24th Annual Duck Race for the Center for Prevention of Abuse Will be on August 26th
By Daniela Vidal
About 20,000 rubber ducks will soon take over the Illinois River late this August. For the 24th year, the Center for Prevention of Abuse is hosting the Duck Race, its largest fundraiser, with hopes it will help open doors and change lives for abuse victims throughout Central Illinois.
In a time where federal and state cuts are the norm, the Center is looking to expand its programs to cope with the increasing demands for its services. Approximately 5,000 men, women, and children seek hope, reassurance, and new beginnings from the Center. The Center also looks to prevent abuse with its Prevention Education program. The program teaches children from pre-K to college age about self-respect, boundaries, and building positive relationships. It is a quickly expanding department yet the least funded.
Carla Payne, Director of Development at the Center, hopes this can be a breakthrough year. “This year, 25,000 ducks is a possibility,” Payne says. It costs five dollars to enter a duck into the race. ‘But all it takes is one duck to change lives,” Payne notes.
The profit made from each duck goes directly to the services provided by the Center for Prevention of Abuse. Because of generous company sponsors, the monies made from duck sales are directed back to the Center where they “[the monies] are used wisely.” Not only do these company sponsors keep costs low, but they also have Duck Sale Days. Businesses with different branches throughout the tri-county area engage in friendly competition to see who can sell the most ducks. Every duck sold is a little piece of hope.
On the second floor of the Center for Prevention of Abuse in Peoria, hangs a board of inspiring “writing on the wall.” Victims of abuse give each other encouragement and hope for the future. “It is the hopes and dreams we have that make us great,” reads a small message.
Though the Center is raising money to help others cope with traumatic events, the Duck Race is a family-oriented event with prizes appealing to men and women and boys and girls of all ages. The grand prize for the first duck to be sucked in at the finish line is five thousand dollars. There is a LG 60″ HDTV, as well as numerous gift cards, ranging from one hundred dollars to one thousand dollars.
The fun isn’t kept to Central Illinois. Duck Races take place all over the country. The ducks are re-used as the race travels from state to state. Volunteers work in assembly line fashion removing the stickers from the previous race and placing the new stickers on the registered rubber duckies. Ducks are sold online, at stores on specific days, and on race day at the Riverfront, as well.
The preparation for the race begins on the Thursday before the race. Volunteers place stickers on the ducks, all 20,000, and then place them into large bins. A pizza party is held afterward as a reward for the hard work of the volunteers.
The fun begins at noon on Sunday, August 26. Kids can take advantage of the games, and body art. For the adults – and kids – food will be available, along with music. At 3:00 p.m., after the bins have been unloaded and the ducks corralled, the ducks float furiously to the finish line.
The Center is looking to attract more people to the race.
“The community is very supportive of what we do,” Payne commented. But, “it’s scary with cuts. Where would these people go? I don’t know where they’d go,” Payne genuinely worries.
The Center for Prevention of Abuse has locations in Tazewell, Woodford, and Peoria counties. On Joan Court and Sheridan resides the shelter and transitional housing for women, and mothers looking to secure their independence.
Victims aren’t the only ones receiving counseling. For abusers, there is a 26-week program which teaches respect and positivity in relationships. Children are given the educational tools at the center to build safe and nurturing relationships with others. Sometimes it is the children who are most affected by the abuse suffered because “it is difficult for them to express what has happened,” as Payne notes. While there is coping for victims, they also begin to enjoy life as they begin to recover.
In a time where funds are running low but abuse isn’t, every little yellow duck floating down the river gives second chances at a safer life for women, men, and children who suffer domestic violence, sexual assault and a more caring environment for those suffering from elder abuse. The Peoria Riverfront will be floating with ducks, hope, enjoyment, music, and aromas of food vendors. The time has come for rubber ducks to begin opening doors and changing lives.
Here is a list of places on can go to purchase their duck:
August 3 - Associated Bank - Chillicothe 12:30 – 4:30 p.m.
August 3 - Peoria Heights Music Festival 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
August 4 - Walmart / Washington 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
August 4 - Peoria Heights Music Festival 12:00 – 9:00 p.m.
August 5 - Walmart / East Peoria 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
August 10 – Associated Bank / Knoxville Ave. 2:00 – 6:00 p.m.
August 11 – Walmart / University 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
August 11- Associated Bank / Brandywine 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
August 12 – Walmart / Allen Road 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
August 17 – Associated Bank / Jefferson St 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
August 17 – Associated Bank / East Peoria 2:00 – 6:00 p.m.
August 18 – Schnucks 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
August 18 – Walmart / Morton 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
August 18 – Associated Bank / Pekin 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
August 19 – Lindy’s Market / Washington 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
August 24 – Associated Bank / Pioneer Park 2:00 – 6:00 p.m.
August 24 – Erin Feis / Peoria Riverfront 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
August 25 – Sam’s Club 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
August 25 - Erin Feis 12:00 – 8:00 p.m.