A few years ago, my life took a different path when I least expected it. 

It was a moment of pure inspiration.

I am an author of children’s books on difficult topics. I was busy doing a book signing at Barnes and Noble’s Local Author Day in Virginia Beach, Va.

I sat at my table chatting with parents about my books. All were so thankful for my book because it had helped them deal with the topic of sexual abuse prevention in a very approachable, kid-friendly way. This made me feel great because it was my first book signing event. It was the first time I got real feedback from parents in person.

As the day went on, I started to understand that my work, time, effort, and passion on this tough topic was truly appreciated. 

Then, suddenly a little girl came running up to my table, saying, “are you the red flag lady?” My book teaches kids to learn how to identify feelings and raise “red flags” when they feel uncomfortable or unsafe. It also explains how to help report any issues and how to get help from a trusted adult.

This bright and bubbly little girl named Shira came right over and hugged me, thanked me, and told me she was so happy to meet me. She started tearing up! I asked her why she was crying.

She said to me, “In your book, I found out that bad stuff can happen to anybody and that it wasn’t my fault… so- I told my mom what was happening with me.” My heart broke for her because I knew she was a victim, but it also filled it with joy at the same. I was so proud of her because she found the courage to tell. And, in some small way, my book helped her. She asked me to come to visit her school. I said YES! Shira told me she found this book by accident, at the library.

I decided on this day that I had to get out there and help more people and become more active in this issue. 

I was able to meet a child, face-to-face that my book had helped! It was a huge confidence boost to me personally because I knew my book had the power actually to help children. But, it was also humbling. Connecting the right child with the right book can be life-saving. 

With this new responsibility and inspiration, I signed up to take the Darkness to Light sexual abuse prevention training and become a D2L Stewards of Children Certified Facilitator.

I decided to take this new training and develop a program for kids. I called Shira’s school and arranged to do a book reading, mini-lesson, and craft. And- I donated my time, supplies, and 23 books to this particular class of kids. I made sure that my book was in the school’s library and local libraries in Norfolk, Virginia.

And- I stopped by a few local “little libraries” and made a few more donations. During this process, I realized that there is a considerable deficit to the resources available at some schools, and it seemed very unfair. I tried to pay it forward in this small way. Every year, I try to donate books or donate book readings to those who need these resources the most. I continue to write, speak, and teach about sexual abuse prevention for kids like Shira. It is an honor to be able to help and make a difference in the lives of children. To know that I helped even one child makes all the difference in the world!