Celebrity Walk/Breakfast at Children’s Treatment Center is scheduled for October 28th

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Organizers of the children’s treatment center Celebrity Walk and Breakfast will stick to the same format later next month – a drive-thru event taking place at the Best Western Parkway Inn in Cornwall.

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But there’s something they’d like to see: more people getting involved as demand for the center’s services increases.

“We are appealing with the goal of having more attendees and team leaders to help (stay strong) this event,” said Co-Chair Wendy Grant, a key organizer along with Co-Chair Milton Ellis and Honorary Chair Sean Adams. “The need for the Center’s services is greater than ever. Therefore, new team leaders and contributors are being sought.”

It’s a call to the whole Cornwall, SDG and Akwesasne community to re-engage with the 28th October event as they have done over the years. Anyone interested in participating in this fundraiser can join an existing team or start their own team. Team leaders have the task of putting together a team of at least eight participants.

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The Celebrity Walk and Breakfast is nearing a quarter of a century as a massive fundraiser for the center — the first took place 24 years ago in 1998, and for the third year running due to the pandemic, it has had this drive-thru format, making it a challenge to bring in the support and money the event once had. However, it is a critical support that is essential for the center to continue providing services to child abuse victims and their families.

For about 20 years, the fundraiser started with a very early, seated breakfast. Over the years, the event has grown to 600 attendees, who gather at the Civic Complex before dawn to enjoy a complimentary, hearty breakfast and then listen to inspiring and courageous speeches from adult child abuse survivors.

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In the early years, participants would gather in Lamoureux Park for speeches and check presentations, followed by a short stroll through the park. Today, with many participants commuting to work, the walk is optional.

The event was initiated by the standard freeholder, founder and main sponsor. The concept was that committee members, also known as team leaders, would assemble a team of participants who would pledge at least $100 each. To honor their generosity, the contestants were dubbed “celebrities” and their photos were featured in a campaign that ran for several weeks in this newspaper.

Four years later, in 2003, Desjardins came on board and became the main sponsor of the event.

The center has been providing counseling services to children who have experienced sexual and/or physical abuse and their families since June 1996. In addition to the initial core program for children who have been victims of sexual or physical abuse, the center also offers two additional programs, one for youth who have committed sexual offenses against children and another for children ages 5 to 11 who are sexually assaulted are reactive or sexually aggressive.

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Since the opening of the CTC, 2,956 children from 2,554 families have visited the center.

And with the exception of a very brief period at the beginning of the pandemic, the center’s clinical staff has continued to provide face-to-face counseling for 26 years.

But since the outbreak of the pandemic, the need for the center’s services has increased. As a result, services in Cornwall have expanded and the center has recently significantly expanded its presence in the region, opening an office in Alexandria to improve access to its services for children and their families living in Glengarry County.

The center is a community-based, community-supported facility governed by a volunteer board of directors. It is a unique agency funded entirely by the community it serves and receives no government funding. As such, she is able to direct the majority of her resources to those who need them most – the children.

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