The second annual Harbin Clinic Pediatrics Torch Relay 4 Kids at Darlington’s Chris Hunter Stadium benefited Harbor House, the Rome-based child advocacy center.
“Our state network came up with this idea a couple of years ago and asked that every center like ours around Georgia do some kind of relay for kids,” said Harbor House Director Gail Garland. “We were the only center in the state to get excited about it, and it’s because we knew we had great high schools who would be a part of it.”
Garland’s goal was to raise $4,000.
Each of the schools ran a half-mile at a time, in alphabetical order, until representatives from each of the schools had completed a total of two miles. Precious Knight, a runner from Rome High, said it was a lot of fun.
“It shows the community kids our age do care about things like this,” Knight said.
Dr. Todd Kelley, a pediatrician with Harbin Clinic, ran along with the teens. He said the emotional trauma associated with child abuse could have an impact for many years.
“The psychological impact is going to be much more of a problem, and that’s where the Harbor House helps with proper follow-up,” said Kelley, “That could involve a psychologist or a social worker or whatever the child needs. It can go on for weeks, or months and sometimes years, depending on the extent of the situation.”
Matt Towe, a runner from Coosa High, and Kylee Daitz from Armuchee said they felt it was important to help Harbor House do its work.
The chance to take positive action also resonated with Laura Graben from Model High.
“It’s good to be involved in the community and reach out to help others,” she said. “It’s a good message for other teenagers and for our school.”
Students from Darlington, Unity Christian and Pepperell also participated.