It has been an amazing 3 days in North Florida with Lauren’s Kids for the Walk in my Shoes 2018! We met old and new friends along the way – including our partners from Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA), who’ve been with us every stop so far – and we are just getting started!!!
On our first day we traveled to Panama City where we met up with the Gulf Coast Childen’s Advocacy Center (CAC) where we walked with survivors, advocates, counselors and families who have all been impacted by childhood sexual abuse. The walk ended with a candlelight vigil at the Gulf Coast CAC where walkers and their family members shared how they are surviving and thriving.
Next, we traveled to Tallahassee where we were joined by PACE Center for Girls on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Lauren kicked off the official start to our 2018 Walk, and we began trekking on the roadways to the Florida State Capitol. The Florida Professional Fire Fighters Association generously donated pizzas and a celebration continued with face painting, music and fun with our mascot Buddy.
Yesterday, we traveled to sunny Jacksonville where we began our journey at the Duval County Tax Collector’s Office – thank you to our friends with Michael Corrigan’s office for hosting us! Beth Rosenstein, Lauren’s Kids board member, kicked off the walk – because Lauren was stuck at the Capitol, finishing out her duties as Florida State Senator – and we traveled down Beach Boulevard to let the community know that “It’s OK to Tell.” We heard some amazing stories of survival and shared many special moments with all of the walkers, thank you to each and every person who walked with us. Be sure to check out our Facebook page @laurenskids to hear more from the Walk.
Since her first Walk in My Shoes journey in 2010, Lauren has now logged more than 9,000 miles in the pursuit of child safety in Florida.
“Each year I lace up my sneakers, I am reminded of how far we’ve come in the fight to protect childhood…but also, how far we as a state – and a society – still have yet to go,” says Lauren. “I walk to let other survivors know that they’re not alone, and that they need not be afraid or ashamed. I walk to spread the message that there is no type of public education more important than teaching children how to stay safe and speak up when something feels wrong. I walk to raise awareness and educate communities because together, we can protect our children from this unthinkable harm.”
Thank you to all of our supporters; the Jacksonville Sheriff’s, Bay County Sheriff’s Office, Panama City Police Department, Tallahassee Police Department, FSU Police Department and the Capitol Police for keeping us safe on the road.
Next stop: Gainesville & Ocala!
View photos from the journey @ LaurensKidsPhotos.org