DODGE CITY — Running and walking are good ways to help keep physically fit. It's also opportunity for a good cause.
A fun run this Saturday will assist children who are victims of child abuse.
The Meadowlark Child Advocacy Center House, based in Dodge City, is hosting a fundraising 5K fun run starting at 7 a.m. Saturday, June 15, at the Dodge City YMCA.
The goal of the run is to raise funds to help get an on-site therapist to assist with children needing help dealing with abuse, said Alex Granados, licensed specialist clinical social worker.
Meadowlark House provides a safe, child-friendly and secure environment where trained professionals conduct forensic interviews of children who have been reported to have been abused. Anyone conducting a forensic interview has to have specific training. Interviews are designed to be child-friendly, child-led and lets the child tell their own story. The interviews are recorded, so if abuse is present, the child doesn't have to go through the interview process again.
If a child does disclose abuse, many agencies can be involved, including police, sheriff, county attorney and medical personnel.
Besides working with children that have been in an abuse situation, Meadowlark House also does work to help abuse from happening in the first place. If that doesn't work, they work with the child to get them back to normalcy, Granados said.
"We like to do a lot of prevention," Granados said.
At the fun run, the first three finishers in each age category will receive medals with the Meadowlark House logo. Local businesses and merchants have donated items for several door prizes. All proceeds go directly to Meadowlark House. From 20-23 participants have signed up, and Granados said he is hopeful more will take part.
"The fun run helps people maintain an active life and gives them a chance to donate to a much needed cause," Granados said.
Meadowlark House is a nonprofit organization that receives federal and state funding. In order to receive those funds, they have to match 20 percent with community dollars and the fun run is one way they are meeting those requirements, Granados said.
Besides helping to get a therapist on-site, funds will help professional discipline volunteers acquire specialized training that will allow them to improve the quality of follow-up care for the child and their family systems.
Financial assistance is always welcome from individuals, businesses or organizations. Businesses and organizations that financially supported the fun run will be recognized on the back of the event shirt.
Meadowlark House serves Ford, Clark, Meade, Edwards, Gray and Kiowa counties.