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Sweetest Bike Ride Raises Money for Child Abuse Victims

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The organizers of the Tree House Tour de Cookie bike ride say the cookie stands along the route are the heart and soul of the event. But the true purpose of the day, they say, is to raise awareness of child abuse in our community.

Approximately 700 bike riders set out from the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus on a recent Saturday morning to raise money for the Tree House Child Assessment Center. Riders participating in the 6th annual Tour de Cookie chose routes of 12, 27 or 43 miles long. (Walkers were encouraged to participate in the 2-mile “stir-roll.”)

Along the way, bike riders stopped at any of 15 cookie stands to enjoy freshly baked cookies. The stands were organized by local nonprofit organizations and other community groups.

The JHU Montgomery County Campus sponsored the event for the fourth consecutive year.

“Our mission is to offer hope and healing to child victims of abuse, especially childhood sexual abuse,” said Thomas Grazio, director of the Tree House. “Our event is not simply to raise money but rather to engage the community to achieve our goals: prevent child abuse and neglect and serve the victims who so desperately need our help.”

The more than $46,000 raised will go toward mental health or medical staff salaries.

“Child abuse occurs everywhere, and the only way to prevent it is to make people aware that it exists,” said Nina Blecher, director of Tree House community partnerships.

The Tree House Child Assessment Center is a public-private partnership between the Tree House Child Advocacy Center of Montgomery County and the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. The Tree House is committed to the prevention of abuse and neglect, and strives to offer hope and healing to children in need.

The Tree House charges nothing to the public for its services, which include comprehensive medical examinations, mental health assessments, mental health therapy, victim advocacy, forensic interviews, nurse case management, and education and prevention.

“We can only continue to provide these services with the support of the community,” Blecher said.

CATEGORY: In The Community