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Why we ride for missing children: a first-time rider's perspective

By KIM SCOFIELD

An account from WKTV Director Kimberly Scofield, on her first-time participation in The Ride for Missing Children.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children serves as the nation's resource on the issues of missing and sexually exploited children by providing information to law enforcement, parents, children and other professionals.

The ride is the Center's primary fundraiser.

As a first year rider, I have learned that the ride is more than just a bike ride; it is a mission.

"Everything we do in the Ride for Missing Children is towards that mission," said Ride Chairman Frank Williams. "We make children safer by going out into the community, raising awareness and doing educational programs. We also do posters of missing children trying to get them home. We are very proud that of the 7,167 missing children for whom we've helped search, 5,122 of those children are now listed as successfully recovered. That's why I ride."

Each rider was asked to raise a minimum of $500. One rider's contribution is equivalent to 2,000 missing children posters.

We have also devoted every weekend over the last two months to training rides. Every training ride was dedicated to a different child that the center has helped or is still trying to bring home safe. During the training rides, we were asked to remember no matter how hard the hill or how bad the weather, some of these children and families endure much worse.

"Training rides are very important to us for safety of the riders, that's our first and foremost consideration there," Williams said. "But even more importantly, what we are trying to build is each rider, each volunteer, is an ambassador in their community, whether it's here in central New York or the people that come from around the country to be part of this event."

We will visit 17 schools along our route to deliver our message of child safety and abduction prevention.

When people see us riding two by two in our jerseys, they will be learning and remembering who we are.

We are not just riding. We are on a mission to make our children safer, one child at a time.

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