Dear friends and members of the Lauren’s Kids family,
As I write this letter, a million thoughts are racing through my mind…memories from our first Walk across the state in 2010 – wondering if anyone would join me as I laced up my sneakers and pounded the pavement to get people to pay attention to this issue that had not only colored my life, but the lives of 42 million others…late nights in college drafting the first iteration of what’s grown to become our Pre-K through grade 12 prevention curriculum…visits to Children’s Advocacy Centers and Sexual Assault Treatment Centers statewide, tearful and triumphant time spent with survivors – some thriving, some still in the throes of the often painful, messy healing journey…meetings with legislators – some more successful than others, but each one a learning experience…sleepless nights on international flights to spread our message of hope, healing, recovery and prevention beyond the borders of the United States…and dreams for the future – resources for families, new tools for educators, and for survivors as we work through the trauma we’ve experienced as adults, as spouses and parents.
What beauty has grown from a place of darkness. What strength has come from the scars I bear – scars that many of us share.
I have poured my heart, my soul – my whole life – into the Lauren’s Kids Foundation.
Thank you for being a part of our movement for change. Together, we are truly preventing the abuse and exploitation of children, and helping survivors heal from the trauma they have endured. I am in awe of this journey, which we’ve walked together.
The journey does not end here.
I am proud to share with you that I will be continuing my advocacy journey in an additional way: I have been elected as a State Senator and will, come November, represent the 32nd Senate District in Broward County and the State of Florida.
As a Senator, I look forward to fighting and fighting hard for this issue that is most close to my heart. And, I will have an opportunity to create change in other areas that are important to me, like improving access to mental health services.
The State of Florida has a “citizen’s legislature,” which means the House and Senate are only in session in Tallahassee for part of the year, allowing legislators to continue to be active members of their own communities and retain the jobs and passions that are important parts of their lives. So – I’m not going anywhere!
While I will have to separate my two worlds, I want to assure the members of our Lauren’s Kids family that I will still be at the helm of the Foundation and will remain involved in decisions big and small: from selecting the shade of pink that will go on Buddy’s doghouse and editing scripts for awareness videos to leading development efforts for innovative new resources.
And yes…there WILL still be a walk! We are in the process of planning what will be our eighth annual “Walk in My Shoes.” It may look a bit different, but, as always, we will look forward to seeing you on the highways and byways, likely moving the walk to September of 2017 and not in the spring as in years past.
Lauren’s Kids is a part of who I am. All things in life change with time, but for me, that will remain a constant truth.
Another truth? I need your help.
Lauren’s Kids is more than just me, my staff, or the wonderful members of our board. The Foundation’s work comes to life through your involvement – from classrooms of educators and students who use and learn from the curriculum (learn more & bring Safer, Smarter Schools to a classroom near you!), to drivers who purchase the ‘Love & Healing’ license plate, to therapists who help connect families with our Guide to Hope & Healing (access it here), and those who come out to walk with us when we make our way through your community (sign up to get involved in the Walk!). We need you to keep engaging, keep pushing to ensure our resources are available to all who need them, and keep shining light in dark places.
Thank you for being a part of my journey, my life, and impacting the lives of so many others through your involvement with and support of the Lauren’s Kids Foundation.
I look forward to continuing the journey…