Stranger Safety Awareness Week: Putting it all together

By Matthew Barbis, Founder & Chairman

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

I am writing this blog on the last day of the school week of “Rose Brucia Stranger Safety Awareness Week” in New York State.  As I assess the internet results of our blogging campaign this week, I am delighted to find that, just in the last 5 days, our free Stranger Safety Awareness Program has spiked a 60% increase in downloads.  That means that more and more parents, teachers and schools are utilizing our program to bring vital stranger safety skills to more and more children! Each time the program is downloaded, we can safely assume that yet another classroom is engaging in a thought-provoking discussion about stranger safety. Our reach grows exponentially as more teachers and schools share the program within their district.

There is a long list of people who I would like to thank for their involvement in this incredible week. Firstly, I would like to thank NY State Assemblyman Al Graf and Governor Cuomo, who are responsible for making this week a reality – your dedication has made it possible for, literally, thousands of children in the state of New York to become more aware of what they need to know before a stranger approaches.  I would like to thank my supportive Board of Directors who stand behind all the hard work and planning that goes into our everyday mission to reduce child abductions.  Of course, our program would be nothing without our Educational Coordinator, Pat Chierichella, and his extremely talented educational committee, who volunteer their valuable time and expertise to craft educationally sound lesson plans out of what,once, only seemed to be my wild imagination.  Our faithful volunteer committees work hard to plan and execute our very successful events that keep our generous supporters interested in donating to fund our video productions. Finally, our amazing staff, headed by Maryann Barbis, keep working well past their regular work week in order to continually raise the bar on what this foundation continues to deliver to children, not only in this country, but to the other 90 countries across the globe that use the Rose Brucia Stranger Safety Awareness Program.

In a world where it is necessary for adults to teach and continually remind children about the dangers that strangers may pose, it is heartwarming to know that this foundation, founded out of the loss of one child, Carlie Brucia, stands as a united front against anyone seeking to harm another innocent child.  The more people who become involved with The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation; it’s strength grows exponentially.  As the old commercial says, “they tell one friend, and they tell two friends, and so on, and so on….”. Share the Stranger Safety Awareness Program with as many friends as possible – we will keep developing the lessons to reinforce our mission to reduce child abductions.

Special thanks to David Reich-Hale and the team over at Patch.com for spreading the daily blogs this week across New York State.

carlie-brucia-rose-brucia-educational-foundation

In Loving Memory of Carlie Jane Brucia

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.

All Week Long

By Matthew Barbis, Founder & Chairman

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

With the Governor officially signing in the third week of October each year as “Rose Brucia Stranger Safety Awareness Week” in New York State, please be on the lookout for our posts on each day of this special week.  Its purpose is to bridge the gap between a casual discussion about “stranger danger” and a true educational curriculum to enhance your child’s skills when it comes to dealing with strangers.

My first thoughts on the daily blog were to highlight our top 7 stranger safety awareness tips to bring them to the forefront of conversation, while also reminding teachers in NY State that our free program is available to add to their daily lessons.  Unfortunately, today’s news on Long Island started with an eery reminder of why we do what we do.  According to News 12:

MERRICK – The Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District has alerted parents that a man tried to lure a student into his car.

The district says a man approached a Calhoun High School student on Merrick Avenue yesterday and offered a ride to the student. He continued to approach the student in his car, saying “hello” before speeding off.

The suspect is described as a man in his mid-40s with receding brownish red hair. He was wearing sunglasses, a red shirt and driving a white sedan.

I never like to use scare tactics to reinforce why it is so important for children to be properly prepared to deal with a stranger, but it is sometimes necessary to bring reality into the discussion.  This may be an opportune time for parents & teachers to speak with middle and high school children about the story of my cousin, Carlie Brucia.  She was 11 years old and on her way home from a friend’s house on Super Bowl Sunday in 2004.  As she walked home, she took a short cut off the main road, behind a car wash.  It was there that she encountered a stranger who would abduct her.  This story is not meant to scare, but meant to teach a few important concepts; the very concepts that this foundation is founded upon:

Always walk with a friend – use what we call “The Buddy System”.

Always stay visible when heading anywhere – no short cuts.

Walk with confidence – keep your head up and make eye contact with other people.

Learn how to mirror a stranger’s movements – make the identical movements they make, only in reverse. (they step toward you, you step away).

If you don’t have a driver’s license, does it make sense for someone that does to ask you for directions? Stay away from cars that approach children.

Keep in mind, these concepts may seem like common sense to an adult, but adults cannot always be with children at all times.  As children grow, they like to spread their wings and flex their independence.  It becomes important for us, as adults, to teach the proper foundation for which our children will express their independence when the time comes.  I know I look back and thank my parents, teachers and friends for helping me become the man I am today.  Let’s do the same for our next generation.

Please check back with us each day as we post a stranger safety awareness tip for “Rose Brucia Stranger Safety Awareness Week”.

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.

NY State Rose Brucia Stranger Safety Awareness Week

by Matthew J. Barbis, Founder & Chairman

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

Next Monday, October 21st, kicks off Rose Brucia Stranger Safety Awareness Week in New York State. Governor Cuomo signed in Resolution K1252-2011 declaring the week.  Here at the foundation, we are very excited to bring our free Stranger Safety Awareness Program to every elementary school in New York State.  The program has been designed, by no accident, to deliver five separate short instructional videos, each with a lesson plan, written to NY state guidelines for Health & Safety. There is one lesson for each day of this special week so that teachers may deliver vital stranger safety concepts to students so that they may practice these skills as they enjoy trick-or-treating on Halloween the following week.  Here is a copy of the resolution that you may share with your PTA president, school principal, or any NY State teacher to make them aware of the event as it unfolds:

LEGISLATIVE   RESOLUTION  memorializing  Governor  Andrew  M.  Cuomo  to
proclaim October 22-26, 2012, as Rose Brucia Stranger  Safety  Awareness
Week in the State of New York

WHEREAS, The State of New York takes great pride in recognizing official
weeks  established  to  increase awareness of serious issues that affect
the lives of all New Yorkers; and
WHEREAS, It is the sense  of  this  Legislative  Body  to  memorialize
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to proclaim October 22-26, 2012, as Rose Brucia
Stranger  Safety Awareness Week in the State of New York; each year, the
third week in October will be declared as Rose  Brucia  Stranger  Safety
Awareness Week in New York State; and
WHEREAS, The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation was founded by Matthew
J.   Barbis when his 11 year-old cousin, Carlie Brucia, was abducted and
murdered in Sarasota, Florida, in 2004; the Foundation was  named  after
Rose Brucia, Matthew’s grandmother; and
WHEREAS,  The  mission of the Rose Brucia Educational Foundation is to
reduce the number of  child  abductions  in  America  by  educating  and
empowering  young minds with the knowledge necessary to avoid abduction;
and
WHEREAS, The Rose Brucia  Educational  Foundation  so  effectively  is
carrying out its mission by spreading its vital message to all elementa-
ry school-aged children across the State of New York; and
WHEREAS,  Utilizing  puppets  and  simple self-defense techniques, the
Rose Brucia Educational Foundation provides elementary schools with  the
Rose Brucia Stranger Safety Awareness Program at no charge; and
WHEREAS,  Since  its inception, the Rose Brucia Stranger Safety Aware-
ness Program has been  welcomed  into  the  community  with  open  arms;
Matthew Barbis’s way of life was sadly changed by Carlie’s tragedy which
prompted  him to take serious action and help other children in America;
and
WHEREAS, Carlie Brucia’s story was highly publicized and today  stands
as  a call to action for families and individuals everywhere to stand up
to child predators; and
WHEREAS, It is the custom of this Legislative Body that  when  founda-
tions  of  such noble aims and accomplishments are brought to our atten-
tion, they should be celebrated and recognized by all  the  citizens  of
this great Empire State; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED,  That  this  Legislative  Body pause in its deliberations to
memorialize Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to proclaim October 22-26, 2012, as
Rose Brucia Stranger Safety Awareness Week in the State of New York; and
be it further
RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be tran-
smitted to Matthew J. Barbis, Founder, Rose Brucia  Educational  Founda-
tion.

Please feel free to view the Stranger Safety Awareness Program and share it with as people as possible to extend the reach to the far corners of the state.

www.rosebrucia.org/downloads

We will continue to provide updates as additional grades are added to the program. There are extra lesson plans provided for second-fifth grades until such video productions are made available.

Thank you for joining us on our mission to reduce child abductions in America.

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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