Social media has changed the world on so many levels. As bloggers, with access to the internet and social media sites we are in the position to get messages out to individuals worldwide, in a way that just wasn’t possible years ago. Knowing this, it’s not hard to understand why Peter Thomas Senese and the I CARE Foundation began a ‘parenting blogger outreach program’ requesting assistance in raising awareness of international parental child abduction. Raising awareness to save children’s lives! Advocates know that the most important part of any advocacy program is raising social awareness and educating…. in the case of parental child abduction, it’s about educating parents.
Peter Thomas Senese, the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation, along with Carolyn Vlk and Attorney Joel Walter, released an update of ‘Crisis In America‘, which shares data showing a decline in the rate of reported parental abductions in the United States during 2012. Yes, I said DECLINE!! As one of those parenting bloggers that have been working with the I CARE Foundation in their efforts to raise awareness, this is amazing news! To see the efforts of a team of child advocates and what a difference they can make… it’s truly inspiring!
I haven’t always been an advocate, but once my son was diagnosed with autism, I was quickly thrown into that world. I had to learn the most effective way to advocate for him in society… if I didn’t do it, who would? I advocate for my son to ensure that his voice is heard, when and where it needs to be, and through my blogging, every once in a while I am able to help another family realize that they have the ability and the right to give their child the voice that they deserve.
In today’s world, it’s easy for a person to look at the ‘bigger picture’ and think that their voice doesn’t matter, but it does! Until the last year, ‘my voice’ advocated on a small scale, mainly for my son… but through working with Peter Thomas Senese and the I CARE Foundation, I have realized that my voice matters on a larger scale too. Much more than I could have ever imagined… and so does yours! Standing on your own, or with a group, your voice matters!
As far as my advocacy efforts related to parental child abduction goes, being a part of change… change that is protecting children… change that is saving lives… well, that’s pretty cool! Seeing the data related to the decline in parental abductions… the numbers tell a story! As far as advocating for my son, I don’t see statistics, but that’s alright, because I know in my son’s life, I am making a difference and it is important for his future. As he matures he will learn to self-advocate – as he does sometimes – and he too will find his voice, though sometimes I think he already has!
A couple of weeks ago, Peter Thomas Senese asked if I would do an interview with him as part of his ‘Today’s Heroes’ series. I was honoured and of course, said yes to his request. I had a wonderful time talking with Peter as we discussed things like social media, advocacy and of course about ‘finding your voice’. For those that may not be aware, Peter is not only the author of the critically acclaimed Chasing The Cyclone, and an unrelenting child advocate, but he is truly one of the most generous individuals that I know and I am blessed to be able to call him a ‘friend’. He has been a big part of my realization that my voice matters!
On a final note, if you should happen to be a parenting blogger… moms and dads alike… and are interested in assisting the I CARE Foundation as a part of their blogger outreach program to help raise awareness of parental child abduction, or if you would just like more information, please contact me at JenniferCluff@stopchildabduction.org. From a personal standpoint, there is nothing more rewarding than knowing a child or children are safe because of something that you were a part of. I think frequently of the three children that were NOT taken to Saudi Arabia… NOT illegally taken from their mother… and ARE safe today because of a post that a mother read on Mom-ology. You can read more about that in the interview that I did with Peter.
If you ever doubt that your voice matters… CLICK HERE and see why it does!