Pass/Fail

By Patrick Chierichella, Educational Coordinator

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

Questions are posed by students that never fail to amaze me: Is this on the test? Why do I have to learn this? (As a counterpoint I found the following bit of information incredible: At 88, on his deathbed Michelangelo’s supposed last words were, “ancora imparando”- “I’m still learning”). Can you tell me when I’m gonna use this in real life? How can you expect us to know this stuff? Do these sound familiar to you in your role as parent, guardian and educator? Children are nothing save pragmatic. Every kernel of Science, English, Social Studies, Math, and so forth must have a practical purpose. Students focus during review classes; they attend extra help sessions. Inevitably one or two will say upon receiving their grades, I studied the wrong stuff.

Parents like numerical grades. Numbers give them that grit, that meat, that concrete evaluation of performance. So do letter grades. However proud my dad was of my report card, he would always add a caveat: There’s room for improvement. And so, the next day would begin the quest to repeat or improve my scholastic skills.

Robert Fulghum, author of Everything I Needed to Know I learned in Kindergarten, suggested these basic ideas among others are the underpinnings of what enables us to grow, thrive and survive.

Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. Live a balanced life–learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned–the biggest word of all–LOOK. (And there are no exams!)

These beliefs are simple, commonsensical, in and of themselves harmless, written in a feel good way that captured people’s psyches. It vaulted to the top of the New York Times best seller list in 1989. That was almost 30 years ago. The world appeared simpler and safer.

Real life, as students like to call it, will provide situations for them that leave no room for improvement. It is one thing to study for a quiz, a unit exam, a practical, or a final and receive a numerical or letter grade. It is a totally different evaluation when a stranger attempts to enter a child’s personal space; there is only one chance without possibility of a retest: it is Pass or Fail. This test can be taken at any time in anyone’s lifetime. Just scan the news for the past months and read the ages of those encountering sexual predators: preteens, teenagers, and college-aged students!

In Robert Fulghum’s list, certain words stand out in relation to stranger safety awareness: Watch out; Stick together; and LOOK. Awareness is learned more by copying a parent’s behavior than by a structured lesson in a classroom. Emphasizing the Buddy System is not only smart in school hallways but when allowing a child freedom of movement to visit friends or playgrounds. Playing games such as I spy with my little eyes from an appropriately early age develop a keener sense of one’s surroundings. The emphasis on who might enter a child’s personal space cannot be overemphasized. Fulghum’s view, Don’t take things that aren’t yours, might be used as a discussion starter between parent and child concerning invasion of personal space. This all comes down to preparation for a test, possibly a once in a lifetime test, that a child must PASS.

People are welded to the present. In the here and now a person must act. Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at the Wharton School of Business, wrote in a book review for the New York Times, Since you’ll never have enough information to make the best choice, all you can do is make the best of the choice you’ve made. The task as parents, guardians and educators is to engagingly, quietly, and assuredly prepare our children as best we can for something we hope never happens. A former peer loved to opine the five P’s: Prior planning prevents poor performance.

WATCH OUT! STICK TOGETHER! LOOK! Well stated.

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.

Countdown to Summer – Important Summer Stranger Safety Tips

By Matthew Barbis, Founder & Chairman

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

Summer is almost upon us. Here are a few tips to review with your children to help them stay safer as the days get longer:

  • Remind your children that they are never to go anywhere with a stranger – no matter the reason.
  • Create a secret word to share with your child that will only be used if you send someone other than yourself to take them anywhere. If the stranger cannot tell your child the secret word, your child is immediately to run to a trusted adult.
  • Always use the buddy system. Your child should always have a friend with them whether they are riding their bicycle, walking to the park or even hanging out in the front yard.
  • Beware strangers in cars, trucks or SUV’s offering rides. 

The moral of this story is for your child to never go anywhere with a stranger. Summer is a fun time to be enjoyed with friends – the more, the merrier!

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

One of the most effective techniques that you may use to help reduce the possibility of your child going with someone who you do not approve would be to establish a secret word.

The secret word is a word that you and your child agree upon to be the code word that will be used if someone other than you attempts to take them anywhere. Some important tips when establishing your secret word:

  1. Make certain that the word is easily remembered by your child but not something that will be obvious to others.
  2. Keep the secret word completely secret from everyone except those that will use the word with your permission when you cannot be there to pick up your child.
  3. Explain the importance of your child NEVER sharing their secret word with their friends. This word is meant for parents exclusively.
  4. Teach your child that you will only share that word with someone else when they are unable to be there to pick up your child.

Please feel free to share the following video with all your friends, parents, teachers and children with the goal of encouraging all to establish a secret word as soon as possible.

Remember, in a study by the Department of Justice: In 8,000 failed child abductions attempts over the last 8 years, 83% of the time the child escaped because the child knew what to do!

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.

What’s Old Is Nothing New

By Matthew Barbis,

Founder & Chairman, The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

Welcome to 2016! A new year with new possibilities and new directions! Out with the old and in with the new! If only that were the case with attempted child abductions.

As I write this blog on January 12, 2016, there have been 5 child abduction attempts within the last 12 days on Long Island alone. Luckily, they all had one thing in common…they were only ATTEMPTED. In all cases, the children knew not to go with the stranger. If you review every blog I have ever written, you will see a common message over and over again. Speak with your children. Teach them what to do BEFORE a stranger approaches. Check out our free videos. Encourage your local PTA organization to have our free program of videos and already prepared lesson plans added to your elementary school’s curriculum. Repeat those steps over and over. I sound like a broken record (and I want to).

Here is a refresher course for the new year:

Define the word STRANGER: Any person that you do not know.

Advise your child to NEVER trust or go somewhere with a STRANGER.

Discuss with your child that it is ok to speak with STRANGERS because not all STRANGERS are bad – but there is never any reason to go with a STRANGER, no matter their story.

Show your child that a STRANGER may lie to them or try to trick them.

Beware of STRANGERS bearing gifts – remind your child that you rarely get something for nothing.

It’s not about scaring your child. It’s all about educating your child about reality. The world is a wonderful place with incredible possibilities. Let’s limit one of the negative possibilities by giving your child an edge.

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.

Stranger Safety Awareness Week is Coming…

By Matthew Barbis, Founder & Chairman

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

The third week in October in New York State has been designated “Rose Brucia Stranger Safety Awareness Week” by NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo in Resolution K 1252-2011.  To gear up for this very important week, we will be posting various public service announcements, free video lessons, free lesson plans and blogs that can be shared by all to help educate children about what to do BEFORE a stranger approaches.  Please check our website at http://www.rosebrucia/.org, follow us on twitter at @strangersafety , and like us on facebook .

Here is the first of many public service announcements by the actor and child safety advocate who kicked off our celebrity Rose Brucia Stranger Safety Awareness Campaign: Kevin Sorbo!

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.

 

 

Back to School Stranger Safety

By Matthew Barbis, Founder & Chairman

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

We recently traveled down to Sarasota, Florida to teach our latest lesson on Stranger Safety Awareness to the residents of the city where Carlie Brucia was abducted back in 2004.  The back to school event, sponsored by AutoNation, was to help bring more awareness to students as they ended the summer and prepared to get back into the school year.  Although Carlie’s abduction was extremely personal to me and many of her hometown residents, the occurrence of child abductions has started to have happier endings since 2004.  When the Department of Justice examined the latest 8,000 failed child abductions, they discovered that 83% of the time the child escaped because the child knew what to do to escape.

Firstly, I don’t know about you, but the first thing that stands out about that statistic is that there have been 8,000 attempted abductions of late.  This number scares the heck out of me since I am in the business of reducing child abductions.  I hear time and again on news interviews, other “experts” touting that child abductions by strangers are very rare and you have a very small chance of that ever happening to your child.  Well, I have news for these “experts”:  It did happen to my family. The effect was DEVASTATING.  It was very real to us and the entire community where it occurred and you should make it a priority to at least introduce your child to the concepts of stranger safety awareness.  Over 21,000 children under the age of 18 are abducted annually by a complete stranger according to the U.S. Department of Justice.  This number is extremely serious and extremely real.  You can do something to help your children – go to http://www.rosebrucia.org/downloads and start watching the free videos with your children and follow the suggestions presented by certified teachers who volunteer their expertise on behalf of your child’s safety.

Secondly, 83% of the last 8,000 attempted abductions have had a positive outcome because the child knew what to do!  I love it! It shows we are making progress. The entire reason this foundation exists is to teach children what to do BEFORE a stranger approaches.  Keeping children thinking about the fact that a stranger belongs at arm’s length and not to be treated as a long-lost friend will only benefit them as they gain independence as they age.

Here are a few tips as your child returns to school:

1) Define the word STRANGER: Any person that you do not know.

2) Advise your child never to go anywhere with a STRANGER.

3) Remind your child that STRANGERS may lie to get your child to trust or like them.

4) Teach your child to use the BUDDY SYSTEM and never go anywhere alone.

5) Establish a SECRET WORD with your child – tell them that anyone who claims to be sent by you to pick them up MUST state the word in order for them to go anywhere with that person.

Many thanks to Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, for taking the time to bring The Stranger Safety Awareness Program to the community of Sarasota, Florida.  We were honored to be invited! Please feel free to share our free program at http://www.rosebrucia.org on our free curriculum page with your local PTA, elementary school or Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts program – we have no restrictions on copying and sharing.

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.

 

“There’s nothin’ can harm you…”

By Patrick Chierichella, Educational Coordinator

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

Haunting, hypnotic, evocative the seminal aria, Summertime, composed by George Gershwin in 1935 for Porgy and Bess, stays wondrously intoxicating today as we look forward with anticipation to the languorous warmth of summer 2014.

One of these mornings you’re gonna rise up singing

Then you’ll spread your wings and you’ll take to the sky.

Until that morning, there’s nothin’ can harm you

With your daddy and mammy standing by.

Sweet, poignant, tinged with an undercurrent of melancholy these lyrics evoke for parents and guardians the natural yet wistful passage of a child into self-reliant adult.

Wait a second there, my friends! Snap out of your reverie! Here come the daunting tasks that are today’s requirements for any child’s chance at educational and vocational success.

State tests, finals, placements discussions, Committee on Special Education hearings, teacher evaluations are just a few of the stressors that parents, children and educators annually face, leaving all but the hardiest drained and looking forward to those “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.”

Jeff Smink, VP for policy of the National Summer Learning Association, published the article, This is Your Brain on Summer Break on July 27, 2011. He noted a summer off is one of the important causes of underachievement. A RAND Corporation report from June 2011 posited each student sustaining an average mathematics and reading loss of one month per year. Moreover, the loss is cumulative! According to the website, Think/Stretch, students lose 2 to 3 months of knowledge every summer! Within such articles you will also find proposals for at least SIX additional summer weeks of instruction for all students. Yikes!!!

Wasn’t there a last day of school rhyme? No more pencils, no more books, no more…

We know true learning is built up layer by layer, year after year; whether that schooling entails large, grand concepts or simple everyday minutiae that add some clarity to our mental construct about living, learning, readin’, writin’ and ‘rtithmetic (Was it all so simple then? Weren’t THOSE the days?), some data is making its way through our senses into our cerebral processing unit.

As parents and guardians there is an overwhelming amount on your daily plate. Selfishly, we here at The Rose Brucia Education Foundation, ask that you also continue to work on refining and developing the stranger safety skills we have emphasized this year. Our goal is to make a child’s behavior as instinctual as possible, to prevent that momentary freeze that allows an amoral person, harboring a truly feral humanoid beast within their hearts to enter a child’s personal space, to plant a seed of excitement for a free gift, to get a child to willingly enter that stranger’s car, to cajole a child, to dupe a child into helping find that fictitious lost pet. We want a learned habit to become an instant reflex. We need to make our children proficient in withstanding the magnetic, perverse allure of those who would visit evil on them.

We ask you to talk with your child(ren) about what you mean by the term reaction, how many reactions are instilled before birth-responses to hot, cold, to touch, to itch, to blinking to name a few. Talk about learned responses-leaves of three, let them be, how a puppy can be trained, whatever comes to mind. Work on a child’s awareness of his or her surroundings. If we take them to a movie theater and the theater is required by law to identify the location of fire exits, then shouldn’t we work on developing a natural exit from the advance of an unknown stranger into our children’s play space?

Ask your children to describe the hallway they just walked down in your home. Ask them to describe what is on a shelf behind them. Rearrange the items the next day and ask what is different. Ask them to state the color of your neighbor’s cars. Work up to ever more inclusive or exclusive queries.

Psych, a show about a supposed psychic detective, relied upon the hero’s skill as a talented observer of all he saw. In flashback sequences, the hero’s father would demand the son focus and tell him exactly what he had just seen.   Imagine you and your child at Mickey D’s, DQ, or any fast food restaurant.  Ask questions about the room and its occupants: How many people were working behind the counter? What color were their uniforms? How many tables were occupied? How many people were sitting alone? You get the point. But, remember, the kids will in turn ask you questions. Be ready!  Silly?  Perhaps. Complicated? If you make it so. Just get them to focus, to be on their toes.

Instill the basic rules for safety but reinforce how truly important they are for the summer months. Redefine and strengthen your family concepts of trust and the reasons you want your children to give their trust to someone. Work again on the idea of personal space.

Please practice the Stranger Safety Awareness skills presented to your children during the simple lessons provided by RBEF.

  • 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.

There’s nothin’ can harm you

Let’s make it so! 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.

 

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