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Healing with Family at the Walk for Change

A group at a recent Walk for Change poses for a photo holding signs

More than 10 years ago, Anne Reed came to BARCC looking for help. Today, she and her family are regulars at the annual Walk for Change: lining up at the food trucks, running around at the after party, and walking the 2.6-mile loop with pride alongside survivors and supporters alike.

“BARCC stood by me and my family, providing services for us all to find the healing and information that we so desperately needed,” said Anne. “We learned about the Walk for Change through our counselors, and it gave us a chance to come together as a family and to face what we were going through.”

Anne was so nervous before her first walk that she was shaking. She worried about feeling out of place, and what being at the walk would mean for her. But as soon as she got there, she was greeted by friendly faces at the registration table, dozens of happy dogs, and inspiring messages from survivors through the Clothesline Project.

“I cried a lot that first walk. Letting out so many emotions I had held inside. And I walked the route knowing I was exactly where I was supposed to be in my healing,” Anne said. “I still remember a sign I read that first walk, ‘Leaving behind nights of terror and fear, I rise. Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear, I rise. —Maya Angelou.’ This walk helps me to continually recognize that as fearful and terrifying as some things have been in my life, I am walking into a new day that is wondrous and clear.”

For many survivors, not being believed is a major hurdle in their healing. At the 2017 Walk for Change, Anne held her son in her arms and listened to the rally speaker say that they believed her. Anne’s mother, father, siblings, and friends stood by her and told her that they believed her too. Nearly 2,000 strangers stood around her and nodded at the speaker’s words: we believe you.

Anyone can support survivors just by showing up to the Walk for Change, and amplify that support by bringing their families! We have tips for talking to your kids about why you’re walking and many kid-friendly activities like face painting, lawn games, music, sign making, bubbles, temporary tattoos, button making, and more! Families also love to see the parade of dogs that come to the Walk for Change.

This year, Anne and her family are looking forward to hearing more inspiring words, enjoying delicious snacks from the food trucks and vendors, and the toddler tumbling games that Anne’s son loves.

“This walk provides a safe space for friends and family to learn about what BARCC is doing in the lives of survivors and learn about all their amazing programs in action,” said Anne. “Thank you for providing an event where people can easily show up to stand by anyone dealing with rape and sexual assault. It is healing to see the amount of people who show up with smiles on their faces year after year after year.”

Register today to join Anne and her family at the Walk for Change on April 22!

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Posted by Taylor Rapalyea

Taylor Rapalyea
Taylor Rapalyea serves as BARCC's marketing and communications coordinator. She helps implement communications plans, creates content, and provides support for organizational communications, all to further public knowledge of BARCC's mission and services. Taylor brings four years of local news reporting and editing to BARCC, and has worked at Patch News, the Salem News, and the Gloucester Daily Times. She learned video reporting and editing at the Boston Herald, and served as editor of the Simmons Voice while studying journalism and public relations at Simmons College.

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