I am honored to be given the opportunity to guest blog on my good friend, Stacie Rumenap’s, new blog. I have been quite busy these past few months traveling the country promoting my memoir, The Butterfly Garden, and have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people who were really touched by my book. The Butterfly Garden chronicles my own metamorphosis from victim to victim’s advocate, of discovering a new purpose in life — to help prevent children from facing the very nightmare I faced as a child. It is truly an honor to say that recently my book was named as a Top 100 Best Seller.
Mastering the demons of the past and transforming that energy into passion to truly make a change for the future has led to my work over the years as an ardent child advocate, and most recently to the creation of The St Clair Butterfly Foundation. With principles based upon my memoir, the foundation brings the power of the arts and literature to the lives of children – children who face adversity in many forms, and who often find themselves despairing and without hope. The St. Clair Butterfly Foundation provides access to critical programs designed to heal the hurt through music, art, and literature, and instills in every child everlasting hope and the ability to realize their dreams. In addition to our legislative initiatives and community outreach programs, our collaborative efforts with other dedicated child advocacy organizations like Stop Child Predators are paramount in realizing our common goal of a safer world for our children.
Stacie and I have worked on some important child safety issues throughout the years. I was excited when I heard that Stop Child Predators was launching their new Internet Safety campaign, Stop Internet Predators. The Internet is a wonderful way to keep in touch with those that are far away or have information literally at your fingertips, but it is important to keep in mind that the Internet can very easily be misused. We’ve already seen the potential for abuse with social networking websites like Facebook and MySpace. Predators have used these sites to get to children and so it is imperative we ensure that our children and families are educated on ways to keep safe online.
Google’s Street View is yet another example of an Internet application that was created for noble reasons but has the potential for child predators to misuse. It is essential to take a pro-active stance when it comes to Internet Safety and I applaud the efforts of Stop Internet Predators in doing just that.
Gandhi said, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” We may have a long road ahead of us as a society, but with those words in mind, it is clear that each of us can play an important role in the outcome. I encourage all who read this to first believe you can make a difference, then to find out ways you can become involved and ‘Be the Change’!