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Peace For All at the Betty Griffin 5K 2016

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Runners start the race for The Betty Griffin House 5K. photo: 2016

A windy morning welcomed the runners on Saturday at the pier for the annual Betty Griffin 5K. With over 400 runners and walkers at this years event, the importance of peace in the home was at the forefront of everyone’s mind and on the front of their tee-shirt.

Joyce Mahr, Betty Griffin House Executive Director, was handing out hot coffee in appreciation to all the volunteers and participants in attendance. “We really want to create awareness about our services,” said Mahr. “”We believe no one deserves to be abused.”

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Joyce Mahr, Betty Griffin House Executive Director stands with volunteers. photo: 2016

FSCJ nursing students, Robin Wise and Cecelia Landicho were on hand to lend their volunteer services. “This is an important event,” shared Wise as she huddled against the wind. Part of our OB practicum is working with new mothers and parenting. “It is important to stop domestic violence against pregnant mothers.”

According to Mahr the stress of pregnancy increases the risk of domestic violence. “We work with Flagler Hospital providing services to new families.”

Last year the BGH 5K raised over $23,000 for the Betty Griffin House Domestic Abuse Shelter. The emergency shelter is equipped with 54 beds available for women and children escaping domestic abuse. Men are housed in another facility. The women stay on an average of 8 to 12 weeks. During their stay the clients are provided with various services to help them get back on their feet. Counseling services, life-skills training and education assistance are a few of the services provided.

The Betty Griffin House runs two thrift stores to help with funding as well as provide job training to those in need. The thrift store on State Rd 312 and A1A provides a vital service for those starting over. Household goods and clothing is available for those involved in domestic abuse. Last year alone the thrift stores provided over $35,000 worth of goods, including goods to other social service agencies in the area.

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This years winner was 12 year old Anton Matchev of Gainsville, Florida. photo: 2016

 This years winner was 12 year old Anton Matchev of Gainsville, Florida. Matchev came screeming down the runway close to a minute ahead of the next runner with a time of 18:39 This Lincoln Middle School student ran on a pace of 6min miles and has been running since he was in kindergarten. “My whole family runs,”said Matchev as he watched for his dad. Matchev is a cross country champion.” I got 6th place when I was 11 and 12th place when I was 10 (for cross country) and I did win the 3000 meters on the AAU club nationals (on track).” he shared. “I usually run for 30 minutes every day.Today it was very windy and the last mile was hard.”

As the runners came across the finish line, you could see the look of pride and determination on their faces. Another race has been run with the purpose of stopping the horror and stigma of domestic violence. “Everyone deserves to live in peace in their own home,” stated Mahr as she watched and hugged the runners. “Peace” is a statement everyone had to agree with, including the 400 plus runners and volunteers who took to the streets, early on a windy morning in St Augustine Beach to show their love and support.