Standing in front of a freshly-painted mural inside Junior’s House’s Child Therapy Room, Capt. Joyce McConnell of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department is presented a plaque by Crystal Guess, executive director of Junior’s House. The plaque commemorates McConnell’s initiative to establish Juniors House Child Advocacy Center. McConnell initiated the establishment of Junior’s House, Inc., which officially opened in 2003 to help area abused children. Artist Jennie Roles-Walter and Emma Womble created the mural for the center. Pictured are (from left) Guess, McConnell, Amber Sandoval, representing the district attorney’s office, and Brandee Lancaster, child therapist.

Thanks to artists Jennie Roles-Walter and Emma Womble, Junior’s House Inc., Child Advocacy Center was able to do a “mini makeover” of their play therapy room, which was recently dedicated to Capt. Joyce McConnell of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department.

The artists completed a beautiful wall mural depicting a child blissfully blowing bubbles.

“We often use bubbles in therapy to help children with relaxation,” said Crystal Guess, executive director.

The play therapy room is the children’s favorite room when they come to the center for counseling. Children often require play techniques to process trauma and learn healthy coping mechanisms. The play therapy room houses multiple tools, such as sand, puppets and games to help children have a voice in counseling because children do not always communicate the same as adults.

With the help of Leadership Lincoln, McConnell opened the doors of Junior’s House in 2003. She named the organization, “Junior’s House”, after a six-year-old boy named Junior died as a result of child abuse. Since that time, McConnell has remained involved with supporting Junior’s House and child abuse victims in our community.

“Capt. McConnell saw a need in our community to help child abuse victims,” said Guess. “She wanted a child-friendly place for children to come for free services. Since 2003, Junior’s House has helped thousands of children and has three office locations.

“The staff and board at Junior’s House wanted to dedicate our remodeled play therapy room in honor of Capt. Joyce McConnell,” she said. “The room that children love the most and often find their voice in could not be dedicated to anyone more deserving than Capt. McConnell.”

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