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New Albany Classic Raises Funds and Awareness

Walker Evans Walker Evans
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The 12th Annual New Albany Classic takes place tomorrow, and offers a day full of family-oriented entertainment. The Classic was started as both a fundraising and awareness-raising event to benefit the Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence. The organization assists women and children in abusive households through various initiatives and community programs.

“The Classic is really a day that is focused on families,” said Abigail Wexner, Founder of the Coalition. “It’s all about what we can do for families and have them come out and have a really great wholesome day.”

Some of the activities include amusement-park type rides, face painting, and musical performers such as Disney artist Mitchel Musso and 2007 American Idol winner Jordin Sparks.

“It all culminates with the Grand Prix riding event,” added Wexner. The Grand Prix is an international equestrian competition that features riders from around the world. “This year we have some of the top American riders as well as representatives from Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Belgium and Canada. The riders absolutely love this event because they really don’t get the opportunity to do it for such a good cause.”

The Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence has been in operation since 1998, but is also in the process of rolling out several new programs this fall.

“One of our new projects is a multimedia project for law enforcement,” said Karen Days, President of the CCAFV. “This project is amazing because it gives officers the ability to view a crime scene scenario from the squad car and know what to expect in advance. It helps them to understand different cultural aspects before they get to the door.”

The multimedia project extends from law enforcement to the judicial system as well. “It’s similar for procecutors”, added Days. “They’re able to use it to psychologically understand witnesses or victims who may not so willing to testify.”

“We had a recent national conference that Karen led that had people from all over the country who were interested in this program”, added Wexner. “The work that Karen’s done over the last 12 years has really become the national model, so we’ve been asked many times if we can export it. We can’t entirely do it, as the local community has to get heavily involved, but we have been broadly sharing our information.”

Anyone interested in getting involved or volunteering with CCAFV can find events and programs listed on the their website. “We’re currently in 11 schools in the Columbus area, and we need volunteers who want to come out and interact with the kids and their parents in the evenings,” said Days.

“The cycle of abuse is something that we really want to break, and if we break it as early as possible that is the key,” stated Days. “One in fifteen kids who grow up in a violent home will be violent as an adult, whereas if you grow up in a healthy home, that stat is closer to one in 400. Prevention is not something that people want to fund a lot because you don’t see instant results, but the only real way to stop abuse is to prevent it.”

The New Albany Classic is an inexpensive and fun way to help support this cause. “We’ve tried to keep the tickets really affordable,” said Wexner. “It’s $15 per adult and children under 13 come for free. You do have to have tickets in advance, so the easiest way to do that would be through our website. I think the event is very unique, there’s nothing else quite like it. It started with around 5,000 people in attendance the first year, and last year we had over 15,000. As the weather holds it should be great time tomorrow.”

More information about The New Albany Classic can be found at TheNewAlbanyClassic.com.

More information about the Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence can be found at CCAFV.org.

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