Ladies & Gentlemen,
If you are reading this then congratulations – you have done the impossible. You survived 2016 and all that it was. There was a lot of chaos out there, but there was also a lot of love & kindness being shared. HPF as an organization witnessed this first hand through the number of people we helped (children and adults), the number of impressions we made and the amount of money that we raised. Spoiler alert: all were our highest totals since we founded this thing back in 2013. That does not happen without your participation and there is only more to come in 2017.
The first couple of years at HPF were spent doing our homework. If you remember my first year-end letter, I spoke a lot about the shocking number of children that fall victim to abuse before the age of 18 (1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys.) Those numbers still exist today, but what has changed is the number of people that are willing to have a conversation. This year as an organization we presented to the highest total of schools, rotary clubs, businesses and other organizations that we ever have. Organizations that wanted to hear about how to prevent abuse and who wanted to know how they could help make a difference. These organizations realize that the fight cannot be fought alone and that “It is Not Okay”.
For a while there was just a few of us fighting the good fight at HPF. This year we focused on expansion and building our team. We are now at over 25 volunteers who have all bought into the mission of preventing interpersonal violence. To see the level of involvement and the effort that this team brings on a daily basis is tremendous. I am so proud to be a part of this family – this family of individuals who all bring their own unique story. It is absolutely fascinating.
Of course, with great people comes great work and that is exactly what we did. In 2016 we built the framework and launched tremendous educational/prevention programs. In April, we launched the first ever 30 for 30 series during Child Abuse Awareness Month. For all 30 days during the month of April, a different story was posted. There were some great stories that not only came from external sources, but also a few from our internal volunteers. No matter where they came from, each story had a focus on how to prevent abuse. We also introduced our weekly feel good blog posts – which quickly became my favorite weekly read and the DEFINED series. The DEFINED series will provide an educational spin on exactly what Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, and Bullying are.
This year was also the introduction of our first media campaign. Our media team consisting all of volunteers, collaborated to develop a series of videos all with a focus on raising awareness and highlighting that “There is No Better Time Than Now”. What that means, is there is no better time than now to start having conversations, to volunteer, to donate, to get involved, to stand up for something that is bigger than all of us.
The “There is No Better Time Than Now” campaign served as a launch platform for the HPF Ambassador Program. The Ambassador Program is a simple way for individuals in their communities to get involved by representing and promoting our mission to prevent bullying, domestic violence and child abuse. Each ambassador brings a unique perspective and a wonderful story of why they want to be involved. The platform is in place and we look forward to seeing this program grow on a National level. I encourage you get involved and find out how you can help in your community.
On the tail end of the Ambassador Program launching came our #GivingTuesday efforts. #GivingTuesday has become a date recognized on an International level and something that we have participated in every year since our inception. I am sure you can guess, with a great team of volunteer support, this year was our best year yet. It was our best year for not only the total amount of money that was raised on #GivingTuesday, but also for the amount of people that we educated through a live school presentation by our Co-Founder and the distribution of our greatest prevention tool a newly designed website.
Wrapping up what was already a successful 2016, came the release of the #OrangeChallenge. We admit, the #OrangeChallenge is a play off of the hugely successful #IceBucketChallenge. The Ice Bucket Challenge has single handedly done more for ALS research than any other program in such a short period of time. If we can mirror even a fraction of that, but for the prevention and awareness of the impact of sexual abuse on a child – we will make a difference. Keep an eye out for the Orange Peel Smiles out there and if you have a moment, post your own Orange Peel Smile with the hashtag #OrangeChallenge.
There was a ton of great work on top of the aforementioned programs that occurred in 2016. Some small and some large programs, but all programs that had the intent of building a strong foundation for what is going to be a great 2017. 2017 will be focused on building all of our established programs while focusing on our 4 largest and main initiatives:
- The Oranges Application: an app that will revolutionize the way support is provided to victims and caregivers.
- Operation Disabled: a program that will incorporate wearable technology to help prevent non-communicative children from falling victim to abuse.
- The Safety Summit: an event/summit bringing together caregivers, educators and products that offer children safety all with the focus on keeping kids safe.
- HPF Virtual Reality: a story capitalizing on the VR platform that will offer a visual to the hardships and grey area that is created by abuse.
The above initiatives will drive how we prevent interpersonal violence (child abuse, domestic violence and bullying) as a society today and how each and every one of us can get involved to stop it. I can’t express in words how I felt in 2016. With the amount of people I personally saw get involved with not only what we do as an organization, but with how to prevent abuse. It was absolutely incredible.
On behalf of The Humanity Preservation Foundation, thank you for what was an incredible journey in 2016. I wish you and yours a healthy and happy 2017 and please continue to #FollowTheOrangeHeart.
Charles “Buddy” Custer, Jr
HPF Executive Director
Humanity Preservation Foundation