(Little Rock, KATV) — The Children's Protection Center of Pulaski County hosted its annual River Cities Dragon Boat races to benefit youth affected by child abuse.
The Children's Protection Center works to provide resources to prevent child abuse and held youth and families who have experienced it... The races directly benefit their cause.
Each year thousands from near and far make their way to Lake Willastein in Maumelle to support teams paddling to the finish line in the name of child protection.
"I think it's just super important and once you come out here once and hear what this organization does and what it means to the community, it's really hard to not just keep coming back every year and being involved and coming out here and having a lot of fun with everybody," Forvis Manager, Beth Jones said.
Over 40 teams signed up to take on the dragon boating challenge including one organization who has supported from the start... 10 years in the making.
"We've been doing it for ten years and we will probably keep doing it for as long as they have it. It's so important just to give back to the kids that need help that can't advocate for themselves so it's super important that we have organizations like this one making sure that they can give back and that the children can get the help that they need," Jones said.
Looking to top last year's over $150,000 raised, proceeds will be put toward the growth of the organization. This year's will help fund a new facility for the Pulaski County community.
Children's Protection Center's Executive Director Jennifer Long shared the organization's mission.
“Children’s protection center revolves around a team approach to child abuse. We want to make sure everyone in the community is responding to child abuse. It’s every single person's responsibility in our community to keep kids safe and at Dragon Boat, everything is about teamwork. It’s about synchronicity and it’s also about knowing win or lose we are all in this together," Long said.
CPC shared that the best part is seeing the community help support the cause they fight for every day.
"So we are able to really educate people about an important topic in our community... An important serious situation in our community but still for folks to come out and know that they can make a difference in it," Long said.
With this year's Dragon Boat races concluded the Children's Protection Center is now looking forward to the 2024 event.