On a Personal Note…

By Patrick M. Chierichella, Educational Coordinator

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

I can remember when Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time was published. I recall attempting to read and comprehend the work and gave up in frustration after my own brief time with it.

I recall sitting in classrooms where my eye would settle on the wall clock and note how gravity seemed to slow the upward movement of the minute hand from the half hour to the hour every day. I can still picture my students repeating their own studies of time in my class.

Ask a child who is anticipating some happy event in their life and a response about how time is dragging will be forthcoming. Ask an adult to reflect upon their life and the answer always involves a comment about the fleet passage of years.

Thirteen years seems, feels like a long time and yet something immediate. February 1, 2004 glides effortlessly between the timeline of the past and the immediacy of the present.

Two years doesn’t seem like a long time. It has been almost two years since my wife and I had visited the memorial garden at the Central Church of Christ on Proctor Road in Sarasota, Florida. You know it as the site where Carlie Brucia’s body was recovered. I am happy to say that the grounds of this garden are well maintained. The grass is mowed. The palm fronds are gathered and taken away. Netting has been placed over the stone bearing Carlie’s likeness and its adjacent pool. From the memorial plaques seen in front of the pool, you realize people still visit; Carlie’s story lives on.

Author N. Maria Kwami wrote, “but time soon passes. Even the deepest pain eventually looses its edge in the more vivid reality of the present; then, what once was unbearable becomes strangely familiar.  And after much familiarity, it assumes the insignificance of just another milestone, ever marking the journey to higher ground“.

In Love in the Time of the Cholera, Noble Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote of “people…turning into memories, mists from other days, until they were absorbed into oblivion“.

The bleakness of these words is a blow to our hearts. Heartbreak refutes the concept of oblivion, familiarity and insignificance.

There is nothing familiar or insignificant about the loss of a child. Our Foundation works today and tomorrow and the next day to prevent other families from suffering this same heartbreak.

Standing in front of the memorial, my eyes could not miss a sign that Carlie had not passed into mists or oblivion. Poignantly, a single white candle. It’s flame flickering near the base of its tall glass column, gives notice that February 1st, 2004  is remembered.

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.

Two Simple Words: Thank You

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.

 

 

Pokémon NO!

By Matthew J. Barbis, Founder & Chairman

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

It seems that Pokémon Go is sweeping the nation. It’s a very entertaining, enthralling game that really brings the world of video games to life. It’s all over the news how this game is causing accidents because the players are losing focus on reality. Let’s take a moment to discuss how this app can become extremely dangerous to our children.

The Rose Brucia Stranger Safety Awareness Program has a goal to increase children’s awareness to their surroundings. It seems that melding reality and gaming is now another blockade to keeping our children alert.

Some tips to share with parents & children:

  1. Agree on the proper times and places that such a game may be played safely.
  2. Discuss the possibility of allowing the game to be played with adult supervision.
  3. Have a meaningful discussion of the consequences of not paying attention to their surroundings, ie. walking out into the street, falling over a curb, tripping into another person, and of course, walking right into the hands of a predator.
  4. Remind children to walk with their heads up and eyes looking all around.
  5. Remember to keep a safe distance from all strangers. Not all strangers are bad, but the ones who want to hurt your children will be looking for an opportunity when they can strike. It only takes an instant to destroy what a lifetime of love has created.

Pokémon Go can be a lot of fun, just remind your children that all fun activities have a time and a place.

Be safe!

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.

Rose Brucia Responds to Attempted Abductions in WPIX Interview

http://go.pix11.com/1FSnzAT

Click on the selected link above to view the WPIX interview of Rose Brucia founder and chairman, Matthew Barbis. To learn more about what to do if a friendly stranger approaches your child, visit http://www.rosebrucia.org/downloads for free lessons and videos.

Shop at Barnes & Noble Online to Support Rose Brucia, March 18 – 23rd: Voucher #11321908

by Matthew Barbis, Founder & Chairman

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

I am proud to present the voucher that every supporter of The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation can use NATIONALLY to purchase items at Barnes & Noble book store online at BN.COM/bookfairs.  A portion of your purchase will immediately support the foundation as a direct result of Best-Selling Author, Lori Ann LaRocco’s philanthropic book launch at Barnes & Noble on March 18, 2014.  Lori Ann’s book, Opportunity Knocking, will be introduced at Barnes & Noble Upper East Side, 150 E. 86th Street at 7pm. Everyone present will have the exclusive “Opportunity” to have their copy of the book personally signed by the author and a few of the entrepreneurs in the book.

Please use this link to obtain our voucher code, #11321908, which must be presented for all purchases between March 18th and March 23rd in order to help support our Stranger Safety Awareness Program.

BNvoucher_March 18

Visit BN.COM/bookfairs to support us online from 03/18/14 to 03/23/14 by entering Bookfair ID 11321908 at checkout. A percentage of your Barnes & Noble purchases will benefit Rose Brucia.

Once again, I would like to thank Lori Ann LaRocco, Agate Publishing, Barnes & Noble and you, our faithful supporters, for helping us bring the Stranger Safety Awareness Program, free of charge, to teachers, parents and students across the globe.  Our goal is to teach children what to do BEFORE a stranger approaches!

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.

Shop at Barnes & Noble to Help Support Rose Brucia on March 18th, 7pm in NYC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: 
Anjali Becker, Agate Publishing
847-475-4457 ext. 4#
becker@agatepublishing.com
 

 Author Teams Up with Barnes & Noble to Donate Proceeds from Opportunity Knocking Book Launch to The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

 

New York City—Lori Ann LaRocco, author and producer of CNBC’s Squawk Box, will host a book release party for her forthcoming title, OPPORTUNITY KNOCKING: Lessons from Business Leaders (Agate B2, 978-1-932841-87-9, $24) on March 18th at Barnes & Noble/Upper East Side (150 East 86th Street).  This event will begin at 7:00 pm, will include a presentation and book signing, and is free and open to the public.

The author will donate all royalties from the event to The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to reducing child abductions. In honor of LaRocco’s support, Barnes & Noble will also donate a percentage of March 18th purchases to the foundation. To ensure that your purchases benefit The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation, please use book fair voucher #11321908 at the checkout when you make purchases in-stores or online. The voucher will be good for online purchases through March 23rd.

Known as “the producer with the trillion-dollar Rolodex,” LaRocco knows how to get business leaders and entrepreneurs to talk. While LaRocco has worked with leaders from many different industries, she came to recognize that all leaders shared similar methods for both identifying opportunities and executing on the strategies for success.

In Opportunity Knocking, LaRocco guides readers through these methods for exploiting opportunity through her “Opportunity Pyramid.” LaRocco illustrates each level of the pyramid through an in-depth interview with a business leader whose story helps illustrate that principle. The book features interviews with Ford’s Alan Mulally, The Case Foundation’s Steve Case, BlogHer’s Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort Page, and Jory Des Jardins, as well as an introduction by Dick Armey and afterword by Wilbur L. Ross. By giving readers real-world examples and bringing them into the mindset of these successful executives, Opportunity Knocking provides a blueprint for achieving success by recognizing the right opportunities—and seizing them.

About Lori Ann LaRocco

Lori Ann LaRocco is the senior talent producer at CNBC and “C-Suite Insider” columnist for CNBC.com. She has worked at CNBC since 2000, when she was hired as one of Maria Bartiromo’s producers on Market Week. She lives outside of New York City with her husband and three children.

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.

‘Tis the Season

By Patrick M. Chierichella,

Educational Coordinator, The Rose Brucia Educationall Foundation

Let’s look at some of the advertising language that I saw in promotions used to describe this year’s cinematic presentations:

  • Spectacular! (The Hunger Games)
  • The Year’s Best Movie! (12 Years a Slave)
  • The sharpest comedy in years! (American Hustle)
  • A movie to watch for the rest of your life! (Nebraska)
  • He (She) gives the performance of a lifetime! (Choose your critic and make your pick!)

Ah, the season of excess, the yearly verbal indulgence in hyperbole! It is simply one of the ways the media uses to describe success. They know it when they see it.

I gleaned these tidbits from all the newspapers I read and scanned over the weekend. Publicity people know how to choose the correct words to help persuade the audience to take a chance and pay their hard earned cash to spend a couple of hours in the dark in a willing  suspension of disbelief in hopes of being amused, moved or frightened. It is success at the box office that drives the marketplace. Movie companies, actors, actresses, directors, distributors and movieplexes are all truly happy when the box office results for their films total several millions sometimes over 300 million dollars.

Happy! I tried to look up the derivation of the word; it is commonly thought to come from the word “hap” which means luck or good fortune. So, I guess, it is properly used with the movie industry, a good fortune is made by the studios.

Elsewhere, from an article from the New York Times on Sunday, December 15th titled, A Formula for Happiness, by Arthur C. Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute, a public policy think tank in Washington, DC, I lifted this sentence: After 40 years of research, they (social scientists) attribute happiness to these major sources: genes, events and values.

That sentence gave me pause. It set me thinking about our Foundation. How can these sources deal with issues of stranger safety awareness and child abduction? How can happy be applied to this frightful situation?

Let me try to make my case for the antonym, hapless.

As I do research on the mindset of child predators, the one thing that keeps coming to the fore is that they are wired differently than you or I. These feral, amoral beings are out there. Something happened prenatally to these people to make them the way they are. Physically they may resemble you or me. But some disturbance occurred in their brains that predisposed them to harm children. Mental illness or psychosis, it doesn’t matter. They are different. This is not excuse for the crimes they commit. They know they are committing criminal acts. They know they are pariahs. The sooner we recognize this the better we will be able to formulate programs early in our children’s educational and psychological growth that provide a touchstone for stranger safety awareness skills. Brooks notes that up to 48% of happiness is hard-wired in our genes.

Books reports: Up to an additional 40% comes from the things that have occurred in our recent past. When will the passing of a child not be the recent past for any of us?

So, let’s see if my math is correct? 40% + 48% is 88%, leaving us with up to 12% of happiness defined by our systems of values? The perpetrators of sexual assault, changing forever a child’s view of life, and those that go so far as to murder their captives have no system of values, no superego or conscience influencing their ids or their reptilian brains, that any right-thinking person can understand.

Carlie, Leiby Kletzky, and Jessica Ridgeway were all hapless, without luck or without good fortune.

But the Rose Brucia Foundation and similarly minded groups are happy or blessed to have within their membership a value system that drives them to say NO MORE! ENOUGH! NOT ON OUR WATCH!

At this time of year I want to thank all the people who are working to strengthen our children’s stranger safety awareness skills. My thanks to

  • Matt Barbis deserves any and all accolades that come his way. His vision and drive are the heart and soul of this organization. To his wife, Renee, for her belief in him.
  • Maryann Barbis does yeoman like service in keeping all our records up to date and us in contact with each other.
  • The education committee continues to work in the shadows, preparing lesson plans that align with our newest state standards.
  • Lorcan, aka Smarty Pants, and all those involved in the production of our 2nd grade set of stranger safety awareness DVD lessons
  • Mike Pepe and Charlie Comstock for stepping up to teach classrooms and auditoriums filled with eager children
  • Dr. Charlie Kolenik for his encouragement, input  and review of our lessons and opinion papers
  • The prize committee for all their hard work (and my wife for putting up with me)
  • All the volunteers, sponsors, golfers and dinner guests who made our third annual outing so successful
  • Pat Abrams and the Sarasota K9 Search and Rescue Team for reaching out to us to form an educational partnership
  • Loriann LaRocca for her powerful essays
  • All the PTA presidents and members that took our materials for school and personal use at this year’s PTA Conference in Columbus, Ohio
  • The principals and teachers and PTA’s in Great Neck, NY, and New Jersey who invited us in and then back again for repeat performances- your faith in us makes us want to do even better.

So I guess I made my own Best of 2013 without really thinking about it.

The end of the years is never complete without some resolve on our part to make ourselves and the world around us a little better. Use the video lessons. Connect to other websites and see how they deal with the issue. Ask your local PTA’s to consider having us make a parental presentation in your school. We may even be able to schedule a presentation for your children’s school. The worst they can say is NO. But at least give them the chance.

My wish for 2014 is for you and your children and grandchildren, all children to BE SAFE. See you in 2014!

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.

Live & Learn or Learn and Live?

By Patrick M. Chierichella

Educational Coordinator

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

I enjoy the Sunday edition of the New York Times. I look forward to the various sections: Arts and Leisure, Week in Review, Sports, the Magazine and Travel. But most of all, I love reading the Book Review. While I do not rush out and buy every title that catches my eye, I find that I do go to the library and look for titles to which the reviewers refer in their opinion piece. Of late, I came across a review of An Enlarged Heart by Cynthia Zarin. What struck me was the quote excerpted from her work that the reviewer boldly placed in the middle of the article. “We learn more than we ever wanted to know about things we wish we’d never heard of,” Zarin writes. THAT sentence caught my eye.

“Live and learn!”  Wasn’t that one of those adages our parents were fond of?

  • Be too trusting of a friend or even a relative – Live and learn!
  • Don’t study for a test – Live and learn!
  • Forget to fill the gas tank for that barbecue – Live and learn!
  • That used car salesman you trusted?
  • I’m sure you’ve heard these words before: “should have, could have, would have”.

You are the primary teacher of your child/children. You teach them to talk, to learn their ABC’s, to learn to count. You teach them fundamentals for sport, dance, social skills and personal hygiene. I smile when I see the car commercial in which a father is teaching his son how to throw a baseball. It is at once touching, awkward, even painful, but still a life lesson:  a father teaching a skill to his son. Isn’t it amazing how children will do their utmost to copy their parent? Do you practice EDITH (Exit Drills in the House)? I remember reviewing this strategy with my children over 35 years ago.

Do you work on this necessary awareness skill? Can your child/children describe their personal space? A simple activity such as having the child stand with arms stretched to the sides is a good start in attaining a working definition of personal space. Have the child turn in a circular path. The area contained within this circle is the child’s personal space. Show the child your personal space. Have the child compare the two areas. Kristyn  Crow blogs Activities that Teach. She proposes the following: Explain that this area is his “personal space.” Now you do the same and demonstrate “your” space. This helps the child to visualize what the space “looks” like. Now put your arms down at your sides and have your child slowly walk toward you. Tell him to stop just before he thinks he has reached the edge of your personal space. When he stops to make his guess, raise your arms out straight and slowly turn in place. If you bump him with your arm, he has to try again.

  • Ask the child who should be allowed into their personal space.
  • Ask the child a reason for letting those people into that space.
  • Impress upon the child the need to keep another person’s space from touching or overlapping his/her space, especially if the child does not know the person, be it man, woman or child.
  • Make it similar to a game of tag: you the adult are “IT” and if your personal space touches the child’s personal space, the child becomes “IT”. As the child becomes adept at avoiding being tagged, change the emphasis to increasing the time he/she avoids being tagged. This activity is simple and easily taught.

Why urge teaching young children such skills? The world changes minute by minute. Our children and grandchildren live in a world fraught with peril. In the fall of 2012, there were numerous reported incidences of attempted child abductions in Bergen County, New Jersey. In October 2012, Jessica Ridgeway was abducted and murdered in Colorado. Again, in October of 2012, Autumn Pasquale was abducted and murdered in Gloucester County, New Jersey. Recently, in Deer Park, New York, there were reported incidents of children on the way to school being approached by strangers in cars. It doesn’t stop.

This awareness teaching has to begin early and be reinforced throughout a child’s life. The odds for dire consequences are statistically long. Would any of us like to be on the losing end of a bet about our children’s safety? A friend of mine, a personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach and a member of the staff of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, always has some thought-provoking statement on her website. She quotes John Wooden:  If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

That is so applicable to the issue at hand. Our children’s safety is of paramount concern. We have to get it right!  That’s why we are here. Our special thanks to the Parkville Elementary School of the Great Neck Public School for trusting us to present our program at a PTO meeting that was attended, not only by concerned parents and teachers at the site, but also by superintendent Thomas Dolan and members of his central office administration. Our program does not succeed without the trust and support of parents such as: Maria Angelaras, president of the Parkville PTO; principal Debra Shalom and social worker Judi Kohn. They had enough faith in us to ask us to put on two performances of our introductory lessons to the pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten classes. To the staff at Parkville, a huge Thanks! After our most recent performance, a teacher approached us and applauded our efforts. I said, “I hope you will have us back.” I got the words I wanted to hear: Oh, you will be back here!

Let us help.

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.

7 Year-Old Escapes Abduction

7 Year-Old Avoids Abduction (Click on hyper link for video)

Here is a shining example of how our children can proactively learn how to handle a stranger before an encounter. 7 year-old Brittany said that she learned about getting away from a stranger in her school, “when somebody is trying to get you, you try to get away and tell somebody you can trust”.

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation provides a free Stranger Safety Awareness Program which provides important details about safety, awareness and trust. Our “Lesson Plan – One is a Lonely Number“, deals specifically with a child becoming lost in store. Please feel free to download this video and it’s lesson plan. Remember to play the video, ask specific questions to your children, and follow-up when you are at any store over the next few days. Revisit your discussion so that you really drive home the importance of your child staying very close to you in the store; point out who can be trusted in the store and locate the cashier station and the customer service desk – both can be great checkpoints in case you become separated. Stranger safety awareness can be very frightening for a parent, but our program is designed to deliver these messages in a non-threatening, fun venue to your children. Please check back to www.rosebrucia.org often to refresh these lessons.

Rose Brucia Foundation and Good Samaritan Hospital

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation is proud to announce that The Stranger Safety Program, in conjunction with The Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, has made 332 presentations; to over 45,372 children; in 34 school districts, 41 private institutions, 5 Chambers of Commerce and 1 United States Military Base!

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