Zombies on the run

Building Families brings awareness to child abuse prevention with event

—Submitted photo Zombie volunteers from the 2016 Parent Connection Zombie Run to Prevent Child Abuse are pictured above. The fourth annual event is tomorrow at the Eagle Grove Golf Course, beginning at 4:30 p.m.

EAGLE GROVE — There is still time to sign up for the fourth annual Parent Connection Zombie Run to Prevent Child Abuse. The event will take place on Saturday at the Eagle Grove Golf Course. The 5K Run/Walk begins at 4:30 p.m. The Twilight Run begins at 5:30 p.m. Cost to participate in the event is $30. Individuals can run both courses for the $30 fee. Those who do not wish to run can also donate to the cause.

This event began thanks to members of the Building Families non-profit. All funds will go towards preventing child abuse in Hamilton, Humboldt and Wright counties.

As all of their programs are free, they were looking for a unique fundraiser to keep the cost of programming down.

“We wanted to keep programs free and also raise awareness about child abuse prevention and that these services are available,” said Angela Wesselink, Parent Coordinator for the Parent Connection Program.

Building Families provides families and children with free workshops, materials and in-home visits to encourage positive parenting. Building Families serves Hamilton, Humboldt and Wright counties. Wesselink teaches in-home and group-based parenting classes. She also faciliates a Prevent Child Abuse Iowa Council. This council examines the needs of all three counties and works to lower child abuse rates in the region. Workshops and classes are all voluntary.

“The in-home and group-based classes are all strength based classes,” Wesselink said. “The classes are to help make families happy and healthy and every child can grow up loved.”

“I’ve learned something every single time I teach a class that helps me to be a better mom,” she said. “Every one of our programs is evidence-based. It’s factual.”

Wesselink encourages individuals in the surrounding communities to come out for the annual event.

“This has been a successful event every year. One hundred percent of the proceeds goes to preventing child abuse directly in Hamilton, Humboldt and Wright County,” said Wesselink.

Runners with lives in tact at the end of the trail will earn a medal. According to Wesselink, zombies are still needed. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Wesselink. Zombies will have to be at the event at 3 p.m. for zombie training.

To register, visit www.zombierunHHW.com, the Parent Connection HHW Facebook page, Building Families Facebook page, or contact Wesselink at (515) 293-0652 or email awesselink@co.wright.ia.us.

“This has been a successful event every year. One hundred percent of the proceeds goes to preventing child abuse directly in Hamilton, Humboldt and Wright County,” said Wesselink.

“There has been a focus, specifically on reducing childhood sexual abuse, which is very high in these three counties,” Wesselink said.

Of the 99 Iowa counties, Wright County is ranked number two, Hamilton County is ranked number 14 and Humboldt County is ranked number 17 for childhood sexual abuse. According to Wesselink, one in five girls and one in ten boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday in these three counties.

“Every child deserves an opportunity to grow up happy, healthy and in a loving environment,” said Wesselink. “It is so much cheaper to raise a healthy child than it is to fix a broken adult.”

Families interested in one-on-one classes can contact Wesselink. All workshops and classes are confidential.

“I feel like every parent wants to be the best parent they can be,” Wesselink said.

“It is so important to support this cause,” said Wesselink. “This event is a great place for the whole family to have fun.”

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