One child goes missing in the United States every 40 seconds, 24-hours-a-day, 365 days per year.
Last November, two attempted child abductions were reported in Douglas County. These incidents occurred in the Towns of Castle Rock and Parker; but children everywhere should consistently be reminded of the dangers that confront them daily.
One Castle Rock resident has donated hundreds of hours to ensure the safety of Douglas County children. Tracey Hutchison, a Level II Field Agent for Safety N.E.T. Kids and owner of Castle Rock ATA Black Belt Academy, has been conducting “Stranger Danger” safety seminars for more than three years at schools throughout Castle Rock. She recently presented the Stranger Danger program to students at American Academy in Lone Tree.
Stranger Danger is a program that educates young children about the importance of knowing what to do if they are approached, or grabbed, by a stranger and how to react in other potentially dangerous situations.
The program also clearly defines a “stranger,” explains potential warning signs and offers stranger confrontation protection. “This program is designed more for the four-to-eight-year-old,” Hutchison said. “If we target them with this information early, they will carry it with them later.”
According to Hutchison, self defense is not just physical defense, but being aware of what is going on around you. “We tell our kids – don’t talk to strangers. That is not enough anymore.” said Hutchison. “We’ve all heard and seen the news about abductions, attempted abductions, and the worst – murder of children. In the society we live in, we must further educate our children and parents.”
Hutchison offers tips for parents and recommends constant repetition of the danger of strangers.
“Talk often about what a stranger is. How can you tell the difference between a good stranger and a bad stranger? You can’t! A child’s number one defense is to yell, kick and attract attention. No compliance in this type of situation is a good thing,” said Hutchison. “Remind children that adults do not need their help with directions or finding a lost pet. Confident and prepared children are much less likely to be targeted by predators. Therefore, raising confident children is of paramount importance.”
Hutchison is currently seeking sponsors for the Stranger Danger programs. The non-profit program is supported only by her passion for protecting children. “My goal is simply to get this important information out there, with the only motivation of keeping our children safe,” said Hutchison.
To learn more about the Stranger Danger program, to have the program presented at a school, or to learn more about sponsorship opportunities, contact Tracey Hutchison at 303-663-9822 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about stranger safety can be found at www.castlerockata.com, www.safetynetkids.com, and www.kidssafenetwork.com.