Dillon Welch is a race car driver. The Carmel High School senior tries to drive the oval tracks as fast as possible, but he is equally diligent in his efforts off the track to stop a different kind of cycle: The cycle of abuse. “Abuse comes in a variety of forms, including bullying, dating violence, and domestic abuse,” Welch said. “Bullying through social media is also becoming a significant issue with kids.”
Statistics indicate children who experience violence at home often turn the violence outward into society. For young people many times that violence comes in the form of bullying. Bullying can turn into dating violence. Dating violence is a forerunner for domestic abuse. Domestic abuse affects everyone. Children then tend to act out against other children. It is a cycle. Stopping the cycle of abuse will not happen overnight, and it will not happen with the efforts of just one person. Still, Welch believes he can use his racing program as a vehicle to deliver the message. “Because of the sport’s uniqueness, kids tend to find race car drivers interesting,” Welch said. “That gives me a platform to reach them.” In a partnership with Sheltering Wings, the 18-year old racer is developing an awareness program to educate young people on the signs and dangers of abuse. “Our Racing for Wings program will give kids a chance to identify the signs of abuse,” Welch said. “Are they a victim or maybe even the abuser, the bully; regardless, they need help and we want them to know there is help available for them.” Welch, who competes in the USAC National Midget Series, is passionate about his desire to win races. He is equally driven to be a difference-maker in the community. “We will take this message to the students and families locally. It will be equally important to take the message on the road as we visit race tracks around the country.” For more information visit www.dillonwelch.com.