SCRANTON — It’s evident by his play on the football field that Matt McGloin doesn’t like standing on the sidelines.
So it should come as no surprise that the former walk-on quarterback at Penn State and current NFL player wasn’t about standby when he heard the Children’s Advocacy Center in Scranton needed help.
McGloin held his the second annual “Tailgate for Kids with Matt McGloin and Friends” benefit Saturday at the St. Mary’s Center, raising money for the agency that helps abused children.
“From the first day Matt visited our center, he wanted to know how he could help, and since then he has been a great supporter of the CAC and an advocate for the children of our region,” said Mary Ann LaPorta, executive director of the center.
As a Scranton native, McGloin felt an attachment to the local troubled youths and wanted to get involved, LaPorta added.
An accredited private, nonprofit-charitable organization, the CAC’s mission is to provide “excellence in the assessment and treatment of child/teen victims of abuse and neglect,” LaPorta said.
“I am always in awe of the passion, the tireless efforts and professionalism of the staff,” McGloin said. “Unfortunately, there is a need for their services if you just look at the sheer numbers of children they served last year alone.”
Organizers were confident this year’s event would top last year’s $40,000 fund total. About 1,000 visitors stopped by for a meet-and-greet session with the nationally recognized athletes.
McGloin was accompanied by Henry Hynoski, another local athlete who played for a New York Giants Super Bowl championship team; Mike Farrell from the Denver Broncos; Matt Stankewitch of the Jacksonville Jaguars; Derek Moye of the Pittsburgh Steelers; and Penn State football players J.R. Refice, Ryan Scherer, Andrew Goodman, Jake Fagnano, Mike Fuhrman, Pete Massaro, Mike Yancich and Eric Shrive.
Penn State assistant football coach Herb Hand, who is known for his work with abused children, was also on hand.
LaPorta said McGloin and company came to Scranton Saturday because they know how important the center’s work is. The CAC services eight counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Since 1998, the center has helped about 10,000 victims of every kind of abuse, including sexual, physical or mental abuse, neglect and other offenses, she said.
“We are child central,” LaPorta emphasized.
The center staff is dealing with growing challenges to help local kids, she said. Since 2004 their workload increased by 210 percent, she added.
“People are not afraid to contact the CAC when they notice a case of child abuse,” LaPorta said. “It’s a community problem that requires community responses.”
She stressed child abuse happens across all socio-economic, ethnic and faith demographics. It is not just a problem in the poor neighborhoods as many believe, she said.
In 2013, the CAC provided child advocacy services to 1,411 children and adolescents, LaPorta said. They also provided training and education to 1,200 adults and children and nearly 200 medical professionals, she added.