Wish you were here!

By Patrick M. Chierichella, Educational Coordinator

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

Luddite : noun, a person opposed to new technology or ways of working.

Lurker:  noun, a person who lurks, in particular a user of an Internet message board or chat room who does not participate; an observer.

In terms of fashion or technology, my family claims I am woefully behind the times in both areas. They joke I purchased a leisure suit on the last day it was in style. Similarly, they point out how I refused for years to use a cell phone. I hated (and still hate) the ability and/or need for anyone to attain instantaneous contact with another person at any given moment. Over time, I begrudgingly accepted my conversion to the utility of messaging.

I confess that former Luddites can and do regress. It’s like a flare up of a dormant disease. I know it’s 2019. Adapt or face the consequences. Yet I find comfort in my belief that there is something so incredible, so undeniably creative about putting pen in hand and pen to paper, structuring your thoughts to reach out and communicate, connect to another in so reflective and personal a manner. The written word! The letter! The postcard! The POSTCARD?

When was the last time you sent or received a postcard from a relative or friend? Remember the frequent message inscribed on them? Wish you were here.

My wife has shown me the visual postcards she scrolls through on her Facebook page. I read in my mind their electronic inscriptions: Look here. See me. Some draw smiles. Others make me shake my head in disbelief. Since I offer no comments, I realize I am a lurker.

My wife has shared beautiful postings celebrating life: its love, humor, tenderness, longing, accomplishments. I have viewed posts of families celebrating the passages we all wish to commemorate. Look, there’s the newborn, the toddler, the first day of school. There’s someone with their BFF, at their prom, their high school graduation, all grown up with their parents and grandparents. They all seem to say to me, Don’t you wish you were here? How plaintive these moments in time must seem to the families such as the Brucias.

It is ironic that the first platform for Facebook (available only to students at Harvard University) debuted on February 4, 2004, three days after Carlie’s abduction. Her social media presence will always be missing.

February 1, 2019 is the fifteenth anniversary of Carlie’s passing. Wish you were here, Carlie.

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.

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.

Imagine This: Part 4 and final lesson of 4

By Patrick Chierichella, Educational Coordinator

The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation

R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Something that’s given or is it earned? Adults develop many ways of defining and bestowing respect on others. For children, it is more than likely to be a question of responding to an adult’s authority.

Childhood is a time when we see such tremendous changes in a child’s size, strength, agility, thinking skills, and socialization.

According to Marlene Dalley, “Most abductors are usually highly skilled in the art of manipulation. More simply expressed, in order to be successful, they must lower the children’s inhibitions or make them afraid of the consequences if they do not comply”.

In Missing Children: A psychological approach to understanding the causes and consequences of stranger and non-stranger abduction of children, James N. Tedisco, an Albany area New York State assemblyman and psychologist Dr. Michele Paludi wrote, “They (abductors) use seduction techniques, competition, peer pressure, motivation techniques, and threats to get children to comply with their requests to engage in sex, steal, abuse drugs, or participate in prostitution or pornography”.

Further, they write, “Children often believe that they can easily identify an abductor –someone who is sinister and offers ‘goodies’ . . . children are taught to respect adults, especially adults’ authority, and to only talk to people who look ‘nice’.  Children that are more vulnerable to stranger abductions are the quiet, thoughtful ones; children who appear to have special and intense needs for adult affection and approval”.

Psychology professor at Nicholls State University, Dr. Monique C. Boudeaux’s research has included child abduction and homicide, and child victimization. In a 2001 article she noted, “Child victimization appears to be quite dependent on the age of the victim and the motivation of the offender. Offenders generally select victims that hold some kind of significance to them…Routine activities most often bring potential victims and offenders together. Crime is most often a result of interactions between motivated offenders, available targets, and lack of vigilant guardianship to prevent crime . . . often, it is this vulnerability, coupled with ease of access that is apparent to offenders and serves to elevate their interest in children as desirable prey”.

Dr. Boudreaux writes of John Walsh saying he wished both he and his wife had “spent more time encouraging my son (Adam) to respect his safety instead of respecting adults’ authority”. Further he says, “If I had taught him to scream, he might be alive now.”

Obviously, research shows that these predators do their homework. We just have to do ours better.

Imagine This! Part IV: I Can’t Believe How You Have Grown!

You paint this picture for your child: Playing in front of our house or just down the block, you hear someone (a man or a woman) call out to you. You hear your name and look at the person. You see they are neatly dressed. The person calls out your name again, smiles at you while shaking his/her head slowly side to side. You hear, “It is you. My, you have gotten so big. I can remember when your father called to tell me how proud he was to be a daddy. And your mom? She told me how she cried happy tears when she held you for the first time.” The person walks closer and closer to you.

These are a few questions to discuss with your child:

  • What is your first reaction to hearing your name and our names? Do you stop to listen to the person?
  • Since they know your name, do you talk with them?
  • Since they know my name, do you talk to them?
  • What if the person tells you he/she is looking for our address?
  • What is mirroring?
  • What is personal space? How big is your personal space?

It is a truly worrisome to realize that in this day and age a parent needs to take time to develop a stranger safety awareness strategy for his/her family. I hope these few scenarios have helped underscore your own awareness philosophies.

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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