Several volunteers placed pinwheels around Safe Harbor and throughout downtown Allegan on April 1 to kick off Child Abuse Awareness Month.

Safe Harbor one of 56 charities accepted into fundraising challenge

Ryan Lewis, Editor

Safe Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center in Allegan is out to win a $75,000 donation to help update its medical equipment.

Safe Harbor is one of 56 charities throughout Michigan—as well as Toledo, Fort Wayne, Ind., and Chicago—that are busy fundraising as part of the Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge. It’s the only charity from Allegan County to be accepted into the effort.
The center’s executive director, Lori Antkoviak, said Safe Harbor had applied to enter similar efforts in the past without any luck.
“We were pleasantly surprised to be accepted,” she said. “We feel honored.”
Safe Harbor cares for children countywide who are the victims of abuse and neglect. It provides free services to children and non-offending caregivers including forensic interviewing, counseling, medical examinations, victim advocacy, prevention education and court advocacy.
Antkoviak said, “Safe Harbor is in desperate need to update medical equipment used during medical exams of children who have suffered sexual or severe physical abuse.
“The medical exams help make sure that the child victims are healthy and allows the doctor to give the most accurate diagnosis through the least invasive procedures.”
The main device they hope to purchase is a colposcope; the binocular magnifying scope enables doctors to examine injuries on the children and record video and pictures to document the injuries.
Antkoviak said it helps the doctors examining sexual organs to not touch as much and be less invasive.
She said Safe Harbor has searched for used devices that would still suit their needs but have not located any.
Antkoviak said, “We need your help. Every donation makes a difference, no matter how small.”
She said the center’s Lifeline fundraiser in April fell $12,000 short of its $50,000 goal—which makes the Art Van Challenge that much more of a boon.
Now in its sixth consecutive year, the Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge awards grants ranging from as low as $5,000 to a single $75,000 grant to charities throughout the state supporting children, health and human services. That top prize goes to the charity that raises the most money in the contest period, which began May 19 and will end June 23.
To help Safe Harbor with the Challenge, the donations must be made through that website.
Antkoviak said, “Children who share their story of abuse are brave. To bring hope and healing to defenseless children despite funding cuts, child abuse and neglect, victims need support.
“Let’s join together to help Safe Harbor win this challenge; be brave and donate to help children be brave.”
For more information about Safe Harbor or the fundraiser, visit


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