Gingerbread House's annual fundraiser is set for tomorrow.

The 'Partners in Prevention' Luncheon provides critically-needed funds for child victims of sexual and physical abuse in our community.

This year's event features guest speaker Marilyn Van Derbur, who was crowned Miss America in 1958. Luncheon organizer Waynette Ballengee told KEEL News Van Derbur was also a victim of sexual abuse as a child.

"What people did not know is that Marilyn had been sexually abused by her own father from the time she was five years old until she went away to college at 18," Ballengee said. "The story didn't really become public until she was about 53 years old. She went through all kinds of terrible health issues that were related to her sexual abuse and to the fact that she supressed all of these memories of her father coming to her room every night."

Ballengee said Van Derbur will tell her story and give some tips and warning signs to look out for if you work closely with children. Past speakers include Elizabeth Smart, Beth Holloway and John Walsh.

The luncheon runs from noon until 2PM Wednesday, October 14, at Sam's Town Casino Grand Ballroom. Dress is business attire. Tickets cost $125 each and are available on Gingerbread House's website.

Ballengee said past luncheons have brought in as many as 500 attendees. Because of this event, a lot of progress was made in 2014:

▪ 649 children received forensic interviews, multidisciplinary investigations, and family advocacy services, averaging 54 forensic interviews per month.

▪ 231 child victims & their non-offending caregivers received counseling services.

▪ As part of our prevention efforts, over 18,724 children and adults participated in educational outreach sessions.

▪ Thanks to the generosity of donors at this luncheon in 2014, all services were offered free of charge to child victims of abuse and their families.

In addition to the Luncheon, attendees who make a $20 or more donation via place cards at the event will be entered to win a shopping spree courtesy of Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry. The winner will be selected at the end of the Luncheon.

Sponsorships are still available and include a Meet & Greet Reception with Marilyn prior to the event. Call the Gingerbread House, 674-2900, for information on sponsorships.