Project S.T.O.P.'s awareness and fundraising walk a first for Quicken Loans Arena
Project S.T.O.P. (Stop the Oppressive Predator) stepped closer to its goal of stopping child molestation with its successful “Look Out for Kids Awareness Walk,” which raised more than $3,000. The event, the first fund-raising walk to be held at Quicken Loans Arena, drew about 100 registered walkers, from young children to grandparents, all led by the Lee Burneson Middle School cheerleaders.
Money raised at the event, which was supported by the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, will be used for the final development and distribution of Project S.T.O.P.’s educational programs. Project S.T.O.P. is a venture by Reinventing the Cycle Inc., a 501(c)(3), tax-deductible organization.
Community members – including 20 from St. John United Church of Christ in Amherst – participated in and supported the walk, held March 4 at Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland. Walkers received the added benefit of staying for a Cleveland Monsters hockey game.
“The ‘Look Out for Kids Awareness Walk’ was successful in so many different ways,” said Cathy DuBois, founder, president and chief executive officer of Reinventing the Cycle, and a Westlake resident. “Our country has a large percentage of people who are victimized by child predators. The wonderful people who came together on this walk realize that we must take action to support victims and raise awareness so that child predators are stopped. Together, we are making a positive difference and we hope even more will join us at next year’s walk.”
There are few things more important than helping those who cannot protect themselves. Children deserve a safe environment in which to grow and thrive. Sadly, too many children, through no fault of their own, become victims in one of the most unspeakable crimes: child molestation. Project S.T.O.P. teaches children to be aware of their bodies and that no one, not even someone they know and trust, should touch them in an inappropriate way.
“I never realized how many people were victimized as children until I participated in this event,” said Diane Smith, a participant, mother and Westlake resident. “The statistics became a reality when I began gathering friends to join me in the walk. I was saddened by the amount of friends who opened up to me to share that they, personally, were victims. I will continue walking for them and others in the future.”
DuBois said she hopes to make the walk an annual event.
Project S.T.O.P. offers hope, and a sense of empowerment, that children can keep from becoming just another molestation statistic. Education is the most effective way to prevent child molestation.
For more information, visit www.ReInventingTheCycle.org.
secretary for Project S.T.O.P.