GRAFTON—To help bring some fall time fun to the youths of the area, as well as introduce some organizations and businesses to families, Grafton’s Cricket Wireless will be hosting a fall festival.
The fun, family friendly event is slated to take place in the parking lot of Auto Zone, from 10:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., on Saturday, October 30.
“We will have hosting activities for kids throughout the day and will have Little Feet Daycare and Preschool set up, as well as members from Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.) present and various community organizations setting up tables,” said Diane Frye, event organizer. “We will also have food trucks on site, where families can grab a bite to eat.”
According to Frye, Wonder Bubble, T’s Tasty Treats and a barbecue truck will all be offering their delicious foods for purchase, along with vendors setting up to sell their goods.
“We will also be raffling off plenty of baskets, with all proceeds going to B.A.C.A,” Frye reported.
The event will provide a safe place for families to gather for some good, old-fashioned fun. But, the fall festival will also serve as a way for residents to learn about the mission and services of B.A.C.A., serving as a meet-and-greet for the organization.
Bikers Against Child Abuse, a non-profit organization, began in 1995, when John Paul “Chief” Lilly, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Registered Play Therapist/Supervisor, noticed gaps in the system when helping children suffering from abuse and neglect heal.
“One of the main issues he noticed was the child’s safety,” noted North Central WV B.A.C.A. member Sidewalk. “Law enforcement and prosecutors can only do so much when trying to protect a child, and let’s face it, there just aren’t enough officers to keep up with the growing numbers. So, that’s where B.A.C.A. comes in.”
Chief noted that even with the court’s involvement to protect the children, perpetrators were continuing to contact the children causing more damage. He also saw that many children who have undergone abuse did not qualify for therapy funding, again, leaving a gap in their recovery process.
Playing off the stigma surrounding bikers of the being strong, and sometimes intimidating, as well as experiencing the brotherhood amongst bikers and recalling his kind experiences with them, Chief began to rally that specific community to aid children in need.
The first ride to visit wounded children and bring them into the biker family was held in 1995, with just 27 bikers present. Now, B.A.C.A. International, Inc. is present in 48 states and 17 countries, ensuring that abused children feel safe and accepted.
It is B.A.C.A.’s mission to create a safer environment for abused children. The body of bikers pledge to empower children to not feel afraid of the world in which they live.
“There are a lot of organizations out there that will help to feed and provide clothing for abused children, but we focus on empowering them to overcome their negative experience,” voiced B.A.C.A. member Belle. “We work closely with an area’s prosecutors, law enforcement, CASA organization, therapists or any other entity that is involved in the case, to ensure the children feel a sense of safety and empowerment.”
B.A.C.A. members will also escort the children to court proceedings, therapy appointments or act whenever they are called upon by the child.
“We hope that the community will come out to learn more about B.A.C.A. and the wonderful organization that they are,” voiced Frye. “I am excited that for the kids to have something fun to do in the community. It’s going to be a really fun day, one that you don’t want to miss!”