Duck race funds PACES

Staff reports

When one buys a duck for the Center for the Prevention of Abuse annual Duck Race fundraiser it helps fund the PACES program, which is working to make a difference in the lives of youth.

Patti Morris, director of children’s and prevention services at the Center for the Prevention of Abuse, said the PACES Program — which stands for Peoria Area Community Educational Services — is a collaborative effort with District 150, and about 10 other local social service agencies.

“We all bring a variety of services including a mental health and drug education component to selected schools,” Morris said.

“It is a pilot program.”

The Center for the Prevention of Abuse offers programs for youth that work to foster positive attitudes and positive relationships.

The program is offered to students in schools that feed into Manual High School and Manual students.

“We provide healthy relationship training, like bullying prevention,” Morris said.

“We also provide training in Second Step, an early grade program on positive behavior like empathy and anger management. We hope this will prevent bullying.”

The Center for Prevention of Abuse is hoping for an increase in duck sales for the 20th Annual Duck Race because one lucky person will win a new gas-efficient vehicle.

The grand prize winner of this year’s Duck Race will win a 2008 Chevy Cobalt courtesy of Jim McComb Chevrolet.

“We thought it was timely to go with the gas prices crisis everyone has been dealing with, and the Cobalt is supposed to be good on gas, too,” said Emily Cahill, marketing director for the Center for Prevention of Abuse.

There are more than 30 top prizes to win at the Duck Race, including: a 50-inch plasma HDTV with surround sound, a Las Vegas vacation, overnight getaways to area hotels and restaurants, season tickets for local theaters and free movie rentals and pizza for a year.

This year’s Duck Race will be Sunday at the Peoria Riverfront in front of Old Chicago.

The goal for this year’s race is to sell 15,000 ducks.

The organization is facing state and federal budget cuts upwards of $200,000, so the more ducks sold, the better the long-term financial outlook for 2009.

“A successful Duck Race will help us close the gap and provide services for the next 365 days without worry,” Cahill said.

The Center for Prevention of Abuse is the only agency in the state of Illinois to provide combined services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault/abuse and elder abuse.

The Center takes in about 15 new clients each day, including more than 4,000 women, men and children affected by violence and more than 15,000 at-risk students each year.

“Those are serious issues which are tough to talk about, but the ducks are a non-threatening way to confront it and help bring awareness,” Cahill said.

Cahill added many people will reach out to the center’s staff at events like the Duck Race to talk about their own situations with violence.

“I think they feel more comfortable there and people aren’t staring at them or judging them,” she said.

There are still plenty of ducks to be adopted and the Center for Prevention of Abuse is making sure you have several ways to get in on the fun and the chance to win prizes.

There will also be a duck adoption booth featured at Erin Feis this weekend.

To learn more about the prizes available, or a chance to adopt a duck electronically, visit www.duckrace.com/peoria.