THE PERENNIAL Christmas favorite "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" isn’t a favorite to all.
For some kids, it hits a little closer to home.
The Rape Crisis Center of the Coastal Empire’s ninth annual Reindeer Run seeks to raise awareness of bullying through Rudolph’s example.
“Rudolph was bullied, and I think that back then a lot of people didn’t consider that to be bullying,” says Doris Williams, executive director of the Rape Crisis Center. “The more we learn, the more we understand there are so many different ways of bullying. I always say, everyone on the playground grows up.”
Take a stand with Rudolph and reclaim the reindeer games with the Reindeer Run. The favorite holiday event kicks off with the kiddie run at 8:45 a.m., followed by the 8k at 9 a.m.
Runners can participate in a costume contest as their favorite holiday characters to win gift cards. There’s a cookie contest, a kid zone, great food, and a visit from Santa.
This year’s celebrity runners are Jodie Luther, Ashley Borders, Stacey Young, Ciara Lucas, Det. Sean Organ, Linda Wilder-Bryan, Tawana Garrett, and Sgt. Tiffany Manuel. Three junior celebrity runners—Dekevian George and Milan and Maxum Iezzi—join in the fun.
Proceeds from the run go towards the Prevention Education programs at the Rape Crisis Center.
“Our kids are very important. They mean a lot to this agency,” says Williams. “Sometimes people don’t put the two together, the advocacy piece and the prevention piece. For our run, that’s what our main focus is. That is to raise funds so when we do get cuts, we’re able to supplement that and still be able to provide all our services for free.”
Williams stresses that she wants parents to know the Rape Crisis Center’s services are available.
“One of the big things we want everyone to be aware of is that we’re here,” she says.
“We are willing to offer classes free of charge. We will come to your school if you invite us. If parents aren’t aware of our services being offered at their school, they can call the counselor and request that we come, and we’ll come. All we need is the invitation. Not only do we want to make sure that the children being bullied are properly heard and taken care of, but the ones who are bullying need to be taken care of as well.”
The Rape Crisis Center is always trying to enhance their programming.
“The classes deal with different age groups, so our curriculum is geared towards that age group,” says Williams. “They usually do a pretest and a posttest so we can tweak our presentation so the kids get something out of it. We’re always looking at ourselves to make sure the class fits the age group.”
This year, the Rape Crisis Center has partnered with the Humane Society of Greater Savannah to offer onsite pet adoptions.
“It’s one of our fun, family-friendly, pet-friendly, community awareness pieces wrapped into a fundraiser,” Williams says. “This is very exciting for us.”