Florida Senator Lauren Book has been announced the winner of the national Child Mind Institute’s Change Maker People’s Choice Award for her efforts to create awareness of child sexual abuse and educate people about the topic through her nonprofit foundation, Lauren’s Kids. A survivor herself, Senator Book’s advocacy focuses on prevention, disclosure and healing.
Lauren’s Kids educates adults and children about sexual abuse prevention through in-school curricula, awareness campaigns and speaking engagements around the country and the world. Through Lauren’s Kids, Senator Book has successfully advocated for the passage of nearly two dozen Florida laws to support survivors and protect children from predators. A former classroom teacher, she also developed Safer, Smarter Schools, a first of its kind PreK-12 abuse prevention and personal safety curriculum program currently used by more than 65,000 classrooms.
The award, presented to community organizations dedicated to making meaningful change in the lives of children, was voted on by members of the public based on the impact of an organization’s efforts.
“I am honored to be recognized by the Child Mind Institute and thank the members of the community who voted on the Change Maker People’s Choice Award,” said Senator Book. “The work we do through Lauren’s Kids has been an incredible journey filled with hope and healing, strength and compassion. We have been able arm more than 2 million children with safety education each year and provide families with tools to teach personal safety. We know that 95 percent of child sexual abuse is preventable through education and awareness, and we are proud of the work we do each day to provide children, parents and educators with the resources they need. Talking about child sexual abuse and removing the stigma that has surrounded it for too long is critical not only for prevention, but also so those who are suffering in silence know that it is always OK to talk about it, it’s OK to tell and that they deserve to begin their own journey toward healing.”
In recognition of National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Lauren’s Kids recently wrapped up a more than 42 consecutive hour walk at the Florida Capitol to honor the more than 42 million survivors of child sexual abuse living in the United States today. The walk followed the eight-year annual Lauren’s Kids “Walk in My Shoes” tradition where advocates and survivors walked more than 1,500 miles from the Florida Keys to Tallahassee.
Later this month, Lauren’s Kids will also be launching new resources for parents to teach their young children safety strategies, and will also work with the Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center in Panama City to help renovate their therapy room, which suffered significant damage from Hurricane Michael, so child victims can continue to receive trauma therapy.
The Child Mind Institute will present Senator Book with the award on May 1 at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Photos of the event will follow for Florida media outlets.
For more information on Lauren’s Kids, visit laurenskids.org.
Lauren Book, M.S. ED, founder and CEO of Lauren’s Kids, is an internationally-recognized child protection advocate, best-selling author and Florida State Senator who works every day to protect childhood. She is also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, suffered at the hands of a trusted caretaker from the time she was 10 until the age of 16. Armed with the knowledge that 95 percent of sexual abuse is preventable through education and awareness, Lauren has worked to turn her horrific personal experience into a vehicle to prevent childhood sexual abuse and help other survivors heal.
An official 501(c)(3) since 2007, Lauren’s Kids educates adults and children about sexual abuse prevention through in-school curricula, ADDY and EMMY Award-winning public awareness campaigns and speaking engagements around the country and the world. The organization provides more than 8 million direct mail education and awareness materials statewide. The foundation has helped advocate for the passage of nearly two dozen laws to support survivors and protect children from predators. For more information, please visit laurenskids.org.