I am writing to say thank you to the town of Pioche and Lincoln County, Nevada. I was so blessed to be invited to speak to your community on March 25, 2023, at the child trafficking prevention and online safety event and fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club, held at the Overton Hotel. I was hosted by a group of wonderful parents who care about not only their children, but all children. I have left a piece of myself in Lincoln County after meeting all the wonderful families and businesses who selflessly used their resources, their energy, their money and their efforts to host a wonderful event of fun, community and, most importantly, information about children and young adults being connected to every monster in the world through devices that we have become so dependent upon.
I met some of the wonderful teenagers who live in this community. They were very transparent and said, “Yes, our parents need to help us because we are targeted online, and we know we need their guidance.”
At the event, I spoke about the Digital DNA kit that I developed to help gather data of places kids frequent online. If they go missing, and the parents have this data, it can lead to locating them. See here https://tinyurl.com/digitaldnakit
The community is rural; however, the intersection of interactive applications and a nearby highway easily allows a message that starts out online to quickly become in person and dangerous. Each victim may be worth over $300,000 a year to a predator. They will put in the effort to lure, groom and take teens and young adults into their predatory schemes.
I applaud every parent, every grandparent and every adult in your community who attended the event March 25. It demonstrates that your children do have adults who care about them and who want to make the world safe for them as long as possible. I was also very honored to meet Dr. Michael Roth, principal of Meadow Valley Middle School. His five-door speech was very profound, and I hope he is asked to present to many audiences. It gives students and parents language to guide teens and adolescents as they venture along the rocky path between being children and adults.
I hope to return to Lincoln County again, as it is a part of me now. Its beautiful scenery, the community, but most importantly, the most special part of all, the most valuable part of everything in the whole county, is its children. And I pray with all my being that they will never be touched by the awful predators in thisworld. I look forward to seeing how the youth I met last Saturday reach their highest potential. They are your future; they are the most important part of any place we live, because without them, nothing we do really matters.
I want to thank the Overton Hotel for giving me such comfortable and peaceful nights and the Historic Silver Café for keeping me fed with wonderful food and amazing service. I also want to thank the Lincoln County Record for their generous article announcing the event. I also want to thank the children who took time to speak with me and to listen to me. You all are the reason we exist and the reason behind all our efforts, and we (adults) do love you, even if we never tell you.
Most importantly, I ask the community to continue to support the Boys & Girls Club. The teens I spoke with told me that when they are bored, they go online. The Boys & Girls Club and their programs are a solution to combating this problem of the internet connecting our children to every monster in the world. We must give children other options for enrichment. The Boys & Girls Club can do that. Please continue to invest in them. It is an investment in your children.