Center for Prevention of Abuse programs and education shift as schools go virtual

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Every year, the Center for Prevention of Abuse brings information and programs to students and schools across Central Illinois.

Last year, more than 36,000 students received abuse prevention education through the center.

“It’s part of our name, it’s at the core of what we do,” said Carol Merna, CEO of the Center for Prevention of Abuse.

Leaders said education helps students learn the danger signs and stop something before it happens. Topics include everything from healthy relationships and teen dating violence to bullying and respect.

“We provide age-appropriate, comprehensive, evidence-based educational opportunities for students K — 12,” said Merna. “We give them the tools that they need to be able to recognize ‘What is abuse?’ ‘When you don’t feel safe, what do you do?'”

Prevention education also connects students to the center. As classes go virtual due to the pandemic, so will training.

“It is our goal always to make sure that people know that they have access to the services that the Center for Prevention of Abuse provides,” said Merna. “Even in this new environment, we’re going to be there and be able to reach all sorts of young people.”

This year, the Center’s Annual Duck Race fundraiser will look different too.

“Health and safety is incredibly important in everything that we do and the Duck Race is no different,” said Merna.

Last year, the Duck Race raised more than $200,000 and sold out of ducks. For this year’s event, the winner of the $10,000 grand prize will be announced on Friday, Aug. 28 during the 6 p.m. newscast on WMBD.

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