The Belle Center

Going The Distance: Youth Advocate Hiking 2,663 Miles Across The Pacific Crest Trail...

Going The Distance: Youth Advocate Hiking 2,663 Miles Across The Pacific Crest Trail...

Buffalo, NY - May 16, 2011 – This summer Dan Cross-Viola of Chicago, IL - a Buffalo, NY native will embark upon a five month 2,663 hike of the Pacific Crest Trail in support of the work done at The Belle Center.
Throughout the hike he will traverse the states of California, Oregon and Washington from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. While Dan is an avid backpacker, this hike will not simply be a leisure experience. Rather he is doing this hike to raise money for The Belle Center in his hometown of Buffalo, NY.

When asked why he chose to do this mission-Dan stated: "I love a great challenge. I know The Belle Center does too, and that's why I'm undertaking this hike to help raise money for the amazing, life-changing work they do. As someone who works in the field of youth development, I know a quality youth-serving agency when I see one. The programs for children and youth at The Belle Center are some of the most comprehensive and innovative in the entire City of Buffalo. In these tough economic times, more and more non-profit organizations are competing for fewer and fewer funding sources. My hope is that by doing this hike I'll be able raise awareness about The Belle Center's innovative approach to youth work, while helping raise $2,663 - a dollar for every mile I'll walk - to support their programs." Dan a - dedicated “through hiker” has already raised greater than half of the amount before even beginning the trek and now he is looking to not only meet but exceed his donation goal.

The Belle Center has made tremendous growth in the face of widespread cuts at the national and local level - but greater help is needed. Fiscally the operating budget increased from $544,000 (2006) to $1.4 Million (Present) and organizationally it’s maintaining a well-balanced Core of Programs for its Cradle to College model: Belle Center Early Childhood Center, School Age Child Care, 21st Century Learning Center, Portal (Career/College Training Center), Buffalo AmeriCorps (Over last 3 years Buffalo AmeriCorps has award over $450K in educational awards); with new initiatives to provide additional service within Core Program areas including: Parent Child Home Program, Asthma Initiative, SUMO Kids, ELL/GED classes, AIDS Testing, Food Pantry Support and Senior Support Services.