Adults Working and Advocating for Kids’ Empowerment, a 501(c)3 private non-profit organization, grew from a dream of representatives from various Jackson County public agencies and private organizations in 1992. These people were concerned about the destruction of child abuse to children, families and the community. Taking child victims to multiple agencies for interviews often re-victimized the children. The unanimous concern for improving the system on behalf of the children led to the formal organization of AWAKE. AWAKE opened its doors at 563 W. Main Street, Sylva, in September 1993. Children’s Advocacy Centers are gaining a reputation as being one of the most effective and humane child abuse intervention and prevention programs in operation and serve as a model for other communities. In 2016, AWAKE moved to a handicap accessible location at 20 Colonial Square, Sylva.


  • Facilitates and coordinates a multidisciplinary team, through a collaborative effort of all agencies involved, which can effectively and humanely bring the child’s case to resolution. It is the multidisciplinary team that is the heart of Children’s Advocacy Centers.
  • Provides a “child friendly” environment where child victims of abuse can be interviewed or counseled  and a child medical evaluations can be conducted by Mission Children's Specialists medical staff.
  • Provides education to the community to recognize the signs of child abuse and understand the importance of reporting the abuse so the child can be free of victimization.
  • Participates in community child abuse prevention, education, and awareness activities through the SCAN puppet show for kindergarten students, "Pinwheels for Prevention" for April Child Abuse Prevention Month, and through the distribution of child abuse handouts for parents, children and students throughout the year.
  • Collects data to assess the needs of the community and the systems that serve it, in order to improve Jackson County’s response to sexual and physical abuse.
  • Provides materials to investigators to be used for "court school" for children and their families involved in the criminal justice system.
  • Recruits and trains volunteers to assist with numerous functions including presentation of SCAN puppet shows, administrative support, preparation of mass mailings, and staffing events like Greening Up the Mountains, etc.
  • Is governed by an elected Board of Directors, and is served by an Executive Director, a part-time Case Manager/Victim Services Coordinator and local volunteers.

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