The Ride for Missing Children surpassed its fundraising goal this year, bringing in more than $400,000 to benefit the local office of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
“We’ve had such a focus on the posters of missing children in the past that I’m not sure the community fully realizes the impact their generosity has on what we’re able to do,” Wendy Fical, the center’s local program director, said in a news release. “The money raised supports education throughout Central New York of students, parents and teachers on abduction prevention, as well as printing and geographically targeted distribution of posters of missing children, counseling once children are recovered and so much more. We wouldn’t be here as an organization without this fundraiser and the amazing support from our community.”
The Mohawk Valley center has distributed more than 8 million posters of missing children since it opened in 1995, and more than 6,000 of those children have been recovered, the release stated.
The ride is a one-day, 100-mile bicycle ride that stops at schools along the route to bring a message of safety. It began in 1995 as a group of seven men rode their bicycles from Utica to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness about the plight of missing children and to bring a message of safety to the people they met along the arrive. The arrived on the Capitol steps on May 25, the first National Missing Children’s Day. Two years later, inspired by the first ride, a group of 43 riders rode their bicycles 100 miles from Albany to Utica with the same message of safety and awareness.
The purpose of the Ride For Missing Children is to honor the memory of all missing children, to raise public awareness of the plight of all missing and exploited children and the need for child safety education and to raise funds to support the missing children poster distribution, community education for the prevention of child abduction and sexual exploitation and the mission of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in serving the community in the Mohawk Valley and across New York. All participating riders make a vow to raise a minimum of $500 and to support the mission and goals of the ride and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Next year’s Ride for Missing Children — CNY will take place on Friday, May 16, 2014. Registration will begin in November. For more information, visit www.therideformissingchildren.com or call 732-7233.