We the People Protect Kids: A Strategy to Prevent & Respond to Exploitation

As I reflect on each person’s choice to support 10.18’s mission to protect kids, I am humbled. My heart is filled with deep gratitude and honor that so many have joined us in our calling to help protect children. I am writing to make public that 10.18 is expanding its reach beyond foster parents. This expansion, involves bringing awareness, training, and advocacy coaching services to any adult desiring to protect children.

Last May, at our first annual gala, so many people came up to me afterward stating, “this is so much bigger than foster care.” My response was, “I know…I just don’t know what that looks like right now.” Though our understanding in the moment was limited, there was a seed planted in our hearts. A year later, 10.18 Strategy is making a real impact. We launched two big and successful community outreach events – Summer of Love and First Wish Christmas Drive – which resulted in touching the lives of over 2,200 at-risk and endangered children.

The hope for America’s children is found in “We the People” taking action to prevent and respond to exploitation.

While we remain committed to our core task of training and coaching foster parents in advocacy. We now understand that the need goes beyond this to other persons involved in the lives of our nation’s children. It is abundantly clear that foster children are not the only ones at risk and need well-equipped adult support. The lack of preventative and advocacy training across the board is staggering. Further, we understand from federal reports that only 3% of the nearly 8 million children reported as abused each year receive protective care! This data made it abundantly clear that hope for America’s children isn’t found within the constraints of the foster care system or any other government program. The hope for America’s children is found in We the People taking action to prevent and respond to exploitation.

I have often consoled adults who were victims of abuse or witnessed it inflicted on a child. The common thread among their stories is that there was a caring adult present that did not recognize the risks or vulnerabilities of the child. Most adults simply are not trained to know how to recognize the signs of abuse or perpetrators’ manipulative and grooming behaviors. The sobering reality is that these stories and many more like them could have been prevented. These children could have been protected. Seeing this gap, 10.18 began developing our new preventative action training program, “Watchful Eye.” It is a 28-minute online and interactive training identifying some of the most crucial techniques to protect children.

After many months of prayer, research, and counsel, we felt challenged by the Lord with a question. “What would it take for every child in America to have a caring adult watch over them?” Surprisingly, the answer is not as large as you think. We will begin to unfold this strategy in the coming months as we release new brochures, an awareness video, the “Watchful Eye” training, the Open Eye Frontline Report, and a new website. All of which are building up to our 2nd Annual gala event, “Unmasking Child Exploitation Masquerade Ball” held at the Museum at Prairie Fire in Overland Park, KS on Saturday evening, October 15th, 2022. Be sure to save the date as you will not want to miss it!

Thank you all for your continued support as we continue this humbling and important work together!