If you build it…

By Patrick Chierichella, Educational Coordinator

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

We are nearing the end of “Rose Brucia Stranger Safety Awareness Week” in New York State and I must let all of you out there, who have accessed our site to download our materials, know how gratified all of us at the Foundation are for your support. We can speak plainly or yell from mountaintops, but unless YOU are picking up our message, all our efforts will be in vain.

When you spend so much time in developing lessons for our Stranger Safety Awareness Program, you find yourself searching all media for potential teachable moments. The sorrowful realization is that when you find such a moment, it will be a report about some reprehensible action perpetrated on a child by an amoral individual or group.

The various media reported an incident in which a 13-year old runaway became property for a group selling sexual favors from her.

A child is approached by a stranger in a car as she is on her way to school on Long Island today.

In the movie Prisoners, the mother of an abducted child vehemently says to her husband, “You made me feel safe”. Left unsaid: Look what you let happen! Why was she berating him? Was she caught up in assigning blame him?

At The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation, we realize there is no magic bullet to make every child or teen or adult safe from sexual predators. We do know that a consistent message from parents, schools and other social groups is necessary for a reduction in child abductions to become reality.

Practice the Stranger Safety Awareness skills presented in the simple lessons provided by The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation. Construct your family’s stranger safety awareness program with these materials/suggestions.

  • Ensure your children know who strangers are.
  • Practice the correct and safe way to deal with strangers at the door.
  • Select a secret word/password for identification of trusted adults or teenagers by your children.
  • Instill the proper way of dealing with being lost at the mall or in a big store.
  • Go over the proper response to an emergency.
  • Model the mirroring technique for maintaining a safe distance from a stranger.

We, here at the Foundation, believe that forewarned is forearmed. We also see our lessons as a potential gateway for increasing communication between parent and child. It matters little to ignore this life-altering, life-threatening issue of child abduction. You cannot whistle in the dark to alleviate your anxiety.  As the old song says, “Teach your children well”.

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.

It’s All About TRUST!

By Matthew Barbis, Founder & Chairman

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

One key component of The Stranger Safety Awareness Program is centered around the word “Trust”.  When we dissect the word “Trust”, you can see that the word is held together by the letters “u” & “s”.  Our Educational Coordinator, Patrick Chierichella, likes to point out that when you examine the word “Trust”, you can see a bridge created by “us”.  Pat concludes that without “us”, meaning the two people involved, you and me, there can be no trust – it takes both of “us” to trust one another.  A bond needs to be formed.  Before you can trust someone, some type of relationship needs to be established.

In our very first lesson of The Stranger Safety Awareness Program, we discuss the need for a formal introduction.  In early childhood, these introductions are controlled by our parents.  Later, as we go to school, proper introductions take on a less formal nature since our teachers introduce us to new students. Trust becomes implied through the school atmosphere.  The same type of progress exists in our personal life, as we meet new people, ie. distant cousins, next-door neighbors, friends around the block, and friends in the neighborhood.

Take the time to review a few important items with your children:

Practice making a formal introduction with your child. Pretend that you do not know each other and state your name, and extend your hand to handshake.

After your introduction, you now introduce your child to a third person. Again, pretending is key here, since you are doing this in a safe, controlled environment.

Explain to your child that now that Mom & Dad have introduced you to that person, they may now start to trust that person.

Also explain to your child what SPECIFICALLY they may trust about that person. Remind them that though you trust that person, they are not to go with that person without your permission.

Finally, explain to your child that if they are not formally introduced to a person from someone who you have established trust – that person is a STRANGER.

A STRANGER is someone who they do not know, haven’t been formally introduced to and can NEVER be trusted!

This activity will open the door to further communication. Encourage your child to ask you more questions. Questions such as “why can’t I trust a stranger”? will give you the opportunity to explain that not all strangers are dangerous, but all strangers are not to be trusted if they ask your child to go someplace with them or help them in some way or approach their car, etc.  The more questions and imagination that your child brings into the discussion, the better you can prepare them for a potentially dangerous encounter with a stranger.  Remember, the purpose of The Stranger Safety Program is to teach children what to do BEFORE a stranger approaches.  Since you are the very first person that your child has ever trusted, this activity is best taught to them by 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.

The Secret Word

By Matthew Barbis, Founder & Chairman

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

“Innocence is always unsuspicious”Joseph Joubert

That is a quote that rings loudly in my head as I write today’s blog to kick off the first school day of “Rose Brucia Stranger Safety Awareness Week” in New York State.  It drives home two very profound thoughts that motivate all the volunteers at The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation.  One, that children are probably only innocent for a very short time in today’s society.  It is difficult for parents to maintain their innocence with constant bombardment of advertising and a continual feed of “information” available through the media and the internet.  Two, due to their innocent nature, it is very easy for a child to fall victim to circumstance.  As somber as that sounds, we strive to maintain innocence in children for as long as possible – the world is tough enough without having to thrust them into adulthood prematurely. Enough philosophy – let me get to the point.

Since children may be tricked into a dangerous situation if their parents aren’t around, here’s what we can teach them without having to scare them.  Creating a secret word with your child can be the key to making sure they may not be tricked into going with someone they should not.  This will work outside the realm of stranger safety for it is very simple.  If the child is not told the secret word, they do not go with that person.

Parents: Sit down with your child and create your very own secret word.  It is a word that only you and your child will know. It is very important that you stress that they do not tell ANYONE this word.  It will only be told to them, never the other way around.  Once you have created it, teach your child that they will only hear this word if you cannot come to pick them up somewhere.  You will be the only person in the world that can share this word and you will only do it in an emergency.  Practice with them to show different circumstances where the word would be used.  Now, no one will be able to tell your children that you were in an accident and that they sent that person to pick them up; they won’t fall for the stranger offering them a ride to school; they even won’t fall for a familiar person trying to trick them.

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.

It’s almost Halloween….

By Matthew Barbis, Founder & Chairman

October is a great month! Children are back into the swing of things at school, the weather starts to change, and of course, Halloween is right around the corner! If you happen to live in New York State, the week before Halloween has been declared “Rose Brucia Stranger Safety Awareness Week” by Governor Cuomo.  This special week is the perfect opportunity for your local elementary school to use the free Stranger Safety Awareness Program which consists of instructional videos and corresponding lesson plans, one for each day of the week, leading up to the most important stranger safety awareness event of the year…Halloween!

Here is a look at one of the videos which actually speaks to children about what to do to stay safe on Halloween.

Please familiarize your children with a few basic stranger safety tips before you and they head out to trick-or-treat this year:

Do not go trick-or-treating alone. Bring someone with you and use the buddy system

Never go to houses that are not well-lit

Try not to wander ahead of your group even though you are excited

Always have an adult check your treats before you eat them

If a stranger does approach you, move away from them immediately – run to a trusted adult

Halloween is all about having fun.  Take some time to reinforce these tips so that you can be especially sure it will be the best yet!

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.

 

 

Location! Location! Location!

By Patrick M. Chierichella

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation 

            Located along the banks of the Ohio River, Cincinnati boasts a metropolitan area population over 2.1 million people. [Read more…]

Disarming Deception- Lessons Learned from Castro Kidnappings- How to Protect Your Children

by Lori Ann LaRocco

Board of Directors,

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

The chilling new details on how Castro kidnapped Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus left me so angry I had to call my dear friend and founder of the Rose Brucia Educational Foundation, Matt Barbis.

The promise of a puppy for Michelle Knight’s toddler’s son turned my blood cold. “It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book.” Matt agreed in disgust.

Channel surfing on satellite radio, I was listening to CNN and in one of their reports they reenacted how a kidnapper can use a puppy to lure children. Unfortunately the actor “kidnapper” was successful.

One of the very first lessons Rose Brucia created years ago was on the puppy scenario:  https://rosebrucia.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/the-stranger-update.mov

Here is the lesson plan you can use to help further empower and educate your children: https://rosebrucia.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/news-report-update-the-stranger-lesson-plan.pdf

Sadly, the kidnappings of Berry and DeJesus was just another tool used by the sick and depraved- familiarity. Both Berry and Dejesus knew him. But just because you are familiar with someone doesn’t mean you get in a car with them. Here is where the “Safety Word” comes in.  Do you have a safety word with your children? Its a word only you and your kids know and if someone other than yourself is going to pick them up, they need to know it. If not, the child does not get in the car.  Again, another lesson RB has been teaching for years.  Here is the link to the video: https://rosebrucia.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/stranger-safety-is-no-joke-lesson-plan.pdf

Rose Brucia continues to add school districts to their roster of practicing stranger safety and the push in Washington continues, albeit I recently got another round of lip flap of promises.

Matt’s 11 year old cousin, Carlie, may physically be gone from this world, her life taken by the hands of a monster, but her spirit lives on in this organization by the people who continue to educate children on the tricks strangers use and how to safely get out of an attempted abduction through techniques like mirroring.

Matt Barbis and Pat Chierichella (Educational Coordinator) recently performed a stranger safety class at Hidden Acres Equestrian Facility in West Milford, New Jersey to 18 children, ranging from ages 7-13.  When Matt told the story of his cousin’s abduction to the older kids in a special session, one of the girl’s lips started to tremble. It’s a cold reality kids need to know.

As a parent of three children, I want to empower my kids, make them not only book smart but street smart as well. All too often, in this politically correct world we live in, our children are presented with a rosier picture of the world. This does not help them. It makes them vulnerable. It’s time to take off the rosie colored glasses and see what kind of world we live in. There are sick monsters out there both online and on our streets. The time is now to sit down with our kids and  give them the tools to be safe.

Deception can be disarmed- with knowledge.

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.

Time to Stand Up for the Innocent

by Lori Ann LaRocco, Board of Directors, The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

This morning I was on Facebook and read a heartbreaking story of Cherish Perrywinkle, an 8 year old Florida girl who was shopping in a store with her mom and was abducted and murdered.

It’s stories like this that drove me to become part of the Rose Brucia Educational Foundation. The organization provides free stranger safety education to schools and parents around the world. One of my friends from Junior High, Matthew Barbis created the organization after his 11 year old cousin Carlie Brucia was abducted and murdered on her way home in Sarasota. Her abduction was the first ever caught on tape and created national headlines.

What I have found during my time on the board is my growing frustration with the educational and political system in this country to get such a program in place at schools. The U.S. Department of Education met with Matt and Patrick Chierichella, Rose Brucia’s Educational Coordinator a couple of years ago and they said they love the program but they can’t suggest schools in putting it in? Why not? We have the ‘no child left behind’ mandate?

I’ve personally met with Governors like Scott Walker who were interested in the program only to have the foundation knock their head against a cement wall with his lower level government workers who wouldn’t return calls or emails. A bi-partisan House Resolution created by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WY) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) to declare a stranger safety day has been sitting in the Judiciary Committee for two years now. I was told by several of my hill contacts the reason is not only because the House decided not to pass anymore resolutions because of the flagrant abuse of passing hundreds but because “We haven’t done anything in years and we don’t want to catch flak that we are passing honorary days instead of working…. Like sitting down with the senate and passing a budget.” Sigh, even our kid’s safety are caught up in the disfunction of Washington.

The time is now to protect our kids. Spread the word on how we can keep our kids safe. You don’t have to be an educator to teach these tips to your kids. The videos and the how-to’s are all there for you broken down. I’m’ Lori Ann LaRocco and I practice stranger safety with my kids- do you?

To start practicing stranger safety with your children, please visit www.rosebrucia.org/downloads today

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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