The Village of Cassadaga and The Red House proved to be the perfect setting for the “Step Up for Kids” 5k run/walk, a child abuse awareness event held on Saturday, September 27, 2014. The Child Advocacy Program (CAP) Board of Directors’ Fund Raising Committee organized the event in coordination with New York State Children’s Alliance, Inc., a statewide organization dedicated to helping local communities effectively respond to allegations of child abuse in a manner that puts the needs of children first. CAP is a non-profit child advocacy center dedicated to ending child abuse in Chautauqua County. When abuse does occur, CAP coordinates a community response to bring healing, hope and justice to children and families. Eight children’s advocacy centers across NY held similar events throughout September.
CAP supporters Steve and Nancy Wickmark offered their property; The Village of Cassadaga, led by Mayor Leeann Lazarony, wholeheartedly embraced the idea and provided emergency, medical and safety services, along with Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department. Mayor Lazarony and Mr. Wickmark served as the event’s honorary co-chairs. Members of the Cassadaga Job Corps and Cassadaga Valley Central School Key Club volunteered as well. Cassadaga Youth Recreation Director, Tammy Wichlacz, led the Kid’s Hero Run, where children sporting “CAP capes” completed a 50-yard dash, complete with mementos for each young participant.
Step Up for Kids sponsors included:
The Red House; Village of Cassadaga; Bemus Point United Methodist Church; FSC Systems; Raymour & Flannigan; Afloral.com; Christ First United Methodist Church; Klinginsmith plumbing; 3C’s Catering; Lane Women’s Health Group; Basil Fredonia; Fieldbrook Foods; Tim Hortons – Fredonia; The Upper Crust and Judy Metzger. Special thanks also to Media One Group for pre-event endorsements and Mark James of KIX country for on-location promotions.
Top overall finishers were Robert Liebers of Lakewood and Kim Gonzalez of Bradford, PA. Electronic race timing was provided by David Reinhardt of Chautauqua Striders. A complete list of finishers is posted at http://buffalorunners.com/results/2014/cassadaga14.htm.
“We are all winners when we step up for kids and work to end child abuse”, notes Jana McDermott, CAP’s executive director. “The quote: ‘It takes teamwork to make the dream work’, best describes “Step Up for Kids”. This was a true team effort. Hundreds of folks came out to run, attend or volunteer and each person’s involvement was vital”.
CAP coordinates child-prioritized forensic interviews and child abuse investigations. Proceeds from the day’s events will be used to generate further awareness throughout northern Chautauqua County and to provide children with services that otherwise might not be available (advocacy throughout the courtroom process and trauma-focused counseling). The Multidisciplinary Team approach is the cornerstone of CAP services and each discipline – advocacy, mental health, medical, law enforcement and prosecution – was represented at Chautauqua County’s “Step Up for Kids.” The event was also attended by NY State Assemblyman Andrew Goodell and Chautauqua County Family Court Judge Candidate Sally A. Jaroszynski.
CAP is a United Way Agency. For more information about CAP, ways to volunteer, get in touch, or donate visit capjustice.org