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Executive director, Child Advocacy Center, Fayetteville, N.C.
Because She Can
"I spent three years at Moravian and my senior year was spent at St. Luke's Hospital Program in medical technology. During that last year, we took academic classes as well as worked in the lab. The hands-on experience that year was great in preparing us for our future jobs. I enjoyed the small class size at Moravian and the individual attention we received from the faculty."
Inside the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) in Fayetteville, N.C., there is a bright yellow room with a chalkboard decorated with colorful shapes, where a child named “Tommy” wrote “I love this place.” The CAC is where Roberta (Johnson) Humphries ’78, who has been its executive director since 2009, helps nearly 595 children each year begin recovering from sexual and physical abuse.
Messages like the one from “Tommy,” who had been sexually abused in his own home, make the difficult days worth it. No stranger to adversity, Humphries also is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. In 2003, she lost her 18-year-old son, Ryan Kishbaugh, to Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and two years after Ryan’s death, she and his father divorced. She uses these misfortunes as a springboard to help others.
“My prior experiences make me want to strive harder to make things better and accomplish more with my life,” she says. “It helps me stay focused on the bigger picture and to not get easily rattled when things go wrong.”
In addition to stewarding the CAC’s programs through grant writing and fundraising, Humphries is a tireless cancer research advocate. When Ryan, an avid athlete, implored others in his journal to “just go out and run, somewhere, anywhere, just run because you can,” Humphries took it to heart. On the first anniversary of his funeral, she ran her first marathon under her personal goal of five hours to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training. That inspired her to complete a 100-mile bike ride around Lake Tahoe for Team in Training only five months after the marathon.
“The run helped me realize that with the right focus and determination and proper training, I could accomplish things I never thought were possible,” says Humphries, who, along with her husband, Paul, organizes the annual Ryan’s Reindeer Run held each December in Fayetteville to benefit several cancer charities, including the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Humphries was a medical technology major at Moravian, where she appreciated the small class sizes and enjoyed the science program. She went on to earn a master’s in health services management from Webster University and certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University.
“I enjoyed the small class size at Moravian and the individual attention we received from the faculty. The hands-on experience that year (senior year) was great in preparing us for our future jobs,” she says.
"The hands-on experience that year (senior year) was great in preparing us for our future jobs."