Advocacy Center hosts Hearing Children’s Voices Gala
by Lindsay Field
March 13, 2013 12:22 AM | 4304 views | 3 3 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
 SafePath Executive Director Jinger Robins stands with 2013 Hearing Children’s Voices Award Recipient Nickolas Smith at SafePath of Cobb’s black-tie gala Saturday night to honor Smith, who at age 5 survived 18 stab wounds and witnessed his mother’s death. Convicted murderer Waseem Daker was sentenced in October to life plus 47½ years  in prison. SafePath is a nonprofit working to combat child abuse.
 SafePath Executive Director Jinger Robins stands with 2013 Hearing Children’s Voices Award Recipient Nickolas Smith at SafePath of Cobb’s black-tie gala Saturday night to honor Smith, who at age 5 survived 18 stab wounds and witnessed his mother’s death. Convicted murderer Waseem Daker was sentenced in October to life plus 47½ years in prison. SafePath is a nonprofit working to combat child abuse.
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From left are Robins, Smith, first lady of Georgia Sandra Deal, and Rhonda and Mark Jacobson.
From left are Robins, Smith, first lady of Georgia Sandra Deal, and Rhonda and Mark Jacobson.
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Co-chairs of SafePath’s fundraising event, from left, are Bob and Judi Snelson, and Marcia and Charlie Crowder.
Co-chairs of SafePath’s fundraising event, from left, are Bob and Judi Snelson, and Marcia and Charlie Crowder.
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Waseem Daker, acting as his own attorney while on trial in September 2007, looks over papers as a photo of Nickolas Smith at age 5, in the hospital after being stabbed 18 times, is shown to the jury.
Waseem Daker, acting as his own attorney while on trial in September 2007, looks over papers as a photo of Nickolas Smith at age 5, in the hospital after being stabbed 18 times, is shown to the jury.
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Smith with his mother, Karmen, in 1989.
Smith with his mother, Karmen, in 1989.
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A nonprofit advocacy group came together recently to honor the victims of violence, and in the process had its most successful fundraiser ever.

SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center held the 12th annual Hearing Children’s Voices Gala at Cobb Galleria on Saturday evening.

More than 500 people attended the event, themed “Boots and Black Tie,” and they raised $196,000 through live and silent auctions with items donated from various retailers, including the Cumberland Diamond Exchange.

“We were ecstatic!” said SafePath Executive Director Jinger Robins. “To be able to have the support from the community with community dollars allows SafePath to be so much stronger because we are not dependent on just grant dollars from the state and federal government.”

Funds will go to providing services to children and families, such as crisis intervention, therapy sessions and child abuse prevention training.

This year’s event also allowed the nonprofit to recognize Nickolas Smith, 22, by giving him the Hearing Children’s Voices Award.

“We wanted to honor him for his incredible ability to overcome a tragedy that with the support and love of family and outreach from the community that they need,” Robins said.

Smith’s mother Karmen Smith was murdered by Waseem Daker on Oct. 23, 1995. The young man, who was 5 at the time, was stabbed 18 times and survived.

Daker was convicted in Cobb County last year and sentenced to life in prison, plus 47 and a half years.

“Nickolas said that each stab wound is a reminder of the almost 18 years of his life that he lost between his mother’s murder and Daker’s conviction,” Robins said. “He also said that we have to remember to laugh because life is a gift.”

Thirteen Delta flight attendants, all in uniform, were also recognized for volunteering their time at the gala to honor Karmen Smith, who was their co-worker nearly 20 years ago.

The event was co-chaired by Cobb residents Judi and Bob Snelson and Patsy and Reynold Jennings.

Bob Snelson, who serves as the SafePath board president, said this is the second year he and his wife have chaired the gala that was sponsored by Balfour Beatty Construction in Atlanta.

“It was a super time,” said Snelson. “I believe it was the best gala we’ve had.”

Snelson said he became involved in SafePath five years ago through his employer, Marietta Board of Lights and Water.

Snelson also said Smith was a tremendous individual to have overcome all he did in his young life and applauded him for being able to tell his story in front of such a large crowd.

“It’s just a wonderful story to know that somebody can endure all that and come out with a positive outlook on the remainder of his life,” he said.
Comments
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Truth2013
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April 04, 2013
Uh oh... as of April 2013, the key witness's testimony was all lies. Guess we, the commenters from outside good-old-boy Georgia were right when we poked holes in the weak case being put on the stand: that story was full of BS. I feel sorry for Mr. Smith, that won't bring his mom back and it's okay that he totally got wrong the one attribute of his attacker he could describe (saying he had blue eyes, when Daker's were brown), but he was a kid and kids make mistakes (the jurors are the irresponsible ones)...but sounds like one more Georgia miscarriage of justice is going down in flames! Hope you local journalists cover it.
Auntie Julz
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March 21, 2013
Thank you for making me smile every time I think of you. Cool.
Gram Sue Sue & Pops
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March 15, 2013
Oh, how I wish we had flown to Atlanta to attend this event for Nick. What a wonderful program. Knowing it helped Nick and what he went through, we are so relieved to know he went to SafePath and they helped him. We gave him and still give him all the love and support we can but it so hard since we do not live out Midwest. I live because of the memories of my children and grandchildren. I never thought I would have to bury my 2 daughters before they buried me. Nick's personality is so much like Karmen,his Mother and I thank God every day that Nick survived and is such an Awesome man today.

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