NORWICH — The Chenango County Child Advocacy Center (CAC) closed out April Child Abuse Prevention Month last week at their second annual Hope for Healing 5K run and walk on Saturday, April 30.
Throughout the month, the CAC and Live Event NY Owner Will MacGuire worked to raise awareness of child abuse prevention through the Shine Blue for Hope and Pinwheels for Prevention campaigns. The campaigns allowed local businesses and organizations to donate to the CAC and have blue pinwheels displayed on their property, or blue lights shined on their buildings to help raise awareness.
Those efforts culminated in the 5K event held in East Park in Norwich, which saw approximately 56 participants.
According to MacGuire, the top three male runners were Makaio Sutton, Caden Sutton, and Zander Sutton. He said fourth place went to Nicholas Sutton, and they were the top four runners overall. The top three female runners were Harmon Lu, Lydia Dillon, and Megan Rodriguez.
CAC Program Coordinator Joanne Smith said the event raised a total of $4,700, with even more donations on the way.
"The generosity of the community was unbelievable," she said. "I think like $2,000 just on the basket raffle items. And then Wild Owl gave us ten percent of their proceeds for the day, and we ended up with a check for $275 at the end of their shift, and I know that we still are receiving money. There’s a pharmaceutical company that’s going to be giving us a check soon."
All the proceeds raised will go toward CAC programming.
"Basically it will be allocated in [four] areas. One is multidisciplinary team development, so that’s our team, law enforcement. It will allow them to do trainings, professional development. We just did a training here a little while ago," said Smith. "It will go to the Community Foundation Backpack Program, that’s where we help kids develop stress management backpacks for themselves when they go on difficult visitation."
"It will go for children’s programming here. We’re in the process of doing a girls’ circle, the Empire Caregivers Group. So programming and direct services," she continued. "None of it will go to administrative, really it will all go back into the community in terms of providing services."
In addition to participating in the 5K, attendees also had the opportunity to do a Zumba class taught by Mickie Davis, purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win one of the dozens of donated gift baskets and prizes, enjoy Gilligan's ice cream that was dyed blue to match the Child Abuse Prevention Month color, and learn more about several local organizations.
Raffle baskets and prizes were donated by Serenity Hobbies, Bartle's Pharmacy, The Little Herbal Shoppe, Teaser's Hair and Nail Studio, the Northeast Classic Car Museum, the Blarney Stone Pub, Made in Chenango, Nina's Pizzeria, Maxwell's, the Colonia Theater, and many others.
Additionally, several local organizations and businesses set up tents in the park and provided information about what they do, as well as games and activities for kids. Local groups included the CAC, Liberty Partnership, The Place, Guernsey Memorial Library, Aunt Mary's House, Hospice and Palliative Care of Chenango County, Chenango Health Network, Northern Rivers, and more.
"People there were asking such excellent questions about our agency. What do you guys really do? That was the biggest question. It just provided an opportunity and they’re like, wow, you guys do what?" said Smith. "It was a great day, and we just really appreciate the support of the community in so many different ways."
For those who weren't able to attend this year's Hope for Healing 5K, or who want to participate again, Smith said planning is already under way to bring the event back for their third annual race next year.
"We just thank you so much for participating in the race, for supporting our center. We’re just so grateful for the generosity of the community, to shine their blue lights, to donate to the basket raffle," said Smith. "It is beautiful to see the community just come together, and really just honor and just work together with one of the agencies."
More information on the Chenango County Child Advocacy Center can be found at chenangochildadvocacy.us or on the Chenango County Child Advocacy Center Facebook page.