5K run to raise awareness

Gannon University’s Student Pennsylvania State Education Association (SPSEA) group will be participating in the “Be a Hero” 5K run at 8 a.m. April 13 at Presque Isle State Park.

Nancy Morris, instructor in the education program and SPSEA adviser, said the “Be a Hero” event comes from the mantra that all children need people in their lives to be their hero.

The race fee is $20 and registration ends by 11:59 p.m. April 11.  People can sign up by visiting the Erie County Child Abuse Task Force Facebook page and go to the “Events” section or going directly to runsignup.com/Race/Pa/Erie/BeaHeroRun.

The money raised from the race will mostly go toward the cost and expenses of the race and items that the participants will receive – medals and ribbons, Morris said.

Members of Gannon’s SPSEA organization are supporting the race by volunteering and raising money for the event, Rachel Evans, a sophomore early childhood and special education major, said.

Evans said she wanted to get involved because it is something that she feels strongly about and she wants to be a hero for kids.

“As a member of the SPSEA organization and my role as a future educator of the world, it is our duty to fight for our students and give them the role model that they need,” Evans, chairperson of the “Be a Hero” race, said.

The organizations in the Erie County Child Abuse Task Force are all social service organizations with similar missions to focus on some aspect of protection of children, prevention of child abuse and neglect and education of the community on how to prevent child abuse, Morris said.

“In a sense, we all try to be heroes for children when they are faced with difficult situations in their lives,” Morris, co-chair for the “Be A Hero” race, said.

SPSEA’s focus is to participate in events that will allow the group to raise awareness as well as educate the community on child abuse and better serve its needs, Morris said.

“As teachers, we are bound to be mandated reporters of child abuse since we work with children on a daily basis,” Morris said.

“We are one of the direct people in our students’ lives who have a responsibility to help, support and report on it if we ever suspected that they were experiencing any form of abuse and neglect.”

Participants are encouraged to dress up as their favorite hero – T-shirt or costume – to resemble being a child’s hero.

Morris encourages Gannon students and staff to get involved because it is a topic that many will encounter within their chosen profession.

“Besides teachers, counselors, nurses, therapists, psychologists, law enforcement and criminal justice majors, all will be involved sometime with a situation regarding abuse,” Morris said.

“It is unfortunate, but we should come together as a community of informed and concerned individuals and show that we are all heroes to children.”


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