GRAYLING – A collaborative effort that started in Arizona more than six years ago is making its way to Grayling. Tracy Wilson, the VP pf Marketing at North Central Area Credit Union, watched this program grow and evolve over the last several years as one of her high school classmates started an effort to empower child victims of violence and abuse. “Superhero September” was born in Phoenix, Arizona by Sean Reavie, a St. Ignace, Michigan native and then detective with the Phoenix Police Department’s Crimes Against Children Unit. Sean was looking for a way to educate the public about child abuse, to end generational cycles of abuse, and to empower the child victims during their recovery. Superheroes were his perfect answer. Superhero mythology sees sometimes ordinary people who overcome terrible circumstances to become heroes and help others, “Someone took away their right to be a little kid,” Reavie said. “Superhero September is a way to help give it back to them.”
Wilson thought the concept was a perfect fit for the credit union’s “people helping people” mission. At first, local efforts were limited to in-branch fundraising and NCACU members stepped up donating more than $5,000 in it’s first year. In 2019, NCACU hosted it’s first Super Main Event held on the grounds of Collins Elementary School in Houghton Lake. Then Covid hit and 2020 and 2021 were forced to virtual platforms, but local sponsors helped amp up the donations and the program has raised more than $42,000 in four years. Superhero September is the perfect opportunity for local businesses to pool smaller amounts of money to make a bigger impact on vital programming in our communities.
This year, NCACU is bringing back the in-person event. The Super Main Event will be held as a grand finale on Saturday, October 1st at Hanson Hills in Grayling. “We moved the event to Hanson Hills in Grayling because the centers serve a larger area over several counties and we wanted a more centralized location and a venue designed for running events, “ said Wilson. The Super Main Event will host three run/walk FUNdraising events.
- Mighty Milers kids run, $10 registration, each child will get a mask and cape to wear.
- Superhero 5K, $30 per person, will be a running-clock road race around the area of M-93/72 West and Old Lake Road starting and ending at Hanson Hills. Pre-registered participants will get a medal and t-shirt.
- The team event will run the same course as the 5K. $100 per four-person team and each pre-registered participant will get a medal and t-shirt.
The planning committee opted to also keep the Virtual Event so that participants who can’t be at Hanson Hills on the first can still support the centers through the event. Virtual means participants register online and run/walk on your own time and schedule.
Pre-Registration is required by Noon on Friday, September 23rd in order to ensure accurate t-shirt and medal counts. Same day registrations will be accepted but t-shirts and medals will not be guaranteed. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/408045604387
Children and adults will be able to interact with Superheroes from the League of Enchantment out of Lansing, Michigan. The League of Enchantment has confirmed that Lansing Batman and Wonder Woman will be among the guests. Local superheroes from law enforcement, fire and EMS departments will also be present to interact with kids and demonstrate equipment. The K9 Unit of the Michigan State Police will also be doing a demonstration for kids. Costumes are encouraged and community members and families can donate Superhero themed items like t-shirts, backpacks, and toys that will be given to children who receive services at the centers.
The mission of the Northern Michigan Children’s Assessment Center (NMCAC) and the CAN Council is to reduce the trauma of child abuse and neglect by providing prevention, intervention, and advocacy. The services at the centers include child forensic interviews, advocacy, medical and mental health services. All staff is specially trained in providing evidence based and best practice services. Since opening the NMCAC in October 2014, the center has provided services to over 800 children and continues to grow and expand services. The CAN Council has been open since 1979 and sees an average of 650 cases a year. An important part of the continued success of these programs is local financial support. Superhero September will boost local support as required by grant funding. All profits will benefit the children who use these centers. For more information about NMCAC visit www.nmcac4kids.org or CAN Council at www.cancouncil.org/cac