Ronald L. Book P.A. – President
Ronald L. Book is a specialist in government affairs and administration law, with a Juris Doctoral degree from Tulane University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Florida International University. An active participant in South Florida’s professional arena, Book is a trustee of the Council of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and sits on the Legislative Affairs and State Affairs committees. In addition to serving more than 20 community organizations, Book is a founding member of Lauren’s Kids. Mr. Book currently operates his own lobbying practice in Aventura and Tallahassee.
Lauren Book, M.S. Ed – Chief Executive Officer, Survivor
Lauren Book was a victim and is now survivor of child sexual abuse. Because of her experience, Book founded Lauren’s Kids along with her father, Ronald Book, in 2007. Under Ms. Book’s leadership, the non-profit organization works to create a world where the exploitation of children is not tolerated. Over her years of service to victims of abuse, Lauren and her father have passed numerous Florida laws to protect victims and end the cycle of future abuse included the nation’s toughest mandatory reporting laws, child safety zones and ending the Statute of Limitations for prosecution of sexual crimes committed against children. Every year, Book walks the state of Florida to raise awareness about sexual abuse and to allow survivors an outlet to speak out about their experiences.
In addition to her advocacy work, Book is committed to empowering children to protect themselves against abuse by teaching an in-school curriculum that provides children with the necessary tools to act as the first line of defense against abuse. This year, the Safer, Smarter Kids curriculum was distributed to every public school kindergarten class in Florida thanks to an appropriation from the Florida Legislature.
Book is also an accomplished author, chronicling her years of abuse in her memoir, It’s OK to Tell, which sheds light on the truth about abuse and the healing journey that a victim goes through to become a survivor.
As a nationally renowned spokesperson, Book is an advocate for change and regularly comments on breaking national news. Book has been featured on hundreds of news outlets including Our America with Lisa Ling on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, the Associated Press, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell on CNN’s HLN and Maria Shriver Architects of Change.
Book was born and raised in South Florida where she currently resides and directs Lauren’s Kids. Lauren graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Creative Writing; and a Master’s Degree in Community Psychology and Social Change. Lauren has been recognized for her outstanding contribution to education relating to sexual abuse and for her work within Florida and nationally.
Cristin Smith – Executive Director
Prior to joining Lauren’s Kids, Cristin Smith has worked within the Miami-Dade County foster care system for more than 10 years. Cristin possesses an extensive knowledge of the child welfare system in South Florida as well as a thorough understanding of Florida Statute and the Department of Children and Families operating procedures pertaining to the population. Within the foster care system, she has supervisory experience in the fields of quality assurance/improvement, counseling and case management. In addition, her clinical background and the foundation of her career include having provided therapy to adolescent girls in the foster care system who were victims of sexual abuse.
Cristin believes that prevention comes through awareness and education and healing comes from support and guidance. She has joined the team because she believes that the voice that Lauren is creating for this cause is the key to ending childhood sexual abuse.
A Miami native, Cristin earned her Master of Social Work from Florida International University and her Bachelor of Social Work from Florida State University.
Claire VanSusteren – Communications Director
Claire VanSusteren began working with Lauren’s Kids in October of 2011 through her role as an Account Executive at Sachs Media Group. In addition to her work at Sachs with various public education and health-related clients, Claire helped implement Lauren’s annual 1,500-mile Walk in My Shoes campaign in 2012 and 2013. Claire graduated from Florida State University’s College of Communication and Information, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, and was the recipient of the College’s Outstanding Public Relations Student Award. After graduation, she traveled to Washington, D.C., to expand her communication skill set while working for zcomm, a Certified Women’s Business Enterprise and one of D.C.’s top 15 agencies.
Claire holds certificates in Leadership Studies and Developmental Disabilities and is a five-time FPRA Image Award winner.
A passionate advocate for Lauren’s Kids and our mission, Claire brings energy and light to the difficult and dark issue of child sexual abuse.
Randal R. Perkins
Rochelle S. Matza