When you look at a child, you probably have incredible hopes for all the exciting things that will happen in that little boy or girl’s life … getting the leading role in a play … going to a great college … becoming a teacher, astronaut, or even president. And that’s how it should be.
But for those of us who have had a child ripped away or brutalized, we meet a child and think about what we don’t want to happen. At the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, we measure success in innocence, laughter and lives unharmed.
So as we end 2012, I’m grateful for every little girl who is still sleeping in her own safe bed … for every young boy who didn’t get lured away by a creep at the park … and for every teen who refused to be “friended” online by someone they never met.
By the end of this year, the National Center will have answered more than 3.7 million calls on our Toll-Free Hotline and helped reunite more than 180,000 missing children with their families.
These are numbers that make me proud. But there’s more. Because of you, millions of children are still laughing, playing and living a safer childhood.
And while I cannot thank you enough for making the lives of our nation’s kids safer, I also cannot miss out on this opportunity to ask for your continued support.
As long as there are children being stolen and abused, our work isn’t done. As long as parents face the unspeakable pain of not knowing where their children are, we must press on. As long as lowlifes lurk on the Internet waiting to prey on the innocence of a young girl or boy, we must defend our children.
The outrageous reality is that 2,000 children in America are still reported missing every day. While our job isn’t to scare people, children need parents, grandparents, teachers and other adults to be more vigilant — and that’s what we do every day at the National Center through programs like Take 25, NetSmartz Workshop, and the Jimmy Ryce Law Enforcement Training Center.
I hope that you will make a year-end contribution today to support these programs and all of the National Center’s work. Through that single action, you will help protect the childhoods of countless boys and girls across the nation — and help bring more missing children home.
Wishing you and your loved ones hope, joy and safety in 2013.