Bon Voyage! Adios! Buona Fortuna!

In any language: Have a Safe Trip!

By Patrick M. Chierichella

Educational Coordinator of The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

It’s that time of year once again. Presidents’ Week is upon us. In five or six weeks, spring recess will be here. And with these two vacation periods comes the anxiety of preparations: booking airline tickets, securing that time share slot, praying snow will not impact departure or return, and hoping and praying that everyone will just relax and have a good time. One other important thing to check off in your preparatory list: going over stranger safety awareness pointers with your children no matter their age.

A short while ago, my wife was shopping in a neighboring Long Island village. She saw a gentleman with his children, a boy and a girl. About to enter a store, the man turned to his son who was finishing a drink. “Stay out here until you’re done. Then come in and find us.” The little girl said to her dad, “But daddy, someone could take him.” The father’s response: “That doesn’t happen where we live.” But, of course it does. To account for over 800,000 children reported missing in the United States annually, it has to happen here.

This does not even come close to the instances of child abduction world-wide. Let me ask you a few questions. How safe is the specific destination where you and your family will stay? Have you researched your vacation destination for any recent stories about abductions? Have you gone on the web and checked out sources concerning the number of abductions attributed to the country you are entering? A recent travel alert said that CHILDREN are acting as abductors in foreign lands. Have you reviewed stranger safety awareness skills that you have taught your child/children? Do your older children have curfews?

Natalie Holloway, on a trip celebrating her recent graduation from high school, disappeared in 2005 in Aruba. Madeline McCann disappeared at a resort in Portugal in 2007. Such instances propel us to generate rapid learning curves. The questions are simple: Did we learn for the short-term or long-term? How many of you remembered the generalities about these cases but not these names? The disappearances of the teenager and young child garnered world-wide notoriety.  Did either or both of these cases prompt you to develop and use stranger safety awareness stratagems with your family? Remember, the goal for a child, for each of us, is not to just say what the stratagem is but to produce an instinctual response mechanism that moves your child out of harm’s way. Practice indeed makes the lesson ingrained.

We, at the Rose Brucia Educational Foundation, know you protect your child/children. We hope that our program and strategies can help you be better prepared for the world in which we live.

Enjoy your day in the sun, on the slopes, on the links, at those fantastic restaurants and venues wherever you go. Do not take your safety for granted.

About The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation
Founded by Matthew J. Barbis after his 11-year-old cousin, Carlie Brucia, was abducted and murdered in Sarasota, FL in 2004. The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation’s goal is to reduce the number of child abductions in the U.S. by educating and empowering young minds with the knowledge necessary to avoid abduction. Utilizing puppets and a formalized educational curriculum, the foundation provides elementary-aged children with the Stranger Safety Awareness Program, free of charge. The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

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