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Ride for Missing Children stops at NPE, SRE

Rider Cindy Woody sits as NPE students (from left) Tommer Azzolini, Aidan Thurston, Joey Sereluca, Roman Murray and Stephen Manzene sign her jersey. In the background is Carissa Ruediger.

Rider Cindy Woody sits as NPE students (from left) Tommer Azzolini, Aidan Thurston, Joey Sereluca, Roman Murray and Stephen Manzene sign her jersey. In the background is Carissa Ruediger. Photo by Sarah Hall.

— Sometimes, all it takes to be a hero is to strap on a helmet and hop on a bike.

Some 175 riders took part in the Syracuse Ride for Missing Children Friday, a 100-mile ride made by bicycle riders or "Friends of Missing Children" that raises funds to support prevention education programs and to remember all missing children. The event, sponsored by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children/New York (NCMEC/NY), featured stops at several area schools, including Nate Perry Elementary and Soule Road Elementary in Liverpool, where students greeted them with cheers and handmade signs. During the stops, the Ride for the Missing team provided students and staff with information about how to stay safe both on the streets and online from predators; in the week leading up to the ride, education specialists offered training about internet safety.

The ride began at 8 a.m. at the Central New York Sports Center on Jones Road in Baldwinsville. After visiting schools in the Syracuse, East Syracuse-Minoa, North Syracuse, Central Square and Liverpool districts, the bikers returned to the sports center around 5:30 p.m.

Among the riders were Liverpool Central School District Board of Education member David Watson, whose daughter, Jenni-Lyn, was murdered in 2009, as well as former NPE principal Margo Ross, who has participated in the ride several times in the past.

More than 2,000 children are reported missing in the United States each day, some in our own community. For most families, this is only a brief scare as the child turns up in a few minutes or hours. But for some, the nightmare of a missing child becomes a grim reality. NCMEC's mission is to help recover missing children, protect all children from sexual exploitation, and assist in the prevention of these crimes.

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