Rodman Ride for Kids

Joining Forces for the Child Witness to Violence Project

If you had to venture a guess as to what affects ten percent of BMC's pediatric patients, what would it be?

Sadly, and unbeknownst to many, 10 percent of BMC’s pediatric patients have seen traumatic violence by the age of six—half of which has occurred in their own homes. BMC pediatricians report about 500 cases of child abuse and neglect each year, more than any other hospital in Boston. "A lot of times people aren't aware of how prevalent domestic violence and other kinds of trauma exposure really are," explains Neena McConnico, PhD, LMHC, program director for the Child Witness to Violence Project (CWVP). "It is something that cuts across socioeconomic status, race and cultures. It can happen to anyone and is quite pervasive."

BMC's Child Witness to Violence Project is an outpatient mental health agency serving young children between the ages of birth and eight years old who have witnessed or experienced some type of violence. "The needs are great," says McConnico. "We serve a population who is often silenced and disempowered, particularly young children whose voices are really not heard." CWVP focuses on intervention, education and prevention, providing direct clinical services as well as consultation and training to organizations throughout New England and beyond. With a multicultural, multilingual staff and a national model of care, McConnico describes the overall goal of CWVP as "helping children heal and thrive in the aftermath of some kind of traumatic incident."

A key element to CWVP is that all of its services are provided at no cost, ensuring anyone in need can receive them. Additionally, services are not reimbursable, making philanthropic support critical to the program's continuation. “Our clinicians go above and beyond, so it’s really important for us to raise funds so we can continue to deliver high quality services to the families,” explains McConnico. “We use every single dollar.”

When it came to supporting CWVP, members of Boredom Busters, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, did not think twice about it. Since 2010, the group has collaborated with BMC to support numerous programs aimed at enhancing the hospital visits of BMC's youngest patients—all driven by the belief that "a happy child has a better chance of being a healthy child." This year, members were eager to build on Boredom Busters' repertoire of support, and knew CWVP was the perfect addition to the many inpatient-focused programs they are involved in. As a result, Team Boredom Busters will be making its debut on the Rodman Ride for Kids course this September, riding for Team BMC. This is the first time the organization will be contributing to BMC through a charity athletic event, and for many of its members, it will be the first time they are participating in a cycling event.

Boredom Busters member and Team Boredom Busters Captain Lindsay O'Hara describes the moment they learned about CWVP as "serendipitous." "We had already been talking about the idea of helping patients who have been exposed to violence," she notes. "So when we learned of this flagship program that is responding to these needs and has also gone on to help other communities, it clicked."

A group of riders from CWVP will also be cycling for Team BMC, and with two teams riding for the same cause, it only made sense for them to collaborate to magnify their impact. Together, they make the perfect pair. Boredom Busters is connected with a large community of young professionals who are on the lookout for causes for giving. To facilitate their search, the group recently hosted an event to bring awareness to CWVP and its profound role in helping young children. McConnico spoke at the event, about the issues of violence and trauma exposure in young children and how CWVP is helping them. "It was one of the best events we've ever had," says Lindsay. "BMC understands these issues the most because they are in it every day. It was great to have someone there who knows about this firsthand and say, 'here's what is happening and why we need your support,' and get people behind a cause they may have never known about."

As Team Boredom Busters prepares for September, they are excited about connecting more people to their cause. "We're participating in something so much greater than we ever envisioned, and the partnership with BMC has been really great."

"By riding to support programs at BMC, they're making a real difference in the world of a child," concludes McConnico. "It will have a long lasting impact."