The fight to end child sexual abuse comes to the Panhandle and locals are invited to participate in the “Walk in My Shoes” event on April 16. The walk will begin at Gulf Coast Kid’s House and will end at the Publix Shopping Center in Gulf Breeze, FL – approximately 7.25 miles.
This is Lauren Book’s fifth annual Lauren’s Kids “Walk in My Shoes” event, a 1,500-mile journey from Key West to Pensacola and back to Tallahassee. The annual trek raises awareness of the issue of child sexual abuse and pushes for prevention and legislative change.
Book, founder of Lauren’s Kids, was a victim of childhood sexual abuse for six years at the hands of her nanny. Armed with the knowledge that 95 percent of sexual abuse is preventable through education, Book has worked to turn her horrific personal experience into a vehicle to prevent childhood sexual abuse and heal survivors by starting Lauren’s Kids. The organization is based in South Florida and educates adults and children about sexual abuse topics through in-school curriculum, a 24-hour Crisis Hotline and speaking engagements around the country.
Lauren’s Kids encourages victims to “shine a light in dark places” and “shed the shame.” “Walk in My Shoes” has given voice to an experience shared by 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys in the U.S. Book’s statewide legislative advocacy has helped pass more than a dozen Florida laws over the past five years.
Book is a PEOPLE Magazine All Star Among Us and published author. She is also a teacher and educator in South Florida.
Walkers can join the local leg of the event for any distance between 2:45 and 5:30 p.m. Participants can register at laurenskids.org/2014walk.
“Walk in My Shoes” Event, April 16
Walk Starting Line
Location: Gulf Coast Kid’s House, 3401 N. 12th Ave., Pensacola
Check-in from 2 – 2:30 p.m.; departure at 2:45 p.m.
Walk Finish Line
Location: Publix Super Market at Sea Shell Collections, 852 Gulf Breeze Parkway, Gulf Breeze
Participant arrival time: 5:15 p.m.
Tour arrival time: 5:30 p.m.
“Walk in My Shoes” is part of Child Abuse Prevention Month in April. Locally, Gulf Coast Kids’ House in partnership with numerous other child-serving agencies are raising awareness through the “From Blue to Better” campaign aimed at preventing child abuse by emphasizing that it is everyone’s job to keep children safe. Launched by local child and family service agencies, From Blue to Better uses the color to highlight this issue during the month of April. For more information about child abuse prevention programs and activities, visit www.frombluetobetter.org.