Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Kristen's Krusade & the Kinney Center

Fourth Kristen's Krusade attracts most participants yet
Raya Abat '13

On Sunday, Oct. 4, the fourth annual Kristin's Krusade 5K run/walk took place here at Saint Joseph's University. Since the first run/walk took place in September 2006, this year has had the biggest turnout, with about 230 participants, including enthusiastic St. Joe's students. The Kristin Mitchell foundation, which began in December of 2007 and organizes the walk, strives to reach out to college students and help them identify warning signs and potential consequences of unhealthy relationships.

Kristen Mitchell, a former St. Joe's student, was killed by her boyfriend after breaking up with him. "We just wanted to do something in Kristin's memory, something that could raise awareness about relationship violence," said Bill Mitchell, president of the Kristin Mitchell foundation. "We wanted to turn a tragedy into something much more positive." Stephanie Groeber, one of the two founders of Kristin's Krusade, said, "Targeting college students and educating them on dating violence and different warning signs is something we felt that we really lacked here at St. Joe's. The students here have been really great and supportive, especially most recently. It is important for us to continue this event and pass on Kristin's story so that others know what can and may happen to them."

Visit to receive advice on relationship violence and learn more about the potential signs of an unhealthy, dangerous relationship.

Kristin Mitchell was a victim of domestic violence. She was murdered by her boyfriend in her apartment in Conshohocken, on June 3, 2005, only weeks after graduating from Saint Joseph's University. Two of her friends decided to channel their grief in a positive way and create an event that would keep Kristin's memory alive, and celebrate her 21 years of life. Inspired by a eulogy given by a Saint Joseph's priest at Kristin's memorial mass, the event became known as "Kristin's Krusade." It's a 5K run/walk that has been held annually on the campus of St. Joseph's University since September 2006.

The aim of Kristin's Krusade is to bring dating violence awareness to the place Kristin had once called "home" for four years, as well as to the surrounding neighborhoods.After the inaugural event, we recognized the prevalence of dating violence, and formed The Kristin Mitchell Foundation. Our mission is to support educational efforts that raise awareness among college students about the potential dangers of unhealthy dating relationships.

Guest speaker Dan Marino adresses community on educational outreach programs
James Hill '11

Saint Joseph's University and the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support decided to open the new offices in Cynwyd Hall on the Maguire Campus by bringing in a celebrity for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Their choice: Dan Marino.This is the same Marino who lobbed 420 career touchdown passes in 17 seasons for the Miami Dolphins of the NFL, holding the record until Brett Favre recently surpassed him. Off the field, he is known for his efforts in autism education and support. The Dan Marino Foundation has raised over $22 million for the cause.

Before the festivities began last Friday, Marino took the time to sit down and answer a few questions for The Hawk. James Hill, '11: This is obviously a very personal cause for you. What does it mean to you to be able to come here and support the Kinney Center's cause? Dan Marino: For me personally, it hits home because my son Michael was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old. He's 21 now and he's doing well. He's a high-functioning kid in college and he's doing well. To me, anytime anybody is trying to change lives in a positive way-such as kids with a developmental disorder-it's something I'm proud to be a part of.

This center is going to help children who maybe might not get help. I was fortunate when my son Michael was young; we were able to get him all the treatments he needed to give him a chance. I think that's what this will help through education and outreach programs. For me, that's what makes a difference to me and that's why I'm here.

JH: What role do you think the Kinney Center can play in educating and supporting those with autism?

DM: I think any time you can educate people and help kids with autism in speech therapy and occupational therapy and help other people learn, they can go out and help in the community. Outreach programs are a big thing; that's what we do a lot of in our center in Fort Lauderdale. If you can affect kids' lives in a positive way, that's worth everything in the world.

JH: Your Dan Marino Foundation has been very successful, raising over $22 million. How can the Kinney Center achieve success?

DM: First off you have the support of the university and support of the families that believe in what you're trying to get accomplished. It's going to be successful. If you have the support of educators and families that are involved, that's what [the Dan Marino Foundation was] very fortunate with. We had the support of the children's hospital that helped us with the developmental center.

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