I had a wonderful experience Sunday and Monday in Laredo Texas a conference put on by the Children’s Advocacy Center. It’s right on border of Mexico. I was the keynote speaker in the morning and then did a second presentation in the afternoon on Erin’s Law. I had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people. In my audience were many advocates, prosecutors, school teachers, school counselors, law enforcement, social workers, child protective service workers, and middle and high school students from a local school.
After my morning opening presentation I did an interview with the local Spanish news station. After the news interview I was informed by a staff member at the center there was a 13 year old girl there that heard my presentation that wanted to meet me. I eventually met the young girl and her caseworker. She was very shy at first and her caseworker opened up by telling me she had been abused by her step-dad and her mother was also being charged because she knew it was going on. The girl had been removed from the home and was now in state custody living in foster care. She told me the trial was going on and this was the 2nd week into the trial that is suppose to end next week. As she continued to share with me and tell me even more troubles in this young girls life I saw the tears fill this girls eyes. I immediately hugged her as she continued to cry and told her how proud I was for her telling someone and that so many girls her age keep it a secret into adulthood and that what she did takes a lot of courage and she will help protect many others from being hurt. Her caseworker shared with me in front of the girl that she is running away from her foster home and her fear is this girl being placed in a detention center. I then directed my attention at the girl again and said, “You don’t want to end up there. You don’t deserve it and while it is unfair that you are not with your brothers and sisters anymore and none of this is your fault you have to think about your actions. Don’t let the people that hurt you continue to hurt you rise above them and make it the best that you can with where you are living. Don’t keep your feelings bottled up tell your caseworker, counselor, etc. how you are feeling and what is going on. It will only do you more harm holding in these thoughts and feelings get them out now while your young. You have your whole life ahead of you. Running away from your problems is not going to solve anything it is only going to cause you more problems. Always think before you act.” The caseworker bought both my books for the girl and I wrote some special words of encouragement inside them for her in hopes that she will not get lost in the system and go down a destructive path. I can only pray now for her in hopes her future is much brighter then her past. It broke my heart seeing her break down and cry I could see the pain she was in. Now I pray justice is served. Here is just some photos from my trip to Texas this week.