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Zonta RAVE Walk/Run Raises Spirit and Support
La Plata, MD - 10/15/2012
By Susan Smith
Five local survivors of domestic abuse/sexual assault have been awarded $12,500 in scholarships this Fall, thanks to the Zonta Club of Charles County, which held their 9th Annual RAVE (Rape and Violence Eradication) 5k Walk/Run this Saturday. This year’s walk was held at the College of Southern Maryland La Plata campus in memory of Gayle A. Cooke, for whom the scholarship is named.
Cooke was a well-respected and dedicated community volunteer and a Victim Witness Coordinator for the Charles County States Attorney’s Office. Gayle was shot and killed in her home January 25, 2000, the result of domestic violence, as she was protecting her daughter from an estranged boyfriend. The purpose of the scholarship is to provide financial assistance to help survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault complete an educational program that will allow them to secure employment and financial stability necessary for independence and self-sufficiency.
For the Zonta RAVE Walk/Run, participants raise pledges from friends, family, classmates and coworkers beforehand for their commitment to walk. This Saturday’s early morning chill was no match for their enthusiasm and passion. Participants and volunteers included many members of. Cooke’s family, State’s Attorney Anthony Covington, Charles County Commissioner Vice President Reuben B. Collins II, District 1 Commissioner Kenneth Robinson and District 2 Commissioner Debra M. Davis..
Covington’s remarks conveyed the seriousness and prevalence of domestic violence in the county that his office sees on a daily basis. Rosemary Raimon, victim witness coordinator for his office agreed, but also remarked that awareness and prevention is also increasing, indicating that efforts are making a positive difference. Raimon is also the co-founder of the Silent Witness Project of Charles County.
Following opening remarks and remembrances, participants warmed up with a local yoga instructor and were accompanied on their 12-lap walk/run by lively music, mascots and cheerleaders and race volunteers dispensing a symbolic purple gem to each as laps were completed. Closing ceremonies included door prizes as well as prizes to the participants with the highest donations and the largest team. The proceeds from the walk help local nonprofit agencies provide services to victims of sexual assault as well as domestic and teen violence prevention and recovery programs in Southern Maryland.
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