EUGENE, Ore. — In a way, the Great Rotary Duck Race is the foundation on which the Relief Nursery was built.
“We’ve been involved with the Duck Race — really — from the very beginning,” said Kelly Sutherland, the nursery’s executive director. “We’ve very closely aligned with the mission of preventing child abuse and neglect.”
As the Duck Race marks a milestone this year — its 25th anniversary — the nursery has reason to celebrate too: a new facility in Springfield. Crews broke ground on the project in June. What was once an empty field morphed in the months since. The walls are going up and, before long, the building will be complete, providing plenty of space for the nursery.
“We’ll be able to provide services to the Springfield families closer to their home and provide more services to families here in Eugene,” Sutherland said.
One of the key services offered by the Relief Nursery is its outreach program, which is where money from this year’s Duck Race will go.
“The outreach program is how the families first come into Nursery,” said Kelli Glazener, the nursery’s outreach specialist. “A lot of our families are referred to us from doctors, counselors, other case workers or other agencies in the community.”
“We meet the families and we immediately start providing crisis intervention services,” explained Sutherland. “We stabilize the family, then start figuring out what their additional needs are.”
Working with the children and helping the parents, the Relief Nursery staff fights child abuse in Lane County. At its side, Rotarians and the thousands of people who buy tickets for the Great Rotary Duck Race.
“A Duck Race ticket means the agencies in town that are working to protect children will continue to be able to do so,” said Sutherland. “I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to buy a Duck Race ticket.”
If you’d like to buy one, click here.