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The 1,000 Mile Journey

Local Walk Director Shirley Darsidan is working to end child abuse through a community walk this June.

The Rainbird Foundation is organizing “The 1,000 Mile Journey,” a walk to end child abuse.

The foundation was born out of Founder Hanna Roth’s own experience with child abuse. It works to build a global conversation for the end of child abuse.

“The 1,000 Mile Journey” is The Rainbird Foundation’s first walk outside of Wisconsin. The goal of the walk is to get 1,000 walkers to each walk one mile. More information on the foundation can be found at www.rainbirdfoundation.org.

“We’re hoping that people from across the state and other states will come and join us to be a part of this to take a stand for children to end child abuse,” Darsidan said.

 Darsidan attended the Clinton County Board of Supervisors meeting last week to discuss the walk, which will be held on June 10. Darsidan became involved with the topic of child abuse and neglect through an experience with her own grandchild. She is a court-appointed special advocate to represent children in the system and runs a grandparent support group.

“To know what happens to children, personally and from what I read, it’s horrendous and it happens right here in our own community. And it would sicken all of you if you knew the stories that I’ve read,” Darsidan said.

Darsidan told the board that many children who have been abused or neglected suffer major problems as result of the “horrific abuse that is done to them.” She added that sadly this abuse comes from the children’s own parents.

“When the formative years are the early-most important years, I believe that we all must and need to take a stand for all children in our community,” Darsidan said.

Darsidan is organizing the June 10 walk in Clinton and asked the board for permission to use the Clinton County Courthouse lawn for part of the event. Set up would be at 9 a.m. with check in at 10 a.m. Some opening activities, including activities geared for children, and an opening ceremony will be held at the courthouse. The walk would begin at 1 p.m., circling the courthouse and moving to Riverview Drive and ending at the bandshell. Informational booths and family activities will be held there.

Darsidan felt it would be great to start the event at the courthouse. She said that the Rainbird Foundation asks that the event is held around a government building, “where the important decisions of children and families are made.”

The board approved Darsidan’s request to use the courthouse lawn. She felt this day will be a great opportunity for people to come together, learn how to make a difference, raise money for a worthy cause and have fun.

“This could be a beginning of something that maybe could make some changes as we move across our communities and state for the end of child abuse,” Darsidan said.

Information on the walk can be found at 1000milejourney.org or by calling (563) 613-2850.