Rock one Sock in support of missing children
More than 465 thousand children were reported missing last year, according to the F.B.I.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is working to recover these missing kids and prevent future cases. To help raise awareness and funds, the month long campaign, Rock One Sock, was created.
"We know we'll never give up hope on these missing children," said NCMEC child advocate, Callahan Walsh.
This month, his passion is represented by a single sock.
"We know that missing children's issues don't affect every household and so we wanted to use the symbol of a missing sock to represent all the missing children that we're still currently looking for," said Walsh.
The NCMEC was created by Callahan's family.
"My brother Adam was kidnapped when he was six years old in South Florida," said Walsh. "My parents started the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children because there was no place for them to go to."
Sadly, Adam is not the only child to go missing.
"According to the FBI, there was over 460,000 reports of missing children made to them by law enforcement," said Walsh. "Here at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, last year, we worked on over 20,500 cases."
Some of these cases are in our home state, including the solved case of Anne Sluti. She was abducted from the Hilltop mall in 2001.
"Luckily a witness saw what had happened," said Walsh. "A perpetrator had approached Anne and assaulted her, kidnapped her into his vehicle. Seven days later a call came into the Late County sheriff's in Montana for a breaking and entering in a cabin. When they arrived on the scene and they were aware of the missing personas case, they recognized the car as the abductors car. After about a seven to eight hour negotiation with the abductor, he finally did emerge and Anne was successfully recovered and returned to her family."
Thankfully Anne was found, but there is still work to be done.
"In the past ten years in Nebraska, there's been over 701 cases of missing children, which many luckily have been resolved," said Walsh. "But, there's still actively over 52 missing children cases in the Nebraska area alone."
For this reason and many more, Callahan and the NCMEC are not giving up.
"Growing up my parents always told me that we need to make sure Adam didn't die in vain, and if his song is to continue then we must do the singing," said Walsh.
Their perseverance has been successful.
"To date since the center's been open, we've helped recover over 232,000 missing children," said Walsh.
In addition to recoveries, the center also works to prevent abductions through education.
"We want to make sure these kids aren't going missing in the first place," said Walsh. "So, we create some great child safety education that's free to the public for parents and educators that really help make sure kids are making safe and smart decisions that's both online and in the real world."
However, these recoveries and programs are not possible without help from you.
"We ask for donations as well," said Walsh. "We need to do what we do best and that's help bring home missing kids and we do that with help from the private sector."
If you would like to show your support for missing children, the NCMEC is asking each and every one of you to Rock One Sock and post your "footsies" to social media.
If you are able to donate, you can do so here.