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Rockwall schools, businesses, health care, law enforcement co-sponsoring Race to End Abuse 5K/Fitness Walk

Race To End Abuse cover shot

By J.J. Smith. Family violence, child abuse and dating abuse numbers have all skyrocketed dramatically over the past few years across Rockwall County and Texas.  

Now Heritage Christian Academy, Walmart, Rockwall ISD, Rockwall County DA Kenda Culpepper plus over a dozen more businesses, media, health care and law enforcement organizations are teaming up to raise awareness and funds for local campaigns to end abuse by co-sponsoring the first annual Lillian Smith Rockwall “Race To End Abuse” 5K/Family Fitness Walk.

The event is scheduled Oct. 31, 8-10 am, in the Kroger Food Store parking lot. Over 500 participants are expected. Runners will race 3.1 miles from Kroger to Country Club Dr. and then back to Kroger. Walkers will walk or jog one mile to Fox Chase Park and back.

Additional co-sponsors include Pepsi/Aquafina, Presbyterian Hospital of Rockwall, the Dallas Morning News Neighbors Go, TheRockwallNews.com, PegasusNews.com, Rockwall Enterprise-Success, Radio stations 93.5 FM “The Range” and 92.1 FM “The Possum,” Eclipse Fitness, Rockwall Running Center, Lady of America Fitness Clubs, Joe Willy’s and Taco Casa.

More co-sponsors can still participate with cash and/or in-kind donations of between $500 and $3,000. In return, co-sponsors receive a booth at the event, plus lots of positive publicity in current and future campaigns.

Organized by the Rockwall-based Lillian Smith Family Violence Foundation, the non-profit will use funds raised for ad campaigns and video productions in local media, schools and communities to help end domestic, dating, child and family pet abuse. It is Texas’ largest network of survivors and other concerned citizens, founded and directed by Rockwall resident and marketing consultant J.J. Smith, who has worked with such leading brands as Chevrolet, CBS Radio , Exxon, Macy’s, Southwest Airlines, The Dallas Cowboys and Time Warner Cable TV during his 30-year advertising and public relations career.

He recently launched Rockwall County’s leading online news website at www.TheRockwallNews.com, plus his personal blog at www.RockwallRocks.com, which combined currently attract over 10,000 visitors per month and are growing fast.

Smith said that domestic, dating and child abuse are now so widespread that utilizing the power and reach of media – especially the Internet – is essential to reducing and preventing abuse. 

“The number of confirmed child abuse victims rocketed 79 percent across Rockwall County since 2005, according to CPS data,” he said. ‘The number has almost doubled during the past two years ago from an annual average of 45 to nearly 90.” 

“Family violence has soared 61 percent in Rockwall alone since 2004, according to Rockwall Police,” he added.  “The numbers have jumped from over 150 reports to 250 each year. But since national experts believe that only about 25 percent of assaults are actually reported, the numbers are most likely four times higher.”

“We also understand an average of five local women per day meet with domestic violence counselors from the Greenville-based Women In Need women’s shelter. Rockwall County needs to financially support WIN, for the good of the community. “

Smith emphasized that dating violence is now so out of control in Texas that the State legislature passed a law in 2007 requiring all public school districts to develop anti-dating abuse programs.

“Three in four young Texans, 16-24, have either experienced dating abuse or know someone who has, according to a 2006 study conducted with the Texas Attorney General’s office,” he explained. “That’s much higher than the national average of one in three teens and young adults, so we definitely have a very serious epidemic on our hands.”

“We’ve been assisting Rockwall ISD for several months and will soon begin helping Heritage Christian Academy to develop excellent programs. Then we’ll look for other school districts and private schools which want our help.”  

Lillian Smith anti-abuse campaign ads, news articles and Internet videos will soon begin appearing in local newspapers, billboards, movie theaters and on local websites featuring a variety of prevention -oriented messages which Smith, other marketing professionals and abuse survivors from across DFW are developing.

Adults, seniors, children and families who want to race or walk can obtain information and registration details online at www.racetoendabuse.com or by calling 214-256-4071, seven days a week,from 8am-10 pm.

More sponsors and volunteers are currently needed and should also contact Smith by visiting the same website or calling the same phone number as above.

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