What started out as one man's devotion to help educate locals about stranger safety awareness has grown into a national cause.
Matthew J. Barbis created The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation in response to his cousin's abduction and murder in 2004. His quest has come full circle as Monday will be recognized as National Rose Brucia Stranger Safety Awareness Day.
Barbis is issuing a call to action in honor of the historic day and urging parents, guardians and schools from across the country to go online and download the organizations’ free stranger safety awareness program. It can be accessed by clicking here.
"After the horrific abduction of , it is now more important than ever to speak to our children, very candidly, about important techniques to keep themselves safe when parents and family members are not present," said Matthew J. Barbis, founder and chairman of The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation. “We must become very proactive in our approach to keep our children safe.”
The foundation has developed shows and vignettes to New York State educational standards and used the Sachem Central School District as a pilot district in the curriculum and DVD program.
"All New York City schools, public and private, are welcome to download our stranger safety awareness program free of charge at www.rosebrucia.org/ourprogram.asp," Barbis said.
Barbis said that of the 800,000 kids that go missing every year, 21,200 are stranger abductions.
Kletzky, 8, was allegedly murdered and left in a dumpster after he got lost and asked a stranger for directions in his short, seven-block walk to meet his parents after school.
“By going into every school and teaching the curriculum, we can arm our kids with the necessary tools that they need to recognize an unsafe situation and they’ll be able to run away from it,” Barbis said. “If every community responds, we’ll have our national coverage within days.”
Ed. Note: This story was on Sachem Patch on Long Island.