Families of missing children play an important role in each of the Rides for Missing Children. Our goal is to inspire Hope and to provide comfort and support.
Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo Rides:
Families of missing children are welcomed to join us throughout the day including the opening ceremony, the various stops at elementary and middle schools, the silent tributes to missing children and the closing ceremonies. Our goal is to make sure the Ride is meaningful and comfortable for our honored guests: families who continue to search for their missing child, families who have been reunited with their missing child, and families whose child has been recovered deceased. Family members may participate privately or with any degree of involvement that suits their level of comfort. Some family members chose to share their experiences as guest speakers and others prefer to remain private participants. All are welcome.
Utica (CNY) and Albany Rides:
The Utica (CNY) and Albany Rides for Missing Children include a Families Committee.
At the Ride, we help our families participate at their comfortable level. We have some family guests who choose to be identified and participate by speaking, wearing the designated families t-shirt, giving media interviews and standing roadside cheering our Riders along.
We also respect and accommodate families who would like to participate in or support the Ride in a less public manner or even anonymously. Among our Riders and Volunteers are many who choose this path. On Ride day we often have 40-60 family members in and among our families van.
Our families are invited to participate in the choosing the ribbon color displayed for their loved ones roadside tribute and many elect to stand roadside with their child’s tribute sign.
How Are Families Selected To Participate?
We welcome any family who has a missing or recovered child to attend our events. If you are interested in attending, please contact us to be put in touch with the Families Committee.
Each year we also reach out to Team Hope, parent support network for The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, to identify a few families from outside the Central New York region to attend our events. Inviting these guests to our Ride from afar, reflects the work of our Center – Both that our posters are printed and distributed across the country and the significant contribution we provide as a resource to families in need of posters and support both near and far.
Each family that attends our event is paired with a Designated Rider. Riders who demonstrate exemplar dedication to the Ride are selected to Ride in honor of our attending families, wearing that child’s photo button. For family members who would like to participate in our 100-mile ride we provide an Escort Rider. Escort Riders are skilled cyclists who know the route and understand how to support a fellow Rider both physically and emotionally.
We hold two tributes in honor of our families and their journey. Along the Ride route each year are Silent Tributes, helping us to remember the children who will be reunited with their families in another life, and toward the end of our route Riders show respect to families who continue to search for their missing child in our Ring of Hope.