Monday, March 12, 2007

Beyond FUN: The Safe Side

Children are abducted and abused and worse. It’s a terrifying reality. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, more than 2,000 (!) children are reported missing every day. So consider this a non-diversity, non-tolerance, sit-up-and-take-notice public safety announcement for grandparents, parents, guardians, aunts uncles babysitters teachers… anyone who cares for or about a child.

The Safe Side, a unique supporter of the NCMEC, publishes materials for home and school use designed to help keep kids safe. Founders Julie Clark (also founder of the Baby Einstein Company) and John Walsh (host of America’s Most Wanted) have teamed up to provide a line of products that promote safety awareness among children. My girls’ favorite is their Stranger Safety DVD starring the very hip, kid-friendly (but still a kinda-know!), and fall-down funny Safe Side Superchick, actress and filmmaker Angela Shelton. The video teaches safety tips that kids can immediately put into action, like not answering the door alone. My girls also love practicing the “This is not my mom! This is not my dad!” yell. And after watching the video they seem to take even more time to carefully assess strangers. (“Are they a don’t-know or a kinda-know? Hmmmm.”)

Only after watching the video with my kids a few times did I learn Angela Shelton has her own intense story of childhood abuse that adds incredible weight to her work as an advocate for children and women who’ve been abused. The Angela Shelton Foundation provides financial assistance to organizations and projects dedicated to helping survivors of abuse “heal and lead joyful lives.” According to its website, the foundation “was born out of the on-going and remarkable response to the documentary, Searching for Angela Shelton. With the intent of humorously surveying women in America, Angela Shelton drove around the country to meet other Angela Sheltons. She discovered that 70% of the 40 Angelas she spoke to had been victims of rape, childhood sexual abuse or domestic violence, herself included.”

That was just the beginning of filmmaker and actress (and model and public speaker and writer) Angela Shelton’s new life. Through her foundation, presentations, and blog, she reaches out to women like herself who’ve endured atrocities and are struggling to overcome them so they can “lead joyful lives.” And as Safe Side Superchick, she helps kids stay safe in a fun, joyful way, too.


Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

One more note: Baby Einstein and The Safe Side are based in my town of Lone Tree, CO! How cool is that? And Julie Clark isn't planning to retire any time soon. I'll be sure to highlight her new project in the near future. K.

9:28 AM  

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