July 1, 2014

SPARKS: Moments of Creation Vol. 3


 

“At first dreams seem impossible, then improbable, then inevitable.”

                               –  Christopher Reeve

The above quote opens the beautiful website by this months featured interviewee.

In following my passion of helping people dream and live their dreams I'm always searching for inspiring stories of that magic moment when an idea becomes a passion. To see how this journey began began see: 


I became aware of this kindhearted woman and her mission on Twitter. I was impressed by her posts enough to visit her website where I instantly became inspired by her and her work. I can't wait for you to meet:

GINGER KADLEC

Ginger's love of children started young as a babysitter and big sister to neighborhood children. She left an executive position in the technology sector to pursue an opportunity as a child advocate and her passion began to take shape.

 "As executive director of Chaucie’s Place, I had the opportunity to work with children who were alleged victims of sexual or physical abuse and neglect.  I became a trained child forensic interviewer and guest instructor for the Child First/Finding Words program in Indiana. A volunteer “Smart Steps” instructor, I also teach a “good touch/bad touch” body safety program to elementary school students, in addition to helping with various fund raising events. I am also honored to be a member of the Board of Directors for the child advocacy center in my hometown, Boone County CAC.
My work in child advocacy inspired me to raise awareness on a larger scale about child sexual and physical abuse, as well as become active in education and prevention efforts to protect children. As an extension of what I now believe to be my calling to help children, I one day dream of writing children’s books about real-life issues and hope their message becomes a conduit for developmental and safety discussions between children and adults around the world." 

Ginger graciously agreed to share her journey with us. I hope her insights and sharing her journey will inspire you as much as it did me and ignite in you the desire to find or pursue your life's passion.

1. What was it that SPARKED the idea to start 4 Ur Kids. Take us thru your process.

Would you believe it came to me during a walk on the beach with my dog? 
I was vacationing with my husband, euphoric about life with our new puppy. As we enjoyed walking the shoreline, and I found myself reflecting on my career. My professional journey had taken me to a variety of venues including financial services, manufacturing and even Internet and software technology management. About six years ago, those seemingly divergent paths magically converged when I was asked to serve as interim executive director for a child advocacy center. I had previous experience working in public relations for the United Way and served on several boards of directors for non-profit organizations, but I had not worked in the field of child protection. 
You know those pivotal points where there's no goin' back? Well, that one opportunity forever changed my life. 
I had the opportunity to work with children who were alleged victims of sexual or physical abuse and neglect and became a trained child forensic interviewer and guest instructor for the Child First/Finding Words program in Indiana. As a child advocate, I began to truly understand how many people are impacted by child abuse. Some know about the horrors of abuse first-hand, others have some knowledge and awareness that abuse exists in their communities, while others don't wish to discuss such an awful subject and think it only happens to 'other people'. 
It suddenly hit me that morning on the beach... Could I tap into my various experiences in child advocacy, technology and marketing to possibly make a difference in child protection around the world? Could I help educate parents about ways to keep their children safe from sexual predators? Could I raise awareness about the child abuse pandemic among other caring adults? The answer was "Yes, I think I can."
I continued noodling about how I could actually put my dream into action and started doing some research. I connected with a couple of marketing colleagues to develop a plan of action. I took a book writing class offered by Nicole Gebhardt of "The Remarkable Way". I collaborated with Dana Neuts of "Virtaully Yourz" to develop my website. In terms of utilizing social media to build the 4UrKids community, I literally dove in head-first as I went along. I found some wonderful resources online that helped me with tools, strategies and ideas to share information and help raise awareness. I was fortunate to connect with people via Twitter and Facebook who have also offered ideas and suggestions to help grow the community. 
I'm now a little over a year into this and have, frankly, been humbled and overwhelmed with the support 4UrKids has received from around the globe. Right now, over 51,000 people have joined the 4UrKids Twitter community and our Facebook friends now total nearly 3,600. The 4UrKids website at gingerkadlec.com is on-par to have over a million page views by the end of this year. I'm simply blown away by the support from other caring adults around the world who wish to see all forms of child abuse abolished. 
This is an evolving work in progress. :-) In fact, I'm happy to share that we are changing our name to "Be A Kid's Hero" in the next few weeks. Stay tuned! 

2. How does it feel to be working in an area that you're passionate about.

In a word... amazing. It's a pleasure getting up in the morning to do something that your heart just knows is right. My dream of helping others protect children extends to educating children on know how to help keep themselves safe. While the subject matter is often sad and depressing, I do my best to inject a sense of hope in my message. It's taken me about 20 years to discover this passion, but all the experiences leading up to this was time well spent. 

3. What has been the most rewarding experience for you?

It's tough to pick just one. While this may sound a bit cliche, I think connecting with others through this effort has validated for me that the world IS full of good people; people who care about protecting little ones in their lives and truly want to make the world a better place. That "faith in mankind" thing... yah, I now believe it's true. I have also been moved to tears on occasion by the stories child abuse survivors have shared. Survivors continue to inspire me daily and I thank them for trusting in me and for having the courage to share their experiences and journeys of healing. All of these people confirm for me that indeed, "Life Isn't Broken." 


4. What challenges have you faced?

I'm chuckling as I type... oh, where do I begin? ;-) From an 'operations' perspective, my toughest challenge has been that it's just me doing this. Now, I have a lot of support and help from others for content and information sharing (thank you to those in the 4UrKids community - YOU ROCK!), but the operations are squarely on my shoulders. It's been a lot 'o O.J.T. (aka On-The-Job Training) which includes learning the ins-and-outs of WordPress, social media strategies and various online tools... some things have gone smoothly, while others have not. I've just had to figure it out as I go. 

As this community continues to grow, I hate to admit that I also face the challenge of responding in a timely manner to inquiries on Twitter, Facebook, email and LinkedIn, as well as posting to all of those online venues plus others such as Pinterest and Instagram. I view these as wonderful challenges, though... they are certainly good problems to have. ;-)  When I get to a point where I actually publish a book (or more!), I might be able to secure additional resources to help. Wish me luck!

5. Where would you like to see this go in the future?

I have BIG dreams! Bottom line... I want child protection to be top-of-mind with every single person around the world. I want people to feel empowered to take action if they suspect a child is being harmed in any way, rather than turning a blind eye. I want children who live in fear to feel safe and know there are people who care about their welfare. I want to live in a world where children are valued as our MOST precious resource... like air, food and water, we MUST be compelled to raise emotionally and physically healthy children to secure our collective future. The more we collaborate to address the issue of child abuse, the less power abusers will have. If we have any hope of stopping this pandemic, it needs to be removed from the shadows and placed center-stage. 

For my part in helping those dreams become reality, I would LOVE to see the soon-to-be "Be A Kid's Hero" online community grow exponentially each year. I also plan to write and publish books for parents to help them teach their children about ways to stay safe, as well as what to do in the event something unthinkable should ever happen to their child. Longer-term, my dream is to publish a line of children's books that address important developmental issues including body safety, defining boundaries, self-esteem and relationships. 

6. What advice do you have for people who have a dream but have not yet stepped into it?

"Just Do It!"

If you believe in your mission and your passion is sincere, you will be surprised at the warm welcome and support people will offer you. 


Working to improve the world one child at a time, Ginger has made it her life mission to raise awareness of the world-wide pandemic of child abuse. An impassioned child advocate, trainer, speaker and child forensic interviewer, Ginger regularly blogs about child protection issues and has released a report for parents and other caring adults, “10 Scary Apps.”  Ginger can be contacted via her website “Ginger Kadlec: 4UrKids™” at gingerkadlec.com.
  
Thank you so much Ginger for sharing your story with us and all that you do to improve the world. I encourage everyone to get to know more about Ginger and her amazing work and to join her in her mission to improve the world one child at a time!

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