Lou with his son
Every six minutes in the United States of America a child is sexually abused. 240 children. Everyday. -Binova child Advocacy Center
Today I am honored to have a guest post by a man I respect very much – Lou Bivona. He is a man who has recognized his mission in life and is pursuing it with all passion. Please take a few minutes to read his story…
Life presents us many opportunities.
Some we see clearly and embrace, others we let go because it takes us out of our comfort zone. It won’t make us money or popular, but maybe it is the right thing to do. Trust me, I never had, nor do I have, thoughts of grandeur. But when a young boy, Adam Walsh, went missing, something his father, John Walsh, said stayed with me. “Adam is the victim,” he said, “his mother and I are the heart- broken parents left behind.”
Brent, my son, and Adam were the same age, and to this very day, John Walsh always asks first how’s my boy Brent is doing.
Little did I know about missing children other than the Lindbergh’s. What I did know was that for some reason, I always felt totally detached and had an empty pit in me most of the time. I had a video that never stopped playing in my head of my own sexual abuse, and it played 50 times a day. That video was a blessing from God, for he led me to never want other children to be haunted by the post tarmac stress of abuse. It is not always the act, but the aftermath that takes over the rest of your life. Once I understood that,
I recognized my mission, and there was no turning back.
Did I have a plan? No! Did I have a vision? No! What I found were people who were willing to help and had a direction. The tough part was that parents of missing children or sexual-abuse survivors wanted nothing to do with the charity that addressed these issues. The pain was too great. Today that is changing as we understand that the child is not to blame for his/her abuse. I believe we are all here to protect and nurture our next generation. Each one of us has the choice to participate in making a difference. Making a financial contribution is good; giving part of yourself is even better. It will enrich you and give you and the ones around you a sense of purpose, a truer meaning, and a reward greater than you can imagine.
We all have the chance to change another life for the good.
I established Tavern Direct as a philanthropic motivated venture to help support the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). This organization has been close to my heart for more than twenty eight years, and establishing Tavern Direct as a support vehicle was an opportunity I could not pass up. For every product sold, .50 is donated to NCMEC
Perhaps this opportunity has turned into a bit of an obsession, but only because I have spent many years working to help reverse the devastating physical and emotional effects of exploited and sexually abused children. In 1982, I started the Adam Walsh Center of New York. Then in 1984 that became part of NCMEC and shortly thereafter was faced with an unmet need I could not ignore. Abused children were not only the victims of their abusers, but also of the very system that tried to help them and punish their abusers. With the help of several individuals who were visionaries and committed to the cause, I developed the Bivona Child Advocacy Center. The Center creates a team approach to helping the children; bringing child protective social service workers, law enforcement, prosecutors, medical professionals, therapists, and child advocates all under one roof. The goal is to streamline the process, fast-track the child to those who can help, and minimize any trauma associated with the process of bringing the abuser to justice. Whenever possible, the child participates in only one forensic interview and one medical exam. The team will support the child and family all the way through the process to trial and beyond.
The Bivona Child Advocacy Center is one of my proudest achievements in life. Today the advocacy center operates 24/7 supporting the children and effecting dramatic increases in the conviction rate of abusers.
Now that you know my passion for NCMEC and the Bivona Child Advocacy Center, you will see why I “jumped at the opportunity” to develop Tavern Direct. Not only is it a high-quality product, but the success of the company helps secure the success of the charity. Now…that’s being in the right place at the right time!
How YOU can help
Purchase a gift basket through my OpenSky shop and not only will 25% of the purchase will go to the NCMEC, but an additional $5 and the profit that I will make from the sale.
Why purchase the gift basket? You will not only be helping a much needed cause, but you will be able to give someone a delicious gift (have you seen some of the yummy?) of superb marinades and sauces. Look at all the mouth-watering goodness you can make with the sauces…
Or you could help by…
Donating directly to the NCMEC here or to the Bivona Child Advocacy Center here.
Educating yourself on child abuse – here are some resources. Also this: What to Do If Your Child Goes Missing
Thank you so much for considering being a part of this good good good work! Oh, and the winner of the gift basket is Jessica from Living Each Day for God! (Jessica, please email me your snail mail addy!)