Everyday Heroes Race Brings People Together Against Human Trafficking
(Mary Dupuis, June 28, 2022)
Rochester Hills, MI – The annual Everyday Heroes Race 2 Rescue Fundraiser recently took place at Bloomer Park in Rochester Hills.
On June 25 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. runners were able to participate in a 5k or 10k run in support of the rescue and rehabilitation of victims of child trafficking.
The organizer of the race, Laurie, said the race is not only held to raise awareness of child trafficking, but also to fundraise money through ticket sales and donations to support the 501c3 organization Dayspring Ministries International (DMI).
Once the expenses for holding the race are paid off all remaining money is given directly to DMI to help with their mission of rescuing and rehabilitating children from trafficking situations. According to their website, DMI’s Race 2 Rescue Mission works to:
- Be a voice for the voiceless
- Rescue the innocent
- Build and staff safe houses
- Provide medical and psychological care
- Host awareness events
- Communicate through media ways to combat this crime
- Educate and empower teachers, parents and children to prevent child trafficking
Laurie said she decided to organize the race years ago following attending a talk given by a trafficking victim.
“She shared a story so real and heartbreaking and devastating and it moved me to begin to think about how I can do something about this,” Laurie said. “An attorney that came said, ‘Don’t walk away from this event and just leave it. Don’t walk away without doing something.’ So I talked to my colleague and he was also very passionate about trafficking so we put our heads together.”
Dana Dickerson, a participant in the 10k race, said it was her first time attending the run and that she enjoyed the atmosphere. She said there were speakers who gave powerful speeches about their own experiences with trafficking affecting their loved ones and their recovery processes.
Dickerson said following the race there was a DJ and refreshments alongside a self-defense class and information booths.
She said something that stood out to her was the mural runners were encouraged to participate in creating.
“There were a lot of people that you could tell they come back every year,” Dickerson said. “They had this really cool mural where you dip your hand in paint and then you touch the mural and every year when people go they dip their hand in the paint and put it on the mural.”
Dickerson said the thing that drew her towards the race was the power of the cause.
“There’s a lot of things going on in my neighborhood in Macomb that you hear about daily, you know, with kids being trafficked,” Dickerson said. “They’re getting people then they’re right in your neighborhood and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, that house over there had that going on?’ I have a daughter who you worry about too. I thought this organization seemed to have a pretty good sense of community.”
Laurie said it’s this sense of community that she hopes becomes a driving force behind the cause.
“What we envision is locking arms with local businesses to become like a tsunami washing over the state of Michigan to combat child trafficking,” Dickerson said. “We want to provide information for parents that helps them to recognize that they need to protect their children from human trafficking and online predators.”
She said she hopes that the high energy of the event meshes with the intensity of the cause and that its message spreads across the communities involved.
“For every person that comes to the event it’s like dropping a pebble into water and seeing the ripple that comes out,” Laurie said. “It’s my hope that when people leave they become that pebble that’s dropped in the water and they radiate out with people they know and spread the message of education because that’s the key to keeping children safe.”
Laurie said one of the most important things to do in any situation where one suspects there may be child trafficking taking place or they are in danger themselves is to call 911 or the trafficking hotline: National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) 1-888-373-7888.