Recently, I was asked to join with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to share with other parents the many helpful resources the Center provides. This is a volunteer position with an organization that I have a very strong connection with. From the emails, I know many of you have, in some way, been impacted by sexual abuse. Sadly, the statistics show that most of us know someone who has been sexually abused.
When it comes to youth sports, no story dominated the news more than what happened at Penn State. Combine that with recent news accounts from student athletes who tell stories of being sexually abused or exploited from an early age, the Safe To Compete Summit couldn’t be more timely. As parents continue to enroll their children in youth sports, the need to arm ourselves and our children with information is now. And with summer program sign-up already starting, we can’t wait when it comes to empowering our kids to stay safe.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation are hosting Safe to Compete: Protecting Child Athletes from Sexual Abuse to engage youth sports organizations, issue experts, athletes, parents, and others committed to preventing the sexual abuse of child athletes. This ground-breaking program is scheduled for March 19 & 20, and will be available to watch live. In addition, by following @MissingKids and #SafeToCompete on Twitter you will have the opportunity to connect with others and be part of the conversation.
BabyGirl is not involved in youth sports, other than going to karate class. But she is involved in programs where she is with older kids and adults, and I’m not always there. While the information presented in the Safe To Compete program will be geared toward youth sports, it is equally as applicable to any extracurricular youth activity where you are not present. We can’t be with our kids at every moment, but we can give them the tools they need to stay safe and aware.
The Safe To Compete Summit is a 2-day program. I know many of you have other time commitments during the day. However, if you’re able to watch any of the programming I know you will find it very valuable. Please share this with your friends, family and colleagues and encourage them to learn more about how we all can come together and stop these horror stories of children being abused by men and women we trust to care for our kids.
Disclosure: As an advocate for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, I am provided access to information before it is released to the public. I am not provided compensation for my advocacy, although I may be noted as a key influencer for the Center. I was not required to write about this program. All thoughts and opinions are mine. This article was not reviewed or edited by a third party. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.