The Gingerbread House has scheduled its annual Partners in Prevention luncheon for October 5.

The special guest at this year's fundraising event is Matthew Sandusky, who you might remember as the son of Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State University employee convicted of multiple counts of child sexual abuse. It's said to be one of the most highly-publicized sex abuse cases in history, since Matthew's disclosure interview to the police was leaked to the media.

"He's going to talk about his life, what he overcame. He was abused by his adopted father, Jerry Sandusky, from the time he was 10 until he was 16. So for six years, he endured this abuse," said Gingerbread House Executive Director Jessica Milan Miller. "Victims have so many labels added to them, and even more so when we have male victims. I just can't wait to hear what he has to say."

Miller said Matthew will give victims in our community a voice, so they know they can overcome abuse and be successful, and don't have to let it define who they are.

Matthew uses his life’s story to motivate people to take action to prevent child sexual abuse, while at the same time teaching them how to positively engage and support adult survivors of child sexual abuse. He hopes that by telling his story he is able to show survivors that hope always exists and that healing will happen. Matthew shares, “We have been broken, but with love and support, we will rebuild and become stronger than we ever could have imagined.”

The luncheon runs from noon until 2 p.m. Wednesday, October 5, at Sam's Town Casino's Grand Ballroom. You should dress in business attire. Tickets are $125 each, and are available by phone at 318-674-2900 or online at eventbrite.com. A table for 10 costs $1,500.

Attendees who make a $25 or more donation via place cards at the event will be entered to win one of the following packages:

  • 4 game tickets to LSU vs. Southern Mississippi football game October 15 -- includes overnight hotel and dinner certificate
  • 4 game tickets to LSU vs. South Alabama football game on November 19 -- includes overnight hotel and dinner certificate

Winners will be selected at the end of the luncheon. Sponsorships are also available and include a Meet & Greet Reception with Matthew prior to the event.

The money raised will go toward the services offered by Gingerbread House for child victims of abuse. The non-profit shares some statistics that were made possible through the 2015 event:

  • 747 children received forensic interviews, multidisciplinary investigations and family advocacy services, averaging 65 forensic interviews per month.
  • 202 child victims and their non-offending caregivers received counseling services.
  • As part of prevention efforts, over 21,524 children and adults participated in educational outreach sessions.

Because of donors, services at the facility continue to be offered free of charge to child victims and their families.