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Local Writer To Speak At Missing Children Event

OSWEGO, NY – Local writer Lisa Buske will be a featured speaker later this month at the annual Ride for Missing Children.

On Sept. 23, she will be speaking at the opening ceremonies for the Ride for Missing Children, a mission of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The event takes place in Syracuse.

“I would like to extend an invitation to you all to join us at the RMC at 7 a.m. for opening ceremonies,” Buske said.

You will meet more than 100 cyclists who have given their time and heart to raise awareness for our missing children while educating area children through assemblies at their schools (once school starts) and by visiting the students the day of the ride,” Buske said. “These men and women have taken personal and vacation time in order to pedal 100 miles for this mission.”

Buske said it will be “an amazing day.”

“The RMC is near and dear to my heart. Some of you might remember my daughter, Mary, raised more than $800 one year on her birthday with a ‘Pennies for Posters’ theme,” she said. “The RMC empowers the families in our journey as we search while educating and empowering the children in our communities, to be safe.”

The event is three weeks away and Buske said she hopes to draw attention to it so communities have time to put up posters and signs along the ride route to show their support for the riders.

“The RMC is truly a community event; keeping all our children safer, one child at a time. “Help me spread the word,” she said.

According to their website, the RMC is sponsored by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children/New York.  The Syracuse Ride is 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.

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.

Organizers stress that it is not a race. They ride together as a team – averaging 15-18 mph on the flat portion of the course escorted by members of the New York State Police, local police and sheriffs’ departments.

“A new rider can register for the Syracuse Ride for Missing Children by going to our website at http://www.rideformissingchildren.org/syracuse/. The ride is an event that is held to support the Upstate New York office of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.,” according to Chris Arnold, Syracuse Ride coordinator. “In summary, the mission of NCMEC is threefold: 1) prevent the sexual exploitation of children 2) assist in the recovery of missing children 3) remind the public of the plight of missing children everywhere.”

All funds raised by the ride will stay in the Central New York area. There are five rides held across Upstate New York over the course of the year (Albany, Utica, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo), and in each case the money raised in the area of the Ride stays for programming in that area.

The destinations along the route are designated schools where the riders’ arrival is the highlight of a safety education program that has been attended by the children of each school. One of the key services provided by NCMEC is prevention education.

“In fact, besides being a fundraising event, the ride is an integral component of this part of the NCMEC mission. On Sept. 23 we will stop and visit six schools in two counties (Oswego and Onondaga) and four school districts (Phoenix, Cicero-North Syracuse, Syracuse and Liverpool). We will also do a ‘ride by’ of three schools on the 23rd. A week prior to the ride, an Education Specialist from NCMEC will visit each school (both stops and ride bys) and put on an internet safety program for the kids,” Arnold said. “The kids at the schools we stop at will also have a refresher on the training while we’re at the school. Our school stops are typically 15 minutes, and act as both a refresher on the prevention education as well as a rest stop for the riders.”

A ride by school will receive the training the week before the ride, but riders won’t stop; the kids will be outside and they’ll ride by and wave at one another.

“The school day can only accommodate so many actual stops; the ride bys allow the kids to get the prevention education piece even if we can’t stop there,” Arnold explained. “Other key services provided by NCMEC are missing children posters (many, many of them) and Child ID documentation.”

They need “new riders” (those that haven’t done one of the Rides for Missing Children before) to participate in at least two training rides prior to the event itself on Sept. 23. They have this requirement because the Ride for Missing Children is unique in that its riders will ride two-by-two in a long line (more than 100 riders are now registered), so the riders need to be familiar with the etiquette and techniques of riding together in a large group.

There is still time to register. However, because they are riding 100 miles, have a two training ride requirement and have a fundraising requirement of $300 per rider, “folks will need time to get in shape and raise their money. Therefore, the sooner the better!” Arnold added.

The Syracuse Ride for Missing Children is an outgrowth of what has been for the past eight years the Finger Lakes RFMC, which was based in Auburn. The ride committee decided that in 2011 it would shift towards Syracuse in order to address a larger school population with the ride and to attract more riders.

“Our hope is to raise $40,000 with this year’s event. On average 93% of funds raised go to programming, and all services offered to the community by NCMEC are always free,” Arnold said.

Funds raised by the Syracuse Ride for Missing Children remain in the local community to provide case assistance and spearhead prevention education services across upstate New York.

For more specific information about the ride, visit http://rideformissingchildren.org/syracuse/

Buske is the sister of Heidi Allen who was kidnapped nearly 20 years ago. She has not been seen since and is presumed dead.

She has written a book about the experience, from the sister’s point of view, and hopes to find a publisher soon.

“I have submitted my book proposals to a few publishers and my entire manuscript to one,” Buske said. “As I wait for their responses, I continue to blog and have started to brainstorm another book. But, it is still in the early phases.”

The one publisher who requested “everything” emailed Buske the following day and was contacting his partner.

“It was the co-founder of the publishing company himself. I met at a conference and he responded in less than 12 hours after I submitted to let me know he would be talking with his partner!” she explained.

For more information, visit http://lisabuske.weebly.com/