EAST STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – It’s an alarming statistic in the United States. Nearly 700,000 children are abused each year. A few hundred thousand of those young victims are helped by Children’s Advocacy Centers nationwide. Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller shows us how one of those centers in the Poconos got plenty of help on Saturday to carry on its “heroic” mission.
Not all superheroes wear capes but some did at Dansbury Park. About 50 walkers and runners, including several in costume, took part in the 3rd annual Monroe County Children’s Advocacy Center 5K Superhero Run/Walk.
“Last year, I was over there with water handing it out to people and now I’m just a bank robber,” said 13-year-old volunteer John Hilbert. The Greentown boy played a make-believe villain to give the “superhero” runners someone to chase.
Curtis Rogers is the Executive Director of Children’s Advocacy Center of Monroe County. He said, “We’re trying to add a few things every year to it and continually celebrate that superhero.”
Walkers and runners paid a fee to participate. The money funds services for child abuse victims in Monroe County — from providing a place where kids can feel comfortable talking with investigators to undergoing medical exams in connection with criminal cases. “We can get them into a one-stop shop where all of the team can come together, help the kids and their families, help them heal and move forward and hopefully hold offenders accountable where we’re able to do that,” said Mr. Rogers.
14-year-old Rose Coats became a “super” runner. The Brooklyn, New York teenager learned of the 5K event the night before while visiting the Poconos. “I feel like it’s really good that they’re donating this money and I totally support it,” she said.
Ms. Coats finished first overall. The triumphant teen is proud to help vulnerable children. She said, “I care a lot about social justice issues and just about them in general and I think people should support them.”
While some earned medals, door prizes, and costume prizes all are worthy “Avengers” for young victims of abuse. Mr. Rogers said, “Our kids are heroes that we should honor and be happy about in our community and we want to make sure that we do that.”
Walkers and runners also wrote messages of support on a canvas for child abuse victims to see in the future.