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Locals take Chilly Plunge for Kids

By Ben Rainwater
By brainwater@wbbjtv.com

PARIS, Tenn. - Some brave locals got a freezing open to 2014 as dozens took a chilly plunge at Paris Landing State Park, Wednesday.

It was part of the fifth annual Shiver on the River. The event raises money for Real Hope Youth Center, an after-school enrichment program for local children.

"They have a safe place to be, they get a healthy snack, and we have activities that are recreation, education, arts and we help them with homework," volunteer Becki White said.

"Kids grades are improving, their lives are improving, and testament comes from their teachers from the schools that they go to, how they're noticing a huge difference not only in their grates but also in their attitude and demeanor," event founder Carlton Gerrell said.

Even though the water is freezing, the warm hearts of the community are what helps makes this a great event.

"I thinks it's one of the things that makes Paris great," Gerrell said. "We've got great support. Some are just onlookers. They just don't believe we're actually going to do it. But every year, we keep doing it."

100 percent of the proceeds go to the organization. Even though the donations are important, the entertainment is key.

"The most fun is to see all the different costumes that everybody put together, and people without costumes seeing if they want to put a big toe in or if they want to go all the way under in the river," White said.

More than $3800 was raised at this year's event.