By Matthew Barbis, Founder & Chairman
The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation
It was another successful year for our annual golf outing. Over 240 people attended what started out as an idea to run “just a little golf outing with a few friends”. It was apparent from the beginning that there was more than a little interest in helping our free program to gain the funds it needed for our then-lofty aspirations to push our stranger safety awareness program nationally. Not only did we get a few interested golfers – we immediately were faced with the challenge of running a large annual gala that attracted over 200 people!
It warms my heart to know that so many rally together to fight against such an incredibly devastating, albeit statistically low probability event, such as child abduction. How on earth do you combat something you have absolutely no control over? How can you stop a pedophile from doing the unthinkable? With education – that’s how!
If I have said it once, I have said it a hundred times over the last 12 years: We can’t do anything to stop a pedophile’s action, but we can absolutely teach our children what to do to avoid that pedophile when they make their intentions clear. The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation’s Stranger Safety Awareness Program has been built to teach children what to do BEFORE a stranger approaches a child. The program highlights important concepts such as the notion that not all strangers are dangerous; you can still talk to strangers but you NEVER go anywhere with them; common sense dictates that you never get something for nothing, so a stranger bearing gifts is to be questioned, to name a few.
The point I am trying to make is that even though we attempt to guard our next generation against potential horrors, we should take a moment to recognize that there is also plenty of good in the world. If ever you waiver on the existence of good in the world, I invite you to attend one of the Rose Brucia functions. After a few moments in a packed room with such warm, loving devotion to family and friends that come together with such a pure goal, you will most certainly have your faith in mankind restored. There is good in the world and I experienced just a small sample of it tonight. Thank you, each and every one who attend our event each year. You make it possible for us to continue our free program and you prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that there is always light after darkness.
Carlie’s light still shines today because of your dedication and support. I am now, no longer just one guy who wanted to make sure that no other family would have to feel the devastation that his family felt. I am now, one guy with a board of directors of a national charity, with a volunteer organization of teachers, with a truly sound stranger safety educational curriculum that has a global reach, with hundreds of individual supporters, hundreds of friends and thousands of families, standing guard of a line that will no longer be easily crossed if a pedophile dares try…and I couldn’t do it without you. Thank you 🙂
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.