May 25, National Missing Children's Day--Hope for Families Who Wait
On the afternoon of May 6, 2013 at about 4:45 there was a lot of commotion coming from the Polly Klaas Foundation’s Response Department. I walked down the hall toward the sound of excited voices to find smiling and weeping faces gathering around a monitor listening to the amazing news that after ten years of being missing Amanda Berry and Gina De Jesus (along with a third victim Michelle Knight) had been found – ALIVE. Both the Berry and De Jesus cases were ones PKF had been involved with over the past decade. Supporting these girl’s families and offering hope on even the darkest of days is what our Response Department is here for. To hear of this remarkable outcome was something for us, as well as our nation, to celebrate.
What an amazing turn of events for our staff as they had spoken regularly with these families. PKF had been contacted first by Amanda’s family within a week of her disappearance and then by Gina’s family within months of her disappearance. Over the years PKF staff was in contact with the girl’s families, long after their disappearance was making headlines. Like in all missing child cases PKF staff also continued reaching out to law enforcement and providing missing child posters and materials for the girl’s local community and across the nation.
In fact just last week the PKF staff had sent additional missing child materials to Cleveland, ironically they arrived the same day as the girls were found. Like the families of missing children; we never gave up hope and remained committed for the past decade to help them in their tireless search. Yesterday their prayers were answered after a decade of unimaginable worry. We could not be happier for them and will continue to support them should they need anything more from us as they begin the healing process.
The PKF office received many calls from the media after this breaking news and conducted interviews in which we were asked to speak about our role in working on missing children cases and more specifically our role in supporting families. The cases in this week’s news are high profile and underscore how important it is to keep hope alive even after many years. The resources we provided for the Berry and De Jesus family are the same we have provided to thousands of families across the nation. Some of our cases have been open since 1994 and we are still in regular touch with those families, always available with a message of hope and support.
During the week that these three victims were found, the PKF Response Department continued to receive information on new missing child cases. We will offer these families the same support services we offered to the Berry and De Jesus families, including a shoulder to lean on, contacting law enforcement, securing help from thousands of volunteers across the nation and providing missing children flyers both locally and nationally. That is what we are here for until they are found. Let’s hope the families of these newest missing child cases are celebrating the return of their children soon.
The Polly Klaas Foundation wishes to acknowledge 2013 as its 20th year of operations. We have served over 8,000 families during this time and plan to continue assisting families in the recovery of their children for generations to come. Thank you for supporting our efforts!
May 25th 2013 is National Missing Children’s Day – Please keep the families of missing children close to your hearts and remember there is always hope!
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c. 2013 Polly Klaas® Foundation, 312 Western Avenue, Petaluma, CA 94952