XENIA — Motorcyclists will have the opportunity to participate in the first Fire House Poker Run to benefit the “Shoe Barn Project,” a fundraising effort to provide new shoes for children who come through the Greene County Children Services or The Family Violence Prevention Center.
The benefit begins with registration 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 19, for $15 per bike at Buckminn’s D and D Harley Davidson, 1213 Cincinnati Ave.
With kickstands up at noon from Buckminn’s, participants will ride from one fire house to the next, enjoying the unique look and atmosphere of each and actually driving through several of them as if they were covered bridges. After a long, scenic tour along the Greene County countryside, including Cedarville, New Jasper, Silvercreek, Jefferson, Xenia and Spring Valley township fire departments, the ride will conclude at Willie’s Bar in the Xenia Towne Square with an after party featuring raffles and entertainment by the Just-N-Time band. Willie’s will be donating 10 percent of sales to the fundraiser.
The Fire House Poker Run is an event organized by First Responders And Bikers Advocating Against Abuse (FRABAAA). According the FRABAAA’s mission statement, the group is, “committed to empowering, educating, advocating, as well as facilitating victims of abuse and violence to become survivor, one HERO at a time.”
Shella Baker is the organizer of FRABAAA.
“After helping kids and families who lived in The Family Violence Prevention Center of Greene County (FVPC) what we noticed each year was that, even above toys, children were asking for shoes,” she said. “This really struck me as such a basic need. It was surprising that a lot of children would even think about asking for shoes at Christmas.”
During child abuse awareness month in April, FRABAAA had a shoe drive with local hospitals and fire departments.
“We collected shoes to start what has become known as the Shoe Barn Project to benefit the kids housed at the center,” Baker said.
Supporting the FVPC is a personal mission for Baker, a nurse and paramedic who sees first-hand, the devastating toll domestic violence can take on a family. But Baker’s actions are driven from a much more personal experience — as a survivor of domestic violence. Twenty-five years ago, she and her son took refuge at the FVPC to escape an abuser and now she wants to give back. Today, she has joined with fellow first responders to advocate for victims and promote awareness and prevention. The poker run will help support that cause.
The FVPC began in 1979 as a project of the Greene County Welfare Department known as the Greene County Domestic Violence Project. It started out as a simple, two-bedroom apartment in Yellow Springs, but the agency has evolved to provide support and education through services such as a 24-hour crisis hotline and safe housing as well as prevention and outreach programs.
Today the agency is located at 380 Bellbrook Avenue in Xenia and is certified by the Council on Accreditation. It was also recently renamed, The Kathryn K. Hagler Family Violence Prevention Center, to honor the late Greene County leader’s service in advocacy of families and children.
For more information about the poker run, visit the group website at www.frabaaa.com or call Baker at 937-789-7262. If you are in immediate need of help in a domestic violence situation, call the center’s crisis line at 937-372-4552 or 937-426-2334.