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Tour de Cookie Raises Money for Child Abuse Victims

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The Tour de Cookie is probably the sweetest ride in town. Held at the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus, the event raises money for the Tree House Child Assessment Center.

More than 700 bicycle riders saddled up on a recent dreary Saturday morning to raise money for some of our community’s most vulnerable: victims of child abuse.

Riders of all ages took off from the JHU Montgomery County Campus, and meandered on marked routes across Rockville and Montgomery County. Riders chose routes of 12, 27 or 43 miles long. There was also a children’s ride and a Zero-K stroll, where some chose to do their part by walking 906 feet. Along the way, riders stopped at any of 16 cookie stands to enjoy freshly baked cookies. The stands were organized by nonprofits and other community groups.

The event started five years ago. For the past three years, JHU Montgomery County Campus has been an event sponsor, the beginning and ending points for the bike riders, and the site of the community expo.

“We started the Tour de Cookie to raise awareness about the problem of child sexual abuse, to engage the community in helping these victims and to offer a fun activity for parents, children and grandparents,” said Tom Grazio, director of the Tree House. “I am humbled at how Montgomery County has embraced this event in such a short period of time.”

Every dollar raised goes directly to the children served by the Tree House, Grazio said. The Tree House is committed to the prevention of abuse and neglect, and strives to offer hope and healing to children in need, Grazio said.

The 2017 event raised more than $41,000. The money will help pay for transportation for the children who come to the Tree House for services. Funds also will be used to add a Spanish-speaking therapist, Grazio said.

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. Plans are underway to transition the Tree House to a dedicated nonprofit.

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.

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett attended the event. He led the countdown and thanked people for coming out.

“Remember,” he said, “you are doing this for a very worthy cause.”

 

 

CATEGORY: In The Community