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.

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.

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