On the brisk spring morning of April 20, in the Westgate Hills neighborhood, Congressman Patrick Meehan tied a cape around his neck, smiled and cheered, “On your mark, get set, go!” and children of all ages dressed as superheroes started to run in Child Guidance Resource Centers’ inaugural Empower the Children 5k Run/Walk and 1 Mile Fun Run. As Congressman Meehan said, “[The 5k] is a wonderful opportunity to be part of a program that supports research and treatment for families dealing with autism.
The event raised scholarship funds so that children with autism and emotional support needs can attend Child Guidance’s Therapeutic Summer Camp programs. This year, as a result of continued and increasing pressure from the state to reduce or eliminate funding of certain mental health services, the number of hours that are covered by insurance for camps like those at Child Guidance has been reduced. While Child Guidance considers a full-6 hour program, which was previously covered by insurance, to be the most therapeutically appropriate, children are now only covered for three hours. Child Guidance knows how much of a difference the six hours make for campers and is dedicated to providing the full summer camp experience regardless of campers’ individual ability to pay.
CEO and president of Child Guidance Resource Centers Brad Barry says, “In light of incidents such as the tragic bombings in Boston, it becomes increasingly clear how necessary mental health services and early intervention are in our country. Child Guidance is dedicated to providing effective programs for children with various behavioral health needs which allow them to develop necessary skills to socially engage with peers in their schools, neighborhoods, and community recreation programs. Children who are unable to successfully engage with their peers on a social level frequently become the targets of bullies and lose out on important developmental experiences. As a consequence, as they mature, they may be hampered in their ability to be effective functioning adults. As mental health professionals, we are dedicated to providing therapeutically effective programs in spite of budget decisions for the children, families and the communities that we serve.”
The Boston Marathon tragedy was fresh on the minds of the runners and all those involved. Before the race began, Congressman Meehan led the crowd in a moment of silence “to think about those that aren’t able to run this morning because of the tragic events.” Yet spirits were high when the race began and participants ran and walked amidst cheers from friends and families. Through the generous support of fundraisers, the Empower the Children 5k raised over $7,681 for children to go to camp.
Check out some photos from the event below! To see more, visit our Facebook page!
A young runner races to the finish.
Above, CEO and President Brad Barry awards a 5k race winner with her trophy!
Congressman Patrick Meehan poses with superheroes before the 1 Mile Fun Run.