June 24, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Cross Country Tour in LA Sunday, Oct 24

A team of cyclists on a three-month bicycle trek across America are close to the end of their journey to spread the message of preventing one of society’s most devastating crimes, child sexual abuse.

The cross-country trip is raising awareness and donations to benefit Darkness to Light (D2L, www.d2l.org), a nonprofit with a mission to teach adults how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to sexual abuse of children.

The cyclists are Tyler Gilliam, Landon Phillips and Mike Allen. The trio began their trek from Charleston, SC on July 31and will arrive in Los Angeles, CA Sunday, Oct. 24. Los Angeles area supporters will join the riders on the final leg of the trip from Malibu to Santa Monica.

A finish line celebration is scheduled at the Santa Monica beachfront park (Ocean Avenue at Alta Drive, 551 Ocean Ave.) on Sun., Oct. 24 from 2 – 4 pm.

Actress Challen Cates, star of Nickelodeon’s hit comedy “Big Time Rush,†and filmmaker / actor / author Angela Shelton will help lead supporters to welcome the riders at Sunday’s park celebration and share their stories as abuse survivors. The public is encouraged to attend, including survivors of child sexual abuse and all youth serving organizations.

“Our main goal is to raise awareness about the devastating impact of child sexual abuse on victims, families and society,†said Gilliam. “It’s a difficult subject to discuss. But public discussion and education is the only way to fight back and prevent these crimes from occurring. We are committed to opening up that discussion and creating dialogue about prevention all along our trek.â€

Gilliam says that discussion begins with alarming facts. There are an estimated 40 million victims of child sexual abuse in the U.S. It is linked to a host of social issues including teen pregnancy, psychiatric disorders and substance abuse. Statistics show one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before age 18. Additionally, it ranks second to murder as the most expensive victim crime in the U.S., where costs for intervention and treatment surpass $3.4 billion annually.

During the bike trek, the team has been camping out at community fire stations and with D2L affiliate hosts. The team will interact with D2L representatives along the route, including news interviews, community rallies and speaking engagements. D2L has cultivated affiliate representatives in 48 states and 10 foreign countries.

Gilliam said the past three months have been inspirational from the support and enthusiasm the team has received from citizens, community organizations and media along the way.

“We’ve been through the mountains, the heartland and some of the largest cities in America,†said Gilliam. “Each stop along the way, people thank us for spreading the message to prevent child sexual abuse. Some share their own stories as victims or how this crime has impacted a friend or family member. There is a step toward healing in being able to talk about such a difficult subject. But the real impact is found with communities that take action to get training to prevent this from happening.â€

How to Help, Get Involved

The public is encouraged to support the team during its local visit. Donations may be made through the group’s web site www.pedalforprevention.com

Citizens are also encouraged to take the D2L “Stewards of Children†prevention training class. Dates, times and locations of the trainings are available through the local D2L affiliate, or online at www.d2l.org.

Trainings are open to the public and are of specific interest among parents, youth sports organizations / coaches / camp counselors, youth service organizations, teachers / school personnel and faith centers.

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