Put on the Cape: A Foundation for Hope is once again raising funds for Goodyear’s Southwest Family Advocacy Center with a 5K on Saturday, April 10.
“This event is crucial for our center to be able to buy food, buy clothing items, buy different kinds of much-needed supplies for the child crime victims who come through our center,” said Reem Constantine, Southwest Family Advocacy Center’s director.
At the Thor-themed event, participants can walk, stroll or run as the Avengers, Batman, Superman, Supergirl, Flash and others cheer them on at Victory Lane Sports Park, 22603 N. 43rd Avenue, Glendale.
They will receive an event T-shirt, a chipped bib to track the time and a finishing medal designed by Brett Steward and Adventure Fitness. This year, due to COVID-19, participants can participate virtually or in person.
Constantine said she is looking forward to attending the event for the first time, knowing the funds will help those who need it most. The advocacy center provides education and awareness to the community on how to prevent child abuse, cyberbullying and other youth safety tips.
The Southwest Family Advocacy Center is visited by those in law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental health, medical and victim advocacy, all of whom work together during the investigation of child abuse cases, sexual assault, domestic violence and elder abuse cases.
“We’re here to help the community, to help their families and to help the children that come with that trauma and do it in a very victim-centered way,” she said. “We are here to help them in any way we can.”
The previous two events raised more than $10,000 for the center that aids and comforts thousands of abused children seeking help.
Phoenix Detective Sean Reavie founded the nonprofit Put on the Cape to help empower children who are suffering acute physical and sexual abuse. The organization adopts advocacy and child crisis centers in Arizona to ensure the children have their needs addressed.
“When their bellies rumble, we provide food and drink,” Reavie said. “When their clothing is taken as evidence, we provide new, clean clothes. When they leave, they are given their favorite superhero or Barbie action figure. When they are sad and afraid, we give them courage and hope.”
He connected with the Southwest Family Advocacy Center after meeting an Avondale Police Department sergeant at a Special Olympics event.
“She said they are underfunded and don’t have money in their budget for items like superhero action figures and Barbies, which is what the kids need,” Reavie recalled. “I said I would give the proceeds to the center. It was really that simple.”
The first 5K was sold out and raised $5,000. The second year, the pandemic hit, and spots were still available at the time of the race. Reavie still gave the center $5,000. The 5K is meant to be fun and light, despite the serious message behind it.
“We’re encouraging people to come dressed as superheroes,” Reavie said. “We’re going to have Thor at the finish line, handing out the finishing medals. We’re going to have superheroes around the track.
“The kids love it. The adults love it. They all love taking photos. The Avondale Police Department, the Buckeye Police Department and the Goodyear Police Department all have teams. With the restrictions being lifted, it’s the perfect time for people to come out.”
Put on the Cape doesn’t just help the Southwest Family Advocacy Center. It supports eight centers, and it’s in negotiations to aid those in other states.
Reavie calls organizations like the Southwest Family Advocacy Center “magical.”
“You have your pediatricians, your attorneys, forensic interviewers and victims, they all work together to help that child heal. It’s a beautiful symphony to see it all work.
“Child abuse is awful. Five kids die per day from abuse. People don’t know what to look for anymore. There’s a reason kids don’t look you in the eye or they aren’t playing. Those are things that need to be addressed quickly.”