Friday December 1, 2023

Did you know that the average age worldwide of children being targeted, groomed, enticed, and recruited online is 10-13 years old? Did you know that it takes less than 17 minutes for a stranger to entice a child into sending an inappropriate picture? Lastly, are you aware that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported over 32 million cybertips to report child sexual abuse online? As shocking as these statistics are, it is the reality our kids face across the globe. All is not lost however, as there is an organization committed to empowering communities to be a fierce disruption in the cycle of child trafficking; by providing exploitation education and awareness training programs. “Paving the Way Foundation” has trained and educated over 29,000 students both nationally and globally over the past eight years about what’s happening online; ways to detect predatory behavior and actions to take that prevent our kids from being targeted and exploited. Paving the Way Foundation showcased their mission and impact with their inaugural “Lights on For Children” event in Orlando, FL on November 18, 2023. This is the fourth year for Lights on For Children which is celebrated annually in conjunction with Universal Children’s Day, that is honored on an international scale. Nicole Kocemba, one of the foundation’s mission ambassadors, came up with the idea to have a symbolic powerful representation of hope and homecoming by turning lights blue (with the use of blue light bulbs). Whether it’s as simple as switching your porch lights for that evening, it’s a simple act to create awareness. Over the years, Janet Edwards, the founder of Paving the Way and her team, extended the effort and impacted different city landmarks; the Lake Eola Fountain in downtown Orlando Florida, all over the...... Read more on Full Issue!

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