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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

KEEP KIDS SAFE: Why you need to know your neighbors!

1. Connected neighbors respond in an emergency and create community for youth.
2. Disconnected neighbors allow negative people to corrupt kids. Connected neighbors can become great mentors.
3. To stay safe! Connected neighbors communicate by phone or email on changing conditions in the neighborhood.
4. When neighbors are connected and care, youth feel respected and they don’t vandalize property.
5. Connected neighbors don’t tolerate drugs, gangs or criminals. They work together & report. Ignorance is blind & deadly.
6. Connected neighbors speak up to solve minor problems and become role models for kids.
7. Connected neighbors care & correct destructive behavior before kids get out of control.

Add your ideas!

Monday, June 6, 2011

EVIL: The invisible epidemic

The Jaycee Dugard Case should alert every parent. At age 11, Jaycee was kidnapped by a predator and became a sex slave. When Phillip and Nancy Garrido were sentenced, Jaycee’s statement read, "Phillip, I have always been a thing for your own amusement. I hated every second of every day of 18 years because of you and the sexual perversion you forced on me. What you and Nancy did was reprehensible …to trick young girls for pleasure is evil."

The sad reality is, America has an epidemic of evil as cult leaders enslave followers and pimps force women into sexual slavery. Young girls like Jaycee are vulnerable as men lust over pornography, which can become an addiction. California, alone, has 63,000 registered sex offenders.

Why do men turn evil?
As a community organizer for 36 years, I have seen many adults who grew up with neglect and abuse. As children, they never learned how to handle anger, frustration and fear. They learned to manipulate, lie or bully to survive. Self-gratification became their drug of choice. Without a moral foundation or spiritual understanding of self, they shut down their conscience and victimized others to feel powerful.

Can evil be prevented?
Lack of self-awareness has created a spiritual void. Humans are spiritual beings with the power to overcome any adversity. When people know how to stay spiritually centered, they don’t overreact to negative pressures. It is critical that adults give children the tools they need to handle their emotions. Spiritually centered youth develop a self-protective conscience and inner wisdom.

Responsible parents create a network of family and friends so children have support. Children feel empowered when people listen and care. When youth see a positive direction for their life, they will not take a self-destructive path.

Three things the religious community can do to assist their community:
1. EDUCATE - Members of the religious community can send a message that failure to develop self-awareness and self-discipline can lead to misuse of sex or other addictions.
2. LISTEN - Create neighborhood "Empathy Centers." Offer the community a safe haven for people to discuss anxieties and share experiences.
3. SUPPORT - Reach out into neighborhoods and help the community connect and grow stronger. Social isolation allows evil to go unchallenged.

Jaycee Dugard and her two children, fathered by her predator, were held captive in his backyard for 18 years. Neighbors must communicate and ask questions. Connected neighbors can keep neighborhoods safe.

When the religious community helps to shine a light on evil, the invisible epidemic will be exposed. American families will grow stronger and our communities will be safer for everyone, especially children.

Stephanie L. Mann, Crime and Violence Prevention Consultant
Safe Kids Now!