is what Key Club is all about,” said Jerri Tucker, club adviser.

The project asked students to think about themselves in that situation she said.

“Many people were enlightened by this,” Tucker said.

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