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Tour de Cookie Raises Money for Child Abuse Prevention

Tour Start/Finish Line

Minutes after the crowd finished singing the Sesame Street classic “C is for Cookie,” approximately 550 bicycle riders hit the pavement through the streets of Rockville, spreading awareness of child abuse prevention and raising money for the Tree House Child Assessment Center.

Under sunny skies, the bike riders departed from the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus, which was a sponsor of the bike ride, dubbed Tour de Cookie. Some riders chose a 14-mile route. Other riders chose a more ambitious 40-mile route. Along the way, riders stopped at cookie stands to enjoy a quick, home-baked snack.

City of Rockville Mayor Bridget Newton is a recreational bike rider who rode the 14-mile route. She has a special connection with the Tree House because her daughter had worked there.

“It’s such a great place for children to go and get help,” Newton said. “This brings people out and lets people support a good cause.”

The Tree House, established in 2002, is a private-public partnership between the Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County and the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. Tom Grazio, director of the Tree House, said the organization’s mission is to help victims of abuse. 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.

“Child abuse is everyone’s concern,” Grazio said. “We want to engage the community in reporting child abuse when they see it.”

Grazio noted how the Tour de Cookie event has grown, a sure sign, he said, the community is more aware of the work the Tree House does. In the event’s first year, 280 people rode bikes. In the second year, 380 people participated. At the 2015 event, almost 550 people rode.

“We’re grateful for the support,” Grazio said. “We go to the community once a year and say, hey, help us.”

The event raised approximately $15,000. All proceeds from the event go directly to the Tree House to help provide services to abused and neglected children.

CATEGORY: In The Community