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Third Annual Walk to Prevent Child Abuse set

By Staff | Oct 10, 2008

The Children’s Network of Southwest Florida will host the Third Annual Walk to Prevent Child Abuse this weekend.

The walk, at the Pelican Preserve in Fort Myers, will take place Saturday. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., and the 5K walk begins at 8 a.m.

According to Aimee McLaughlin, spokesperson for The Children’s Network, 300 walkers have already registered for the event, but anyone else can register Saturday morning. All the proceeds will benefit child abuse prevention programs.

“We have walkers already confirmed and if people are interested they can show up that day,” she said.

Besides the 5K, the network is also asking participants to bring donations. If a walker brings more than $50 worth of donations they receive a gift bag from The Children’s Network.

McLaughlin said child abuse is a growing problem in Southwest Florida, especially in Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres — both areas where officials see abuse rates increasing.

“Right now we have over 1,800 kids in the child welfare system,” said McLaughlin. “Those kids have already entered into our system and every month we get about 1,100 phone calls to the abuse hotline.”

Funds from the walk will be dispersed to a multitude of community organizations, she said. The first $10,000 will go to the Behavior Analysis Program that works with parents and children to prevent abuse.

“Counselors go into the home and work with parents to help them understand how to deal with their children,” said McLaughlin. “All of the funds that were raised go to child abuse prevention.”

During the walk there will be a shaded preserve for walkers to enjoy, as well as snacks and free massages.

For more information, visit: www.childnetswfl.org.