Regional
5:17 pm
Sat December 8, 2012

Bikers Raise Abuse Awareness, Arrive in Las Cruces

Two bikers are peddling across the country – and it’s all for a cause. They want to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect. They stopped in Las Cruces at Families and Youth, Inc.

John Frugo and Lynette Garrett are about halfway on their bike ride Chicago to the West Coast.

The ride has inspired John.

“It really opened my eyes as far as to see the good in people. You know, you lose that sometimes. This trip has taught us there really is a lot of good, said Frugo.

A lot of good raising awareness for an issue that carries a lot of pain. – Childhood abuse and neglect.

Families and Youth, Inc. is one place victims of abuse can go for help. It’s where John and Lynette stopped when they arrived in Las Cruces.

The journey has been bumpy at times. Lynette had to get her appendix taken out.

“I’m an ER nurse. You know, you don’t go to the ER after being sick for three hours. Since I was gonna be on the road the next day, I wanted to make sure it was okay and turned out it was my appendix," said Lynette Garrett.

Courtney Shields is one of the people who uses Families and Youth, Inc. to get her feet back on the ground.

“I had my intake and they helped me find a job and I’m in the process of finding another one – which I just got hired today.”

Jamie Tippett came to the center in Las Cruces from Santa Fe when she was just 16.

“I was doing pretty bad up there so I just came down here for a better future for me and my son.”

Her son Skyler is nine months old. Jamie says it’s tough needing help when you’re trying to grow up

“You feel like you should be independent, especially being 18. But here’s still curfews and you still have people checking in on you and coming into your apartment and searching, you know what I mean?”

Judith Baca knows what she means. She’s on the other end of the line when victims call for assistance.

“We’re one of the first responders that meet with victims. So victims that need assistance, if they’re a victim of a violent crime, a domestic violence.”

The assistance unit helps callers with…

“…protection orders or getting into the shelter, need assistance with housing. Whatever assistance or resources we can assist them with, that’s what we do.”

If you know anyone dealing with abuse or if you are dealing with it yourself, Judith says you can always pick up the phone and call her. The victim assistance unit’s number is 575-528-4111.

The El Crucero Transitional Living Program can be reached at 575-532-5593 or on their Web site.