Ladies & Gentlemen,
Four years ago, my first year-end recap was more of a wish list for what I wanted to happen at HPF and I admit, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. We were new, we were finding our sea legs and we were trying to figure out how to create a community. We didn’t know what direction HPF was going, but we knew there was a need for what we were trying to accomplish. Now, that I have had some time to watch HPF grow, this letter has become my favorite part of the year. It has provided me with an opportunity to reflect on all the great things we are doing and where we are heading. I hope that you enjoy the ride as much as I have thus far.
…Especially since some of those previously mentioned wish list items are coming to life and we are seeing the impact that HPF can have…
2017 was an interesting year not just for HPF, but also for the world as a whole. If you asked me to tie what HPF did as an organization this year with some of the global trends we saw, I would offer a one-word response…PLATFORM.
This year we wanted to take a step back and look at some of groundwork that was laid and determine how to best bring that to life. We had a million initiatives and projects in the air that were in development, but only a handful of substantial outputs. We took the first quarter to focus on the strategic plan for the full year and I really believe it helped us focus our efforts.
Coming out of our strategic planning quarter, we jumped right into April which some of you may know is Child Abuse Prevention Month (CAPM). 2016 was the first year that HPF participated in CAPM and 2017 was all about doing more. This year in addition to the annual 30 for 30 series, where we share one prevention post a day and the multiple speaking series we participate in, we also had six survivors or heroes as we like to call them, come forward and share there stories.
The Hero series is one of the most impactful initiatives that we have conducted to date. When we started HPF, we wanted to provide a PLATFORM that would allow survivors to come forward and tell their story. This platform is a chance for those that were abused to get their voice out there. As fellow Co-founder Rhett Hackett said, “We know that when we tell the story, it doesn’t just help the person telling the story, but it helps those that are listening as well.”
As we saw on a global scale, heroes everywhere were finding their PLATFORM this year. From all of those that shared their stories in the media, Hollywood, the workplace, or wherever, victims are now finding the strength to come forward and tell their story. This has had not only an impact on victims but on bystanders as well. The time of sitting back watching and not saying something is becoming a thing of the past and that is the first step in eradicating abuse. It is going to take a full fledge effort from everyone, not just those that have experienced it first hand.
I would be remised if I didn’t mention Tristan during this…In 2010, when Rhett went on the Oprah Winfrey special 200 men molested, ten thousand miles away, Tristan’s mom was watching and attempting to deal with her own son’s recent abuse. After her and Rhett formed a relationship, the decision was made to send Tristan to the USA to stay with Rhett and his family. Tristan spent his time seeing some of the great sites on the East Coast, while also attending a few HPF speaking events. At these events Tristan had the opportunity to speak with counselors and also share his story with an attentive audience. I suggest watching some of Tristan’s recap videos for a first hand experience of how his trip went.
Sticking with the PLATFORM theme, HPF also launched a one-stop location for victims, volunteers and caregivers to come and find the resources they are looking. This year we launched the HPF Pulse platform on our website, a resource directory that showcases the available resources in three key categories of Child Abuse, Domestic Violence and Bullying across the United States. A resource center was one of the first things that we wanted to build as an organization and we have done just that with HPF Pulse.
The next step for HPF Pulse is to create a mobile friendly version that will be available to the masses. A team has just been finalized and we are already in the process of developing that application. We are looking to release the app in 2018; during you guessed it, Child Abuse Prevention Month. Where we are looking to release that app is during a very special event for us, The Orange Tie Affair. The Orange Tie Affair in April will be the first large-scale event that HPF hosts and is a great opportunity for us to showcase what we do as an organization to the masses. Stay tuned for more on this.
We will also be revamping the Ambassador Program in 2018 and will look to collaborate with a handful of organizations to bring Operation Disabled to life (a wearable that allows non-communicative kids to share if something inappropriate may be happening to them).
2017 was a big year for The Humanity Preservation Foundation and I am proud to say that every year has gotten bigger and bigger. From the number of volunteers dedicating their time and efforts, to the number of supporters that we see promoting our cause, to the number of dollars that people are willing to donate to our mission. It is these efforts and this year over year growth that is going to help us prevent abuse in the future.
I thank you, as always, from the bottom of my orange heart and wish you and yours a healthy and happy New Year and 2018.
Charles “Buddy” Custer, Jr
Humanity Preservation Foundation