The 2020 Ride For Missing Children originally scheduled for June 5th was postponed due to concerns over COVID-19. Now, the physical group ride won't take place until 2021. However, there is an exciting alternative in the works.

The annual ride is taking a new approach and is going virtual with the “Miles for Hope” event. It was after much consideration, deliberation and weighing of all options that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children decided to move to the virtual model.

This virtual ride will last the entire month of September and involve participants from rides in Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Albany and all over the state. “Mile For Hope” will also be open to cyclists nationwide. It is an exciting opportunity to increase the exposure of what this event means to so many on a bigger scale.

There is no registration fee for the Miles for Hope event, no fundraising minimum and those already registered for The Ride will be automatically registered. Jody Wheet is the Program Director for the Utica NCMEC branch. Wheet says,

The Ride is the biggest annual fundraiser for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and supports the mission Making Our Children Safer... One Child At A Time. Goals of the Ride are to honor the memory of all missing children, to raise public awareness of the plight of all missing and exploited children and the need for child safety education and to raise funds to support the missing children poster distribution, community education for the prevention of child abduction and sexual exploitation.

The NCMEC CyberTipline reports went from averaging 1 million a month to 2 million reports in March 2020 to 4 million reports in April 2020, showing that support is extremely vital. The CyberTipline is the nation’s centralized reporting system for the online exploitation of children.

The local Oneida County Child Advocacy Center has seen a 50% decrease in reports of child abuse, but law enforcement officials believe that is due to a lack of reporting and students being out of schools, where mandated reporters like teachers are available. It is necessary to remember the meaning and purpose of this ride and NCMEC will not lose sight of that mission and will hopefully use this digital opportunity to get that message to a much broader audience.

More information will be available soon at www.therideformissingchildren.com.